What You Must Know About Giving Your Dog an Antibiotic!

Last Updated on

Antibiotics are a very common treatment for both people and dogs.

Still, there’s a lot of uncertainty about their use. For an infection or most other medical problems, not knowing what to do is normal.

Can I Give My Dog Antibiotics?Obviously, your dog should be given an antibiotic when it’s necessary. But which one exactly, and at what dose and duration?

Leave those decisions to your vet because antibiotics can be harmful.

Adverse effects include diarrhea and vomiting. And renal toxicity can also occur which is quite serious.

The shear number of brands and wide-ranging dosage specifications further complicates matters.

An Antibiotic Makes Sense For Your Dog (when the need arises)

But act based on whatever leftover supply you may have in your medicine cabinet!

Get your dog properly diagnosed.

Sure, antibiotics work well for speeding up a pet’s recovery or for preventing infections. In fact, often times, they are the only realistic solution.

Nevertheless, a professional’s expertise is a must. Never even consider an antibiotic for a puppy without vet approval!

Antibiotics Explained

Yup! Antibiotics are super effective at preventing (or putting a stop to) bacterial infections.

Your dog may be carrying harmful bacteria. Certain meds will kill or eliminate such threats.

The benefits of antibiotics cannot be overstated. They have extended life for countless pet dogs.

Key To Effectiveness

Any antibiotic therapy has a clear goal:

Eliminate infection before the dog develops a tolerance to the medication.

But something needs to be stressed…

Safe and effective results greatly depend on proper dosage and duration.

This is why you don’t stop a dog’s antibiotic treatment early (unless instructed otherwise).

Dosing can also be tricky.

For example, it’s often the case that under-dosing is more problematic than over-dosing.

Downsides For Dogs

Some animals have adverse reactions to certain antibiotics (allergic or otherwise).

Keep a watchful eye.

Consider that your dog may be under stress during this difficult time.


A vet may recommend additional medicine and/or food supplements along with antibiotics.

Owners, on the other hand, shouldn’t combine meds without consultation. Dangerous drug interactions are possible.

When They Are Used

Everyone knows that antibiotics are for infections (or the threat of infection).

Problem is this applies to so many situations.

Does your dog have a fresh wound?

An antibiotic likely makes sense. That’s easy, but there are much less evident scenarios.

The point is this:

Get help when in doubt about the nature of your dog’s problem.

Note: Standard vaccinations should be given as a first line of defense.

Which Ones Are Good?

There are too many antibiotics to cover in detail here.

Amoxicillin (broad-spectrum) and Enrofloxacin (wide-spectrum) are well-utilized names.

As is Cephalexin (used for Pyoderma). It’s relatively safe for dogs.

Doxycycline is another that’s popular – even without evidence of infection.

Basically, different classes target distinct ailments or injuries.

The best antibiotic is usually based on several factors. Your dog’s medical history should be taken into account.

The Bottom Line

Dogs are routinely given antibiotics.

They are fairly safe when used properly.

Nevertheless, avoid exposing a precious pet to unnecessary risks.

Speak with your veterinarian. Get a prescription.

Do it right. Get your dog the right antibiotic along with detailed dosing instructions.

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

Was This Article Helpful?

21 thoughts on “What You Must Know About Giving Your Dog an Antibiotic!”

  1. Jacqueline says:

    My 9 year old Cavalier Maltese mix named Dexter had a reaction to an overload of vaccines and antibiotics. He was diagnosed with immune mediated Thrombocytopenia. Basically his body produces antibodies that destroy his own platelets.

    He has had a blood transfusion, several tests to rule out any underlying issues. He was on Prednisone for a while and Azathioprine. He is off the Prednisone but is taking a non-steroid Cyclosporine (which helps to kind of disguise his platelets). Yet, destruction of the platelets still occurs.

    I have removed all toxins from our home and use only natural cleaners and detergents, no perfumes etc. I feed him organic, hormone-free chicken, beef along with a sweet potato.

    I give him milk thistle for his liver, as well as a high-quality mushroom complex to help balance his immune system. I also give him colostrum (bovine).

    If anyone has had any experience in reversing this awful disease please send me information or a link.

  2. My 4 year old Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix is peeing blood. We started to live in a small town and all the vets are closed until Monday. I’m really worried. Any ideas?

  3. I have a small 6 month old half Chihuahua half Pekingese and he vomits usually everyday after he eats. I was beginning to think he had hookworms or some type of worms because I have even seen him drag his rear. Nevertheless, he is very playful.

    Sometimes he won’t eat, sometimes he will. I do not have the funds to go to a vet or even buy an OTC de-wormer. I do have some antibiotics that were prescribed for another dog that my friend gave me. Would it hurt to give some to my dog? Please help me. I am very attached to my little one.

  4. My 10 year old Shepherd-mix dog has a runny nose, watery eyes and one side of her face is a little swollen. Can I give her Clindamycin?

