The main reasons dogs are prescribed antibiotics is to treat 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. Even though it's a safe drug, always check Cephalexin dosage for dogs and consult a vet before administration.
- Clavamox -- This antibiotic can be used as a stronger version of amoxicillin. Clavamox for dogs is often used to treat E. coli infections, such as urinary tract infection.
Clindamycin -- An antibiotic often prescribed by veterinarians. Medications such as Clintabs is often used to quickly control bacterial and soft tissue infections.
Gentamicin -- Used to treat pneumonia, respiratory infections, and in treatment of open wounds, this medication is only applied topically, and is not taken orally. Betagen spray for dogs is a spray that uses Gentamicin as it's active ingredient to treat bacterial lesions.
- Cefpodoxime Proxetil – Generic to Simplicef antibiotic tabs, Cefpodoxime Proxetil, is a commonly prescribed drug to treat bacterial infections originating from wounds.
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get antibiotics for my dog without going to the vet?
No, you cannot get antibiotics for your dog without going to the vet. Antibiotics are prescription drugs, and it is illegal to obtain them without a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. In addition, administering antibiotics without proper veterinary guidance can be dangerous for your dog's health. You should take your dog to the vet if you suspect that they have an infection or other health issue that may require antibiotics. The vet will examine your dog, diagnose the issue, and prescribe the appropriate treatment, which may include antibiotics. They may also recommend other treatments or measures to help your dog recover and prevent future health problems.
What is a good over the counter antibiotic for dogs?
There is no good over-the- counter (OTC) antibiotic for dogs. Antibiotics are prescription drugs that should only be given to dogs under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Over the counter antibiotics for humans should never be given to dogs without veterinary supervision as they can have different dosages, drug interactions, and side effects. Giving the wrong antibiotic or the wrong dose can be ineffective or even harmful to your dog. In addition, using antibiotics unnecessarily or improperly can lead to antibiotic resistance, making it harder to treat future infections.
What is the most common antibiotic for dogs?
Amoxicillin/clavulanate, also known as Augmentin, is a combination antibiotic medication that is commonly prescribed for dogs to treat a variety of bacterial infections. It is a combination of amoxicillin, a penicillin-type antibiotic, and clavulanate, a beta-lactamase inhibitor that helps to prevent bacteria from developing resistance to amoxicillin. This medication is effective against a broad range of bacterial infections, including skin and soft tissue infections, urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and dental infections. It is usually given orally and can be prescribed in tablet, capsule, or liquid form. As with all antibiotics, amoxicillin/clavulanate should only be used under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. The specific dosage and duration of treatment will depend on the dog's individual needs and condition.
Can a dog fight an infection without antibiotics?
In some cases, a dog's immune system can fight off a mild infection without the need for antibiotics. However, this depends on various factors, such as the type and severity of the infection, the age and overall health of the dog, and the dog's immune system's ability to fight off the infection. In general, if a dog has a bacterial infection, such as a skin infection or urinary tract infection, antibiotics are often necessary to effectively treat the infection and prevent it from spreading or becoming more severe. Without appropriate treatment, bacterial infections can become chronic or even life-threatening. However, not all infections are caused by bacteria. Viral infections, such as canine distemper, parvovirus, and kennel cough, are often self-limiting, and the dog's immune system can fight them off without the need for antibiotics. In these cases, supportive care and symptomatic treatment may be necessary to help the dog recover.
Can I give human amoxicillin to my dog?
No, you should not give human amoxicillin to your dog without veterinary supervision. Although amoxicillin is commonly prescribed to both humans and dogs for bacterial infections, the dosage and administration of the medication differ significantly between the two species. Giving human amoxicillin to a dog without proper veterinary guidance can result in improper dosage, drug interactions, and potential toxicity, which can be harmful to your dog's health. In addition, not all bacterial infections are the same, and some bacterial strains may not respond to amoxicillin. A veterinarian can properly diagnose the type of bacterial infection your dog has and prescribe the appropriate medication and dosage based on the dog's individual needs and condition.
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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.