Can Vetmedin be Given 2 Hours After Food? (Dog Food Intake and Timing)

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Vetmedin (pimobendan) is a medication often used in dogs to manage heart conditions such as congestive heart failure. The manufacturer recommends that Vetmedin be given to dogs on an empty stomach, about one hour before feeding, for optimal absorption. However, the timing can be flexible based on the dog’s needs and the veterinarian’s advice.

Vetmedin, also known by its generic name Pimobendan, is a medication frequently prescribed for dogs diagnosed with congestive heart failure, particularly those suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy or degenerative mitral valve disease.

It works by dilating the blood vessels and enhancing the heart’s ability to pump blood, thereby improving cardiac function and reducing symptoms associated with heart failure.

Timing of Vetmedin Administration and Food Intake

The manufacturer of Vetmedin, Boehringer Ingelheim, recommends administering the medication to dogs on an Unfilled stomach, approximately one hour before feeding. This recommendation is based on studies that have shown that the absorption of Pimobendan is significantly enhanced when given to fasted dogs compared to those that have recently eaten.

However, the question often arises: can Vetmedin be given to dogs two hours after food? While there is no specific research addressing this exact timing, the general consensus among veterinarians is that it is preferable to give Vetmedin before feeding to maximize its absorption.

How Long After Food Can I Give Vetmedin?

If a dog is fed and then given Vetmedin two hours later, the medication will still be absorbed, albeit potentially at a lower rate. The timing of Vetmedin administration in relation to food intake is crucial due to the way the drug is absorbed in the body. When given on an empty stomach, the drug is absorbed more efficiently, leading to higher plasma concentrations and, therefore, increased efficacy.

However, in practice, the timing of medication administration must be balanced with the practicalities of daily life and the individual dog’s feeding and medication schedule.

Can Vetmedin Make My Dog Worse?

Vetmedin is generally considered safe and effective when used as directed. There are some factors to consider that may indicate it could potentially make a dog’s condition worse.

  1. Pre-existing conditions: Vetmedin is specifically intended for use in dogs with heart conditions such as CHF or DCM. If a dog does not have these conditions or if their condition is not properly diagnosed, the use of Vetmedin may be unnecessary or even detrimental. It is crucial to consult with a veterinarian who can accurately diagnose the dog’s heart condition before starting any medication.
  2. Incorrect dosage: Administering Vetmedin at an incorrect dosage can lead to adverse effects. It is crucial to follow the veterinarian’s instructions carefully and administer the prescribed dosage accurately. Deviating from the recommended dosage without professional guidance can potentially worsen the dog’s condition.
  3. Drug interactions: Vetmedin should be used cautiously if the dog is already taking certain medications. For example, certain diuretics and certain antiarrhythmic drugs may interact with Vetmedin, leading to adverse effects. Informing the veterinarian about all medications, including over-the-counter supplements, that the dog is currently taking is important to avoid potential negative interactions.
  4. Underlying health issues: In some cases, dogs with severe heart conditions or other significant health problems may not respond well to Vetmedin. It is essential for the veterinarian to assess the overall health of the dog and consider any contraindications before prescribing Vetmedin.
  5. Individual variability: Like any medication, individual dogs may react differently to Vetmedin. While it is generally well-tolerated, some dogs may experience adverse effects such as decreased appetite, diarrhea, or lethargy. If these side effects are severe or persist, it is important to contact the veterinarian for further evaluation.

How Long does Vetmedin Prolong Life?

The exact length of time that Vetmedin can prolong a dog’s life can vary greatly depending on the individual dog’s condition, the stage of the disease when treatment begins, and other factors like the dog’s overall health and age.

However, some studies have shown significant benefits. For instance, the QUEST study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2008 found that dogs with congestive heart failure due to mitral valve disease lived an average of 267 days longer when treated with pimobendan (Vetmedin) compared to a placebo group.


While it is recommended to administer Vetmedin to dogs on an empty stomach for optimal absorption, it can be given two hours after food if necessary. However, for the best therapeutic effect, it is advisable to stick as closely as possible to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Veterinarians and pet owners should work together to establish a medication and feeding schedule that ensures the effectiveness of the treatment while also fitting into the daily routine. As with any medication, it is essential to monitor the dog’s response to treatment and adjust the regimen as necessary under the guidance of a veterinarian.

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