WARNING: 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.
At 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 follow three simple rules:
1) Use the right drugs;
2) Give the right dose;
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 out
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
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 antibiotics?
If 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.
if antibiotics dont seem to help?
If an antibiotic doesnt start to clear up an
infection after 4 days, switch to a stronger antibiotic
and start the regime again from the top.
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).
If you prefer to
order your medications outright, you can order cephalexin
(Fish-Flex) from most dog catalogues and it will cure 99%
of your flesh wounds as well as most urinary tract and
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
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 wont
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 cephelaxin
- Amoxicillin: This is a
general "all purpose" antibiotic that
is cheap and 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
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 http://lambriarvetsupply.com/index.pl but
you will need to fax them a prescription from
your vet. Again, check around the house; you may
have Clavamox in your
- 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 http://lambriarvetsupply.com/index.pl 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
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.