not meant as a substitute for a veterinary visit
consult your vet first
Use any drug with caution and
realize that a small percentage of dogs can be allergic to
any one of the following antibiotics. Do NOT give
antibiotics to a very young dog without consulting a
veterinarian, as some drugs (like tetracycline) can harm
puppy teeth and bone structure (Baytril).
some point most dogs are going to need a dose of antibiotics,
either as a preventative measure or to cure an infection of some
type. Antibiotics are pretty simple and safe to use, provided you
three simple rules:
1) Use the
right drugs (some breeds are very drug sensitive, the wrong drug
can kill themalways check with your vet);
2) Give the
3) Keep the
dog on the medicine long enough.
The goal with antibiotics is to hammer down the infection and
not give it a chance to develop resistance before it is wiped
This means that keeping the
dog on the antibiotics long enough is critical. If a dogs starts
to look better after a few days, do NOT take it off the drugs!
An antibiotic regime should last
at least 7 days, and 12 days is better in most cases. The general
rule of thumb is give the dog antibiotics for at least three days
longer than it looks like there is a problem. If you skimp on
the length of the dosage, you may really regret it later on,
as the drugs you were using may no longer do the trick.
When to use
your dog is bitten by a raccoon, fox or another dog, always wash out
the wound well and start antibiotics immediately. If it's a
groundhog bite, wash the wound out well, put some beta-iodine on it,
and the dog will probably be all right in about a week or so. If
it's a pretty big rip, treat it with clavamox,
cephalexin or amoxicillin as a preventative.
What if antibiotics don’t seem to help?
If an antibiotic doesn’t start to clear up an infection after 4
days, switch to a stronger antibiotic and start the regime again
from the top.
Where Can You Get Antibiotics?
Almost all human antibiotics can be used on dogs and almost everyone
either has old antibiotics in their medicine cabinet or knows people
that do. Look around, and you will probably find what you need.
Drugs past the expiration date are going to be fine as long as they
are no older than a year or so past the expiration date (even then
they may be fine).
you prefer to order your medications outright, you can order
cephalaxin (Fish-Flex) from most dog catalogues and it will cure
99% of your flesh wounds as well as most urinary tract and ear
infections. Cephalexin or cefalexin is sold as a fish
antibiotic in dog catalogues with full-knowledge it is being used
for off-label treatment in dogs. It should cost about $30 for 100
250 mg. capsules, which is a perfect dose for a terrier
drugs should you use and at what dose?
- Cephalexin: This is one of the best
drugs for skin and wound infections and I use it for almost
everything. It is easy to come by without prescription, and
inexpensive. Two common brand names are Keflex and Celaxin, and it
is often prescribed for acne. Cephalexin only comes in oral form,
and the dose is 15 mg per pound of body weight, given every 8 to
12 hours depending on the severity of the problem. If you are
using a maintenance dose, give it every 12 hours. If the dog has
an infection already, use it every 8 hrs. Either Cephalexin or
Clavamox (see below) are “must have" drug for your vet kit. The
fish-version of cephalexin is called cefalexin (Fish-Flex) and
can be ordered in 250 mg capsules without a prescription. The 250
mg capsule is a perfect dose for a 15 pound dog.
- Penicillin: If it's the capsule
form, forget it unless it's the only antibiotic you have. A lot of
infections are immune to penicillin, and it generally won’t help a
staph infection at all. If this is the only antibiotic you have
and you are on a desert island, use it, but otherwise look for
something stronger. Indictable penicillin is not worth the trouble
when we have so many other readily available options, such as
- Amoxicillin: This is a general "all
purpose" antibiotic that is cheap
easy to come by, but it does not knock down staph
infections. The oral dosage for amoxicillin is 10 mg per pound of
dog, given every 8 to 12 hours, depending on the severity of the
problem. The fish-version of amoxicillin (Fish-Mox) can be ordered
in 250 mg capsules without a prescription from
Revival Animal Health or any
other online pet store. You probably have some old amoxicillin
around the house from the last time you got sick.
This is fine to use even if "expired" more than a year ago.
Expiration dates on non-liquid antibiotics are a marketing tool
(i.e. they encourage people to throw good drugs down the drain)
and have no scientific basis -- a fact demonstrated by the U.S.
- Clavamox: This is very
similar to amoxicillin but is a bit stronger and this one will
knock down a staph infection -- an important difference between
the two drugs. Clavamox will also treat respiratory infections and
ear infections, so it's a good all-rounder, as is cephalexin.
Clavamox is only given orally. The oral dose is 6.25 mg per pound,
and it comes pre-packaged in foil strips in 3 sizes. There are
62.5 mg for 10-pound puppies, 125 mg for 20 pound dogs, and 250 mg
for 40-pound dogs. The most common human version of Clavamox,
is called Augmentin and most parents have some old tablets around
the house. Although both Clavamox and Augmentin are
expensive, they are worth it because they work for a lot of
different kinds of problems. Your dog may throw up on Clavamox or
Augmentin – this is not terribly unusual if your dog has a weak
stomach. Clavamox can be ordered from
but you will need to fax them a
prescription from your vet. Again, check around the house; you may
have Clavamox in your medicine cabinet.
- Baytril: This is a pretty
powerful antibiotic, and should only be given when other
antibiotics have failed or if the dog already has a serious
infection. Baytril works very well for skin, ear, wound, urinary,
and mammary infections. In tablet form the dose for Baytril is 5.7
mg per 5 pounds of weight given orally twice a day (every 12
hours). For a 20 pound dog you would give one of the 22.7 mg
tablets every 12 hours, or two of the 22.7 mg tablets once a day.
Baytril can be ordered from
but you will need to fax them a prescription from your vet. It is
fairly expensive -- about 62 cents a pill.
If I had to have only one antibiotic
in my kit, it would be Cephalexin, because it is good,
available, and cheap, and the fish form (Fish-Flex or Cefalexin) can
be ordered without a prescription. Cephalexin can get the job done
on a bite or laceration about 99% of the time. The only advantage of
Clavamox is that it works a bit better on ear infections.
If I had to chose only 2 antibiotics
to have in my kit, I would chose Clavamox and Baytril.
These 2 drugs are very effective, they're easy to come by, and
between them they can handle almost any infection.
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