Major Uses

Ammonium chloride is an acidifying agent that is primarily used to treat and prevent certain types of uroliths. It can also be used to enhance renal excretion of some types of toxins, and enhance the efficacy of certain antimicrobials when treating urinary tract infections.

Common Precautions

Ammonium chloride should not be used in patients with severe hepatic disease or in uremic patients. It should also not be used by itself in patients with severe renal insufficiency and metabolic alkalosis secondary to vomiting hydrochloric acid. It should not be administered subcutaneously, rectally, or intraperitoneally. Caution should be used when administering to animals with pulmonary insufficiency or cardiac edema.

One of the more common side effects associated with ammonium chloride is the development of metabolic acidosis. Other possible negative side effects include gastric irritation, nausea, vomiting, and urinary acidification. When administered as an injection, patients may also experience pain at the injection site.

Ammonium chloride should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. A veterinarian should be contacted immediately if an overdose is suspected, the symptoms of which include nausea, excessive thirst, vomiting, hyperventilation, bradycardias or other arrhythmias, and progressive CNS depression.


Ammonium chloride should be kept at room temperature and stored in a tight, light resistant, childproof container. The solution should be protected from freezing, and it may crystallize at lower temperatures. If crystallization occurs, it may be re-solubilized in a warm water bath. It should be kept in a place where it cannot be reached by children or pets.


A typical dose of ammonium chloride for urine acidification in dogs is 20 mg/kg three times daily. For urine acidification in cats, a normal dose is 20 mg/kg twice a day. A typical dose for horses is 60-520 mg/kg daily. Should a dose be forgotten, it should be administered as soon as possible. If it is nearing time for the next scheduled dose, the missed dose should be skipped and the patient's regular medication schedule should be continued. Two doses should not be administered at the same time.

Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.

This information is for general reference only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition of your pet. It's intended as a general reference, this information may not include all possible uses, precautions, directions, reactions (including allergic), drug interactions, or withdrawal times. Always consult your local veterinarian and have your pet examined for any advice concerning the diagnosis and treatment of your pet, including which products and doses are most appropriate. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. VetDepot is not a pharmacy. All prescription products are dispensed by our Pharmacy Partner. Article last updated 2/2014.