A rumble in the tummy or fire in the belly takes a toll on cats and dogs just like their human companions. For pet owners, finding a way to soothe and neutralize stomach acids for felines and canines presents some unique challenges since their furry friends can’t explain all the symptoms they are experiencing.
Many caretakers turn to aluminum hydroxide or other products containing phosphorus-binding properties, to ease stomach irritation. Found in human antacids, aluminum hydroxide works to decrease stomach acid that causes heartburn, sour stomach, and indigestion. It is also used to treat peptic ulcers in humans and animals, even horses.
Marketed under the common product names of Amphogel and Alternagel, aluminum hydroxide can neutralize existing, excess stomach acid as well as treat and prevent stomach ulcers. It is also good at reducing inflammation of the esophagus and stomach due to overproduction of acid.
Aluminum hydroxide, a naturally occurring mineral, is more commonly recognized for treating chronic kidney/renal failure in animals. The substance works by acting as an intestinal phosphorous binder with the phosphorous in the blood for elimination as waste in a dog or cat. However, veterinarians also tout its effectiveness as a stomach acid-neutralizer. It is a quick-acting antacid.
Aluminum hydroxide can be given to a pet in gel, powder or tablet form. However, many animals may find it less than tasty so administering it can be a trial. A knowledgeable vet should be able to help an owner figure out ways to orally dose a pet. Dosages for a cat or dog in gel form are based on veterinarian experience and/or from the instructions printed on the medication label. These should be followed closely.
The most common side effect with the use of aluminum hydroxide is usually constipation, especially in small dogs. Generally, research has not shown animals accumulate aluminum in their system as humans do, so a broader prescription for the mineral is often applied in animals. Only minimal mention of long-time aluminum hydroxide usage suggests any problem related to muscle weakness and thinning of the bones in pets.
Perhaps the best advice for a pet owner, who has an animal with stomach issues, is to keep trying to remedy the situation through an aluminum hydroxide gel treatment and vet advice. If stomach acid bothers a human greatly, it will exact a price on your dog and cat, too.