Just like humans, dogs may get sick from time to time and require medication. If your dog has an infectious wound or other type of infection, your vet will likely prescribe antibiotics to wipe it out before it gets worse and spreads to other parts of the dog’s body.
If you have already antibiotics at home, you can use those on your dog. Human antibiotics that have expired are safe for dogs, for the most part. Check with your vet just to be safe, since some antibiotics can kill certain breeds.
Antibiotics are easy to use as long as the instructions on the package are followed. There are three main rules to remember:
- Use the right antibiotic. Some antibiotics are better at healing flesh wounds, while others work best for respiratory infections. The more serious the infection, the stronger the antibiotic needed.
- Use the most appropriate route of administration. Although some antibiotics can be used orally, others work best when given by an IV, under the skin or in the muscle. In addition, some antibiotics may need to be taken on a full stomach or with large quantities of water. Still others may not work well with dairy products, so make sure your dog does not eat any before and after the dosage.
- Make sure you always administer the right dose. Too much can kill your dog and too little will not be enough to kill the infection.
- Keep giving your dog antibiotics even after he seems to feel better. You need to keep your dog on a full course of antibiotics. Twelve days is the optimal time. If you stop before then, the bacteria will become resistance to the drug, and the dog may develop a more severe infection soon after.
There are several antibiotics to choose. Some are more potent than others or are better at killing different types of infections. Here are the most common ones that a vet may prescribe for your dog:
- Penicillin – Use it if it’s the only antibiotic you have, but it is the least effective of the antibiotics. Many infections are immune to penicillin, so it may not help much.
- Amoxicillin – This is the most common all-around antibiotic. It is inexpensive and will work on the majority of infections apart from staph infections.
- Clavamox – This antibiotic is similar to amoxicillin, but it is a bit stronger. Its main difference is that it will kill a staph infection. It also works well for ear infections and respiratory infections. The human version of Clavamox is Augmentin, which many people may have in their medicine cabinet. If you don’t have any around, it is expensive and requires a prescription, so plan accordingly.
- Tetracycline – This antibiotic is commonly given to dogs that develop Rocky Mountain Fever or Lyme Disease. It prevents the bacteria from growing and reproducing. It has several side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, stunted bone growth and tooth discoloration.
- Cephalexin – This antibiotic works well for deep wounds and skin infections and has a 99% success rate. You can buy it without a prescription, and it does not cost too much.
- Baytril – This is one of the strongest antibiotics should be used as a last resort when other antibiotics have not worked. It works well for many types of infections, including those in the ears, mammaries, skin and urinary tract.
For pet owners who may be wary of using potentially dangerous antibiotics on their dogs, there are natural remedies that can help. These remedies are safe and effective and include the following:
- Garlic – Garlic is a powerful food to fight parasites and infections. It can also help dogs with kidney problems, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
- Licorice root – It has many disease-fighting properties that are helpful in preventing and curing staph infections.
- Wheatgrass – Wheatgrass has many nutrients that ward off bacteria and other microorganisms.
- Brewer’s yeast – It keeps bacteria from growing and fights diseases caused by organisms.
There are many options for fighting bacteria and infections in dogs. Make sure you choose the right one for your dog’s needs.