Is Potassium Bromide Safe for Dogs?

Potassium bromide is an antiepileptic drug that can be used safely in dogs. However, this medication should be used in small amounts and only under the supervision of a veterinarian to prevent side effects like kidney failure. But can potassium bromide kill a dog?

Potassium Bromide Killed My Dog

“I’m writing to tell other owners of epileptic dogs about potassium bromide, a drug used to treat seizures. We believe it killed our dog, and we do not want to see any other animals die from it. We had a rescue dog for two years that was epileptic and suffered from severe anxiety issues. We put him on Potassium Bromide, which is supposed to help with seizures. The side effects of the drug were not mentioned by our veterinarian. I researched online and found that many dogs have died from taking Potassium Bromide.”

Is potassium bromide toxic to dogs?

Potassium bromide is not FDA-approved for use in veterinary medicine; however, it is a commonly accepted practice for veterinarians to prescribe this medication for dogs. It is available by prescription only.

Potassium bromide is an antiepileptic drug used in dogs to control seizures. It is usually prescribed along with phenobarbital, another antiepileptic drug that belongs to the same category. The potassium bromide dosage for dogs depends upon the size of the dog and its condition.

Potassium bromide should not be used in dogs with renal disease or liver disease. The drug should not be administered to animals that are hypersensitive to it or other bromides.

If you find your dog is having an allergic reaction to the drug, you should stop administering it and seek emergency medical care. The signs of an allergic reaction include itchiness, facial swelling, hives, scratching, sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting, shock, seizures, pale gums, cold limbs, or coma.

The biggest concern with potassium bromide is that it can cause pancreatitis. In addition, potassium bromide can cause gastrointestinal irritation and dermatitis, and if the dose is too high, it can cause CNS depression, respiratory depression, and death.

Potassium bromide should not be abruptly discontinued. Dosage reduction should be gradual over a period of one month or longer to avoid the potential for seizures.

What happens if I give my dog too much potassium bromide?

Potassium bromide is not toxic to dogs but does have side effects that can be severe if too much of the drug is taken. The most common side effect of too much potassium bromide is sedation. Dogs may also become depressed or lethargic, experience nausea or vomiting, or exhibit signs of confusion and disorientation. In serious cases, potassium bromide overdose will cause a coma or death.

As with any other drug, never give your dog more potassium bromide than has been prescribed by your veterinarian. The dosage of potassium bromide will vary depending on the size and weight of your dog, as well as the severity of your dog’s condition. Always administer potassium bromide exactly as recommended by your veterinarian to avoid harmful side effects.

What are the side effects of potassium bromide in dogs?

The most common side effects are ataxia and sedation, which are usually mild.

In dogs, side effects of bromide can include:

  • stomach upset
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • lethargy
  • depression
  • loss of appetite
  • excessive thirst
  • increased urination

How long does potassium bromide stay in the system?

Potassium bromide stays in the system for 24 days in dogs and 11 days in cats. Potassium bromide is a slow-acting medication and takes several weeks before the drug begins to take effect.

Can potassium bromide cause pancreatitis in dogs?

Yes. One of the side effects of potassium bromide therapy is an increased risk of pancreatitis in dogs.

Research has shown that at least 10 percent of dogs receiving potassium bromide/phenobarbital combination therapy develop pancreatitis.

In most cases, pancreatitis resolves with no long-term consequences once the drug that caused it is discontinued. However, some dogs may develop chronic pancreatitis if they are exposed to potassium bromide or phenobarbital for prolonged periods of time.

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that produces enzymes important for digestion and insulin, which is important for blood sugar regulation. Symptoms that suggest pancreatitis include vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In severe cases, pancreatitis can be life-threatening.

How often should I give my dog potassium bromide?

Potassium bromide has been prescribed by a veterinarian to help control your dog’s seizures. Potassium bromide is a drug that must be given orally, usually once a day.

It takes a while to build up in the system, so some dogs are initially given both potassium bromide and phenobarbital together for a few months until the level of potassium bromide is high enough to control seizures on its own.

Positive reviews of potassium bromide

The use of potassium bromide as an anticonvulsant in veterinary medicine is controversial. Veterinary pharmacology experts, however, do support the use of potassium bromide as a seizure treatment for dogs that have failed to respond to phenobarbital or other first-line anticonvulsants.

The key to safely using potassium bromide as a seizure treatment for dogs is to dose it properly and monitor its effectiveness.

“This product is a true blessing. My dog is epileptic and has been on this for 3 months now with no incidents. I would recommend this to anyone with a dog who suffers from seizures.”

“My dog has epilepsy, and this is the first drug that keeps his seizures under control.”

“My dog had seizures, and the vet recommended potassium bromide. It has made a big difference in her quality of life!”

“I have a 2-year-old dog with epilepsy. After 3 seizures in one month, the vet put him on phenobarbital. It made my dog gain weight, and he became very lethargic. I took him off of phenobarbital and decided to try potassium bromide solution instead. It has been great! My dog is back to his normal self again. He is more active and alert than he was on phenobarbital. I highly recommend this product for dogs with epilepsy!”

Conclusion of potassium bromide for dogs

Potassium bromide can be a good choice for dogs with epilepsy, however, there are some issues that you should be aware of:

It takes several weeks to reach a therapeutic level. If you have just started giving it to your dog, make sure that he is not having any seizures during this time.

It may take months before the effect of adding potassium bromide is seen. As mentioned above, sometimes it is necessary to add potassium bromide to phenobarbital in order to see a good effect.

Monitoring blood levels and side effects is important. Particularly if you are adding potassium bromide to phenobarbital, you will want to monitor blood levels of both drugs on a regular basis (every 6-12 months). Also, monitor your dog’s behavior frequently; stop the medication if there are any concerning side effects.

It may cause pancreatitis in susceptible dogs. This is a serious condition that may require hospitalization. It is more common when the drug is combined with phenobarbital but can also occur by itself. It is more common in certain breeds including miniature schnauzers and cocker spaniels.

As with any drug, there are possible side effects associated with Potassium Bromide. These include:

  • Hair loss
  • Breathing problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach upset
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pancreatitis

In very rare cases, a dog may experience an allergic reaction to the drug. If your pet is experiencing difficulty breathing or hives after having been given Potassium Bromide, seek emergency medical care right away.


Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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