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Health & Wellness

Understanding doxycycline — an antibiotic for dogs

Here’s how to administer your dog’s antibiotic.

Taking your dog to the vet’s office can sometimes be a busy and stressful experience, so it’s OK if the details about your pet’s new medication seem a little fuzzy a couple of hours later. Of course, you can always call the vet’s office for a general refresher or with specific queries, but if doxycycline, which is an antibiotic used to treat multiple conditions, is the medication in question, we can give you a full de-brief. 

What is doxycycline used for?

It turns out that this antibiotic can treat a range of conditions in dogs. “Doxycycline is prescribed to dogs for the treatment of bacterial infections susceptible to it like tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,” Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, says. “Doxycycline is prescribed to treat leptospirosis and kennel cough and is part of the treatment protocol for heartworm disease.”

Is doxycycline for dogs the same as the medication for humans?

According to Dr. McCullough, specific formulations of doxycycline can be used for both people and dogs. However, you should only administer the specific medication that your veterinarian prescribed your dog and follow their instructions when giving it to your pup. Don’t by any means reach for your pup’s doxycycline prescription when you’re sick — or vice versa. 

RELATED: Is carprofen safe for dogs?

Side effects of doxycycline in dogs

Your dog may experience gastrointestinal upset, like vomiting, diarrhea and decreased appetite while taking doxycycline, Dr. McCullough shares. If your pup has these adverse side effects, she urges you to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

How should I give my dog doxycycline?

Talk to your veterinarian about any medications your pup is currently taking before giving them doxycycline. “Administering doxycycline with certain medications, such as antacids and iron supplements, may decrease its absorption,” Dr. McCullough says. 

And here’s a pro-tip from Dr. McCullough on serving this antibiotic to dogs: Because doxycycline can cause an upset stomach in some pups, it may be helpful to serve the medication with a meal to prevent them from experiencing pain or discomfort. Your veterinarian will likely be able to share other tips for administering doxycycline to your pup to ensure they’re comfortable. 

Doxycycline dosage for dogs

Every dog is different, so the doxycycline dosage will likely vary depending on your dog, Dr. McCullough says. Follow your veterinarian’s serving recommendations, and be sure to complete the entire cycle of medication. You can expect to give your pup doxycycline somewhere between 7 to 30 days (depending on the condition that’s being treated), she adds.

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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