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Health & Wellness

Can I give my dog metronidazole?

Learn the common side effects of this antibiotic.

When your vet prescribes your dog a new medication, it’s understandable if some details about the drug get lost