Safe Antibiotics for Dogs

Antibiotics for dogs are used to fight infection. Many human antibiotics are safe for dogs; however, only a veterinarian can accurately diagnose and treat your dog safely. Each antibiotic is structured to fight bacterial infections in different ways. If treated improperly, the dog may become immune to the antibiotic, resulting in longer treatment and the use of stronger antibiotics. New antibiotics have to be created as a result of the bacteria's immunity. It is important to administer the medication exactly as prescribed and finish the treatment, even if the dog seems to be feeling better. This article states the antibiotics that are safe for use in canines, what they treat, and how they should be administered.


Amoxicillin is used to treat a wide variety of infections. Approximate dosage is 10 mg per pound and given every twelve hours or as prescribed by your veterinarian. Amoxicillin prescribed to humans is safe to use on a dog, even if it is past its expiration date. Expiration dates on many medicines are invalid and will not cause harm to your dog.


Clavamox is similar to amoxicillin but, unlike amoxicillin, it is powerful enough to treat staph infections. Clavamox can also be used to treat infections of the ears and repiratory system. Given orally, the general dosage is 6.25 mg per pound of dog. Clavamox can cause stomach upset so it is best taken with food.


Veterinarians prescribe a medicine such as Baytril when the infection is severe or when other antibiotics have not worked. Baytril is a strong antibiotic used to treat wound, mammary, urinary, ear and skin infections. The general dose of Baytril is 5.7 mg per five pounds of dog given twice daily (or approximately twelve hours apart).


While safe, penicillin is not strong enough to combat canine infections, including staph infections. Many infections are immune to penicillin and require treatment with another antibiotic.


Cephalexin is most commonly used to treat wound infections. It is inexpensive and often used to treat acne in humans. Cephalexin is given orally with a general dosage of 10 mg per pound twice daily (or twelve hours apart).


Gentamicin is prescribed to treat pneumonia, wound and ear infections and conjunctivitis. You doctor may also prescribe an anti-fungal medication in the form of a spray to prevent fungal infections.


Sulfamethox is prescribed to treat infections of the skin, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract and respiratory system. When treating a dog with sulfamethox, it is important to administer the medication with a large amount of water and monitor them closely. Side effects may include vomiting and diarrhea which can lead to dehydration if the dog is not consuming enough water.

It is important to remember to use antibiotics only when prescribed and never administer medication without consulting your veterinarian. Some dogs may be allergic to antibiotics, even in small doses. Never give antibiotics to a puppy, especially avoiding tetracycline based drugs (such as Baytril) which affect bone and tooth development.