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Health & Wellness

Was your dog bitten by an animal? Ask your vet about clindamycin

Clindamycin works by protecting wounds from bacteria.

Sometimes, pup playtime goes a bit too far, and your pet might be at the receiving end of a bite. 

Dealing with those situations can be understandably overwhelming. Between making sure both dogs are OK and racing to the emergency room, the chaos might make you miss some information about your pup’s treatment plan. 

If your veterinarian recommended clindamycin to help your dog feel better and some points were lost in the chaos, we’ve got the breakdown for you. 

What’s clindamycin for dogs used for?

“Clindamycin is most often prescribed for deep-seated infections,” Dr. Elizabeth Devitt, DVM, a general practice veterinarian and veterinary consultant for Fetch, explains. “It’s often the antibiotic for treating bite-wound infections because it has a broad spectrum of activity and works on anaerobic bacteria.”

The antibiotic works by preventing harmful bacteria (the kinds that can grow with or without oxygen) from multiplying in wounds, abscesses and bone and dental infections. For example, a veterinarian might recommend clindamycin after your pup has a tooth extraction during a dental procedure

Clindamycin dosage for dogs

Your dog’s weight and the infection severity will help their veterinarian determine the best serving size and treatment course for the antibiotic.

Pups usually take clindamycin for 2 to 3 weeks, but it might be extended for a more severe or resistant infection. Set a reminder to give your dog the medication every 12 hours (or whenever your veterinarian recommends). If you miss a dose, don’t panic. Give it when you remember or at the next scheduled time, but don’t double dose.

Clindamycin can be administered as a tablet, capsule or liquid. Unfortunately, this medication is no sweet treat — your dog is not likely to like its bitter taste, so if you’re giving a tablet or capsule, try hiding it in some peanut butter.

Remember that it’s important never to discontinue antibiotics before the prescribed course has been completed unless you’re directed to do so by your veterinarian. This means you should never have “extra” antibiotics in your cabinet. 

Be sure never to pull a medication switcheroo, either — just because your other dog was also prescribed some clindamycin doesn’t mean the dosages or courses of treatment will be the same.

RELATED: Is Neosporin safe for dogs?

Can I use my human clindamycin for my dog?

Don’t substitute your prescription for your pup’s — especially without your veterinarian’s guidance. You’re likely to have the incorrect dosage that could harm your dog.

What are the side effects of clindamycin for dogs?

Like other antibiotics, clindamycin has some possible side effects. The most common side effect of clindamycin is stomach upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea. It’s best to give this medication with a meal to lessen the chance of uncomfortable reactions.

Your vet may also recommend probiotic supplements while your dog takes clindamycin to boost good bacteria in their stomach and enhance their immune system. 

Clindamycin has the potential to interact with other medications, so be sure your veterinarian knows about everything your dog’s taking (including vitamins and supplements), and don’t start probiotics without your veterinarian’s approval.

If you notice that your dog is experiencing any severe side effects, such as bloody diarrhea, call your veterinarian right away. 

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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