Treating Bacterial Infections in Dogs with Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is a common treatment option for bacterial infections in dogs. Related to penicillin, amoxicillin is a prescription antibiotic and should never be given to a dog without a veterinarian's approval and correct dosage instructions. While it is the same as the medication given to humans, dosage amounts can be much higher or lower than the amounts given to people. Amoxicillin can also cause allergic reactions or interact with other medications. Tell your vet of any medications your pet is taking or any other medical problems affecting your dog's health.

Uses for Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin fights bacterial infections by preventing the formation of bacteria cell walls, killing the bacteria and preventing their growth. This antibiotic is only effective against bacterial infections and should not be used to treat any infections caused by viruses or parasites, including worms. Infections that can be treated with the antibiotic include skin infections, respiratory tract infections, lacerations and wounds, tooth abscesses and urinary and bladder infections.

Amoxicillin may be taken as an oral tablet or liquid medication, and can generally be administered with or without food. Brand names of amoxicillin include:

  • Amoxi-Drops
  • Amoxi-Tabs
  • Robamox
  • Biomox

Unlike penicillin, amoxicillin is easier on the stomach, is effective for a longer period of time and is absorbed faster than earlier forms of the medication. Some bacteria can build up a resistance to amoxicillin, but when used in conjunction with other medications, treatment can be very effective.

Treatment with Amoxicillin

Always follow dosage instructions from your veterinarian. Amoxiciilin is generally prescribed for a minimum of 7 to 10 days, with 2 to 3 doses given in a day. If you accidentally miss the administration of a dose, give the medication as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose of that day, skip the forgotten dose and continue to administer the medication according to schedule.

If symptoms seem to clear up before the medication's dosage schedule is complete, continue to give your dog the amoxicillin to prevent the bacteria from building up a resistance to it and growing stronger, or appearing to clear up without completely going away. Proper storage of the medication is also important to maintain its effectiveness. Refrigeration may be necessary for liquid medication.

Potential Side Effects of Amoxicillin

Dogs that are allergic to penicillin should not take amoxicillin. Some medications can interfere with amoxicillin, and some dogs experience hypersensitivity to the drug, so always discuss your pet's medication options and any allergies with your vet. 

Diarrhea or loose stool are a common side effect of the oral form of amoxicillin. Other possible side effects include loss of appetite, drooling, nausea, vomiting and allergic reactions, such as labored breathing. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, contact your vet's office as soon as possible.