The 5 Most Popular Over-the-Counter Antibiotics for Dogs

Antibiotics for dogs are prescribed by veterinarians to treat bacterial diseases and infections. Many human antibiotics are safe for dogs and are quite popular because of their availability. Many safe antibiotics for canines can be found in your home medicine cabinet. It is important, however, not to self-diagnose. Always seek the care of a veterinarian and follow prescription recommendations and dosages closely to ensure the safety of your pet. This article states the most popular and commonly used antibiotics in dogs as well as common dosages.

1. Amoxicillin

While penicillin is not strong enough to combat canine infections, amoxicillin, a related antibiotic, is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections in dogs. Amoxicillin is generally given as 10mg per pound of dog. Common infections treated with amoxicillin include infections of the bladder, ears, skin, and mouth. It is common when using amoxicillin or any antibiotics for your dog's symptoms to subside within a few days. It is vital to continue thy medication as prescribed or the illness can return with stronger immunities to treatment.

2. Clavamox

Clavamox is related to amoxicillin, however, it is much stronger. Because of this, it is most commonly used to treat staph, strep, e. coli, and serious skin infections in canines. Generally given as 6.25mg per pound, clavamox can cause upset to the dog's digestive system. Giving the medication with a meal is recommended to lessen this side effect.

3. Cephalexin

Cephelexin is most commonly given to treat infections in wounds but can also be prescribed to treat persistent skin infections for long term use. General dosage is 10mg per pound twice daily. Cephalexin is used to treat acne in humans. Side effects are minimal and show up quickly resulting in veterinarians feeling comfortable prescribing the medication for long term use.

4. Sulfamethox

Sulfathemox, like amoxicillin, can treat a wide variety of infections.  Most common prescriptions are for urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and respiratory system infections. Sulfamethox is a strong antibiotic and is used to combat serious infections. Sulfamethox can cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset, and vomiting. When administering this medication it is important to monitor your dog's water intake and provide plenty of liquids to keep your pet from becoming dehydrated. As always, if your dog's vomiting or diarrhea are serious or persist for more than two days, contact your veterinarian. A change in medication may be necessary.

5. Gentamicin

Gentamicin is prescribed to treat fungal infections as well as wound or ear infections. Gentamicin also treats conjuctivitis. It is commonly prescribed with an anti-fungal spray or cream. Gentamicin is FDA approved and is safe for use in cats and dogs. Unlike most antibiotics, gentamicin is injected intravenously or intramuscular. Hearing loss is a side effect when using gentamicin so it is not recommended for working dogs or dogs used for hunting or other purposes that require acute hearing.

Remember, while most antibiotics you can buy over the counter are safe for your pet, never administer medication without first consulting your veterinarian.