Antibiotic Treatment for Dogs

Dogs are susceptible to different bacterial infections, so antibiotic treatment is available for dogs. The choice of antibiotics for canines is wide, so they can be employed in a number of diseases. The vet will assess your pet's condition and determine the antibiotics that are the most suitable.

What Are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are drugs made of bacterial sources, conceived to eliminate harmful bacteria. There are different types of antibiotic medications which act in a different manner, so as to effectively fight various infections.

However, antibiotics shouldn't be used for an extended period of time, as there is the danger of the dog's body building immunity to the medication. Antibiotics should be taken in the prescribed doses and for the period of time prescribed by the vet.

Common Antibiotics for Canines

The antibiotics used for canines are prescribed according to the nature of the infection. The most common types of antibiotics used for dogs are the drugs from the penicillin class or the cephalosporin class. Vets frequently prescribe amoxicillin, cephalexin, gentamicin or sulfametox.


Amoxicillin is a medication from the penicillin class of antibiotics and is used for a wide range of infections in dogs including:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Skin diseases
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Infected wounds, infected tissues
  • Dental abscesses

Amoxicillin has minimal side effects such as nausea, diarrhea or behavioral changes, but these occur in rare cases. For this reason, amoxicillin is frequently prescribed.

Some dogs are allergic to amoxicillin, so pay attention to any skin rashes or abnormal symptoms that may occur after the administration of amoxicillin.


Cephalexin can be used to treat infections in different areas of the dog's body. The antibiotic is similar to penicillin and is effective in treating bacterial infections that occur in wounded areas or that affect the skin and the bones of the dog. Cephalexin can also be effective to treat respiratory infections and kidney, urinary tract and bladder infections.

The side effects of cephalexin include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain or skin irritations, if the antibiotics are applied on the skin as topical ointments. 


Gentamicin belongs to the cephalosporin class of antibiotics and is recommended for eye and ear infections or open wounds that get infected.

Gentamicin is most commonly used as a topical ointment or spray. Taken as a pill, gentamicin can cause severe side effects such as blindness or loss of hearing, if taken in high doses.


Sulfamethox can be used in respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal infections.

The side effects of sulfamethox include nausea, diarrhea and lack of appetite. Dehydration can also occur, so make sure you offer plenty of water to your dog while under medication.

The administration of antibiotics can facilitate the occurrence of secondary diseases such as yeast infections or stomach ulcer if administrated for a long period of time. Some vets will also prescribe antifungal medication in addition to antibiotics, to prevent an overgrowth of yeast cells.

Dogs should not receive antibiotics that were conceived for humans, as the dog antibiotics have a special formula; human antibiotics may be poisonous for canines if taken in high doses.