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Antibiotics for Dogs

The Types, Uses, and Possible Side Effects of Antibiotics for Dogs

By Madeleine Burry. November 29, 2012 | See Comments

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Antibiotics for Dogs

Dogs are prescribed antibiotics for the treatment of various different infections. Here's what you need to know about common uses and side effects of antibiotics for dogs.

The main reasons dogs are prescribed antibiotics is for the treatment of infections, like bacterial infections, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, and tissue and skin infections. Antibiotics for dogs work by either attacking the microorganism causing the infection, or by inhibiting the growth of the microorganism.

The Most Common Antibiotics for Dogs

Some of the more common antibiotic medications that are prescribed to dogs are:

  • Amoxicillin -- This antibiotic is mainly used to treat skin and tissue infections, as well as being prescribed to tackle respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

  • Cephalexin -- This is mainly used to treat bacterial infections, along the lines of those that could develop in a cut or broken bone, as well as sometimes being used for treatment of bladder-related infections.

  • Clavamox -- This antibiotic can be used as a stronger version of amoxicillin.

  • Gentamicin -- Used to treat pneumonia, respiratory infections, and in treatment of open wounds, this medication is only applied topically, and is not taken orally.

  • Doxycycline -- This is used as an antibacterial treatment against Lyme disease and chlamydia.

How to Give Medication to Your Dog

Your dog will most likely be reluctant to swallow antibiotics. Follow your vet’s lead when deciding whether or not to give your dog pills with food and water, or without. If you can give the pills with food, one technique to try is to make a small ball-shaped blob of wet food. Feed one regular ball of wet food to your dog, and then follow it up with a ball that has a pill stuffed inside. Another strategy, and a food-free technique, is to open the dog’s mouth and place the pill far back inside. Close the dog’s mouth once the pill is safely dropped inside and wait until the dog swallows — blowing lightly in the dog’s face and nose can encourage swallowing. If you can give food along with the antibiotic, a treat is encouraged after the pill.

Common Side Effects of Antibiotics

Unfortunately, along with their curative effect, antibiotics can also have some negative side effects, with the most common ones being:

  • Rashes, hives, or other allergic reactions that manifest in skin irritations.
  • A disinterest in food or lethargy.
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or other signs of stomach irritation.
  • Yeast infections, and other secondary infections, can occur as the result of use of antibiotics.

Can You Use Human Antibiotics for Your Dog?

Who hasn’t been prescribed amoxicillin at some point during life? It may seem very tempting to use your own medications to dose your dog. Keep in mind, however, that the dose that a person receives is likely to be far different than the dosage given to a dog. And, similar risks apply to diagnosing your dog as with self-diagnosis; what can appear to be a recognizable concern is not necessarily as simple as it appears. Leave diagnosis and treatment plans to veterinarians, who are experts in dosage amounts, recognizing illness, and determining the best treatment.

More on Medications for Pets

Treating Cat and Dog Pain with NSAIDs
What's the Difference Between K9 Advantix and Frontline Plus for Dogs?
Antibiotics for Cats

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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