  5. I woke up this morning with my dog Harley’s side of his face a little swollen and sore to the touch. I also noticed that his breath has been stinky the last few days. I have some Amoxicillin and I want to make sure that it is cool that I give him a piece of one.

    1. Administering antibiotics doesn’t work that way. Have your dog checked out!

  6. My dogs feet are red, swollen, oozing and bleeding. It’s very painful. He been on Baytril and Metronidazole. Can I give him a pet Bactrim?

  7. My Terrier has an abscess on the lower front teeth. What can I give her for infection and pain?

    1. Take her to the vet! Same thing happened to my Chihuahua and I just about lost her due to an abscess and infection!

  8. My 3 year old Pit had a scab on his front paw and his back leg. He licked it so much that it’s now swollen and the hair is missing. Is there anything I can do at home to heal this wound? I have Amoxicillin, but I’m not sure how much to administer. They are 500mg capsules.

    1. May be an allergy or lick dermatitis. Do not give Amoxicillin and instead get him to a vet for treatment. He’ll probably need a cone to restrict licking.

  9. I have a 5 year old English Sheepdog who has developed 3 hot spots on the neck and head area. He was at the vet 3 weeks ago and he is up to date on all his shots. He eats a good diet and gets treats. This issue just developed about 5 days ago. 2 of them look like they are drying up. When I washed them they would bleed until they dried up again.

    He has a lot of hair and sometimes it mats in certain areas. I have Doxycycline Hyclate dosed at 100mg and he’s around 100 pounds. Can I give this to him? Money is very tight now and the vet always wants cash.

    1. I also have money issues. I have learned many alternate ways to get along successfully. My Bugzy too gets hot spots and I use the following:

      1. Shampoo prescription, Hexachlor-K. No conditioner and do that every week for a month. My dog is allergic to her own dander and oils. I now use the shampoo every other week. It really helps her so much. She is relieved from the misery of scratching so often.

      2. Hydrogen Peroxide on a cotton swab, separating the hair. Some say no, but I say yes. Not often, one or two times on that spot.

      3. Get a topical spray from your vet called Relifor.

      This works for me if I’m consistent.

      1. Our Cocker has similar issues and I finally found a great vet that knows how to deal with this. First of all, change the dog’s diet to be corn free and chicken free (since most chickens are fed corn). Big difference in her coat and has stopped having itchy coat and hot spots for the first time in her life.

        Also, bathe once a week. Get a good conditioner and leave in for 10 minutes. Rinse with slightly warm, not hot water. Be sure to change dog linens 3 times a week to keep allergens at bay. Brushing daily also helps!

        We also give her moist food (saute beef or pork in olive oil and add veggies such as carrots, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, or green beans with seasoning which helps along with a daily Allegra allergy pill.

        We also get a Salmon and Pumpkin dry food at Petsmart. These few changes have made a huge difference in our wonderful Cocker’s new itch free happy life! What a relief!

  10. My dog is bleeding from the nose and it’s been going on now for a week. The blood sometimes comes out in clumps. We live in Indonesia so there is no vet. I want to give him Amoxicillin. He is 4 years old weighs about 15kg. Any advice?

  11. My 50 pound English Bull Terrier is taking penicillin shots, 1cc twice a day for five days. She’s having some trouble sleeping so I thought it might be a good idea to give her melatonin. Are there any interactions with melatonin and penicillin that I should be aware of? Is it a good idea to provide it?

  12. Our Yorkie has something going on inside his mouth. It looks like red tumors connected to his jaw or gum and has now spread to the outside on the side of his mouth. I don’t have money to take him to the vet. I was wondering if it’s some kind of infection maybe could I treat it with antibiotics. Thanks!

    1. Donna, this does not sound like an infection. I would absolutely have this looked at by a vet.

    2. Hi Donna. My Lab has a lesion on his tongue. He is slobbering excessively and it smells horrific. Did you get a reply to your Yorkie’s problem? My husband is unemployed and I’m on disability. Any help would be great.

  13. Can I give my Cocker Spaniel 300mg of Apo-Clindamycin?

    1. Only give your pet medicines that are prescribed to them. If a veterinarian has not determined the medical necessity for an antibiotic then you can actually cause more damage than good. If your dog has an infection, it is best to determine whether it is viral or bacterial. If it’s bacterial, it could be something that is resistant to Clindamycin.

      There may be other antibiotics more effective in the area being treated. For example, Cephalexin is good for skin, Clindamycin is good for the mouth, and Clavamox (Amoxicillin with Clavulanic Acid) is good for the urinary tract. Without veterinary diagnosis, you could be giving the wrong antibiotic and making it harder to resolve the problem. There is a reason veterinarians go through a minimum of 8 years of school.

      The short answer is only if prescribed to your pet and deemed medically necessary by a licensed veterinarian.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *