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The Best Antibiotics for Dogs

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from bacterial infections as well. These infections can put your dog through a lot of discomfort, and if left untreated, they can become life-threatening.

If your veterinarian suggests it, antibiotics can help your dog fight and recover from a bacterial infection.

In this article, we’re going to go over some of the best antibiotics that are often given to our canine friends in times of need. You’ll also learn what types of infections in pets are treated by antibiotics, the right time to administer antibiotics, and whether these infections can resolve themselves.

Let’s get started:

See Also: The Best Antibiotics for Cats

Dog Antibiotics Image

What Types of Infections Do Antibiotics Treat? How Do They Work?

Antibiotics come in two forms: Bacteriostatic and bactericidal. Each are used depending on the type of condition present.

Bacteriostatic antibiotics work by preventing bacteria from growing and reproducing. This gives the host’s body enough time to fight off the infection using its natural immune system defenses.

Bactericidal antibiotics kill the bacteria outright.

Both types work to disinfect individuals from a host of bacterial infections, and they can come in the form of tablets, capsules, liquids, and topical ointments.

In dogs, antibiotics can treat:

  • Wound infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections
  • Gastrointestinal upsets
  • Periodontal disease
  • Soft tissue, bone, and dental infections

When Is The Right Time to Use Antibiotics?

Vet with dog

The correct time to use antibiotics is when bacteria is the cause of the infection, not a virus which cannot be treated with antibiotics. Only your veterinarian will be able to identify the specific cause of the infection and determine which treatment to use.

Can Dogs Get Allergic Reactions to Antibiotics?

Yes, dogs can get allergic reactions to antibiotic treatments. This is why it’s important to consult your veterinarian before antibiotics are administered and to monitor your dog while he or she is on them.

Dog Antibiotics pic

The cause and type of allergic reaction depends on how your pup’s unique biology mixes with the type and dosage of the antibiotic taken. Many symptoms occur within the first 24 hours and can include skin irritation, rashes, itching, trouble breathing, coughing, nausea, swelling, appetite loss, anaphylactic shock, and more.

After taking antibiotics, keep a close eye on your dog. Take them to a veterinarian immediately if you notice symptoms like these.

Some Of The Best Antibiotics for Dogs


Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic that treats infections related to ear, urinary tract, wound, respiratory, bladder, dental and skin infections. It’s a popular antibiotic because it’s broad spectrum, meaning it treats a wide range of bacterial infections.

Amoxicillin prevents bacteria from forming cell walls. This leaves them open to attack from the host’s immune system.

The most common side effect of this antibiotic is digestive tract upset.


Cephalexin treats many common bacterial infections, such as skin, unrinary tract, soft tissue, and respiratory infections. Like Amoxicillin, it’s a broad spectrum antibiotic – making it a popular choice. However, it is particularly effective against deep skin infections.

It can effectively fight a range of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, causing the cell walls to break down and become vulnerable.


Gentamicin is a bacteriostatic antibiotic that works by preventing bacteria from reproducing. It is most effective on bacteria that infect the respiratory system, blood, skin, or ears.


Chloramphenicol is effective against a range of bacteria and may be effective against some protozoa as well. It’s most commonly used to treat skin infections, wounds, pneumonia, intestinal tract infections, bone infections, and central nervous system infections. It has also been used to treat disease transmitted by ticks.


Metronidazole is both an antibiotic and an antiprotozoal. It’s one of the more powerful medicines on the market, and is used to treat a variety of ailments, including:

  • - Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • - Giardia
  • - Oral infections
  • - Diarrhea disorders
  • - Periodontal disease

It’s very effective against bacteria that can live without oxygen (anaerobic infections) and it can penetrate bone. It’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it a great treatment for intestinal infections and diarrhea occurring from certain diseases.


Sulfadimethoxine treats bacterial infections as well as coccidial infections, which are often found in puppies but can infect older pets as well.


Clindamycin is both an antibiotic and antiprotozoal. It’s used to treat skin, bone, mouth, and respiratory tract infections, and is most effective against gram-positive bacteria. Clindamycin usually works by preventing further bacterial growth, but may sometimes kill the bacteria as well.


Doxycycline is used to treat a broad range of infections in pets. These include tick diseases, leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, and psittacosi. It is a bacteriostatic antibiotic that shuts down the bacteria’s protein synthesis and stops the cells from dividing.

pomeranian puppy

Can Infections Resolve Themselves?

Yes, some minor bacterial infections can be fought off by your dog’s immune system without the help of antibiotics. Even though this can happen, it is still recommended to consult a veterinarian  if you believe your dog has a bacterial infection. They will be able to determine the severity of the infection and whether antibiotics are necessary.

To Wrap It Up

Bacterial infections can be just as harmful for dogs as they are for humans. Thankfully, antibiotics can be extremely effective in helping to eliminate the issue and bring your pet back to their happy and healthy self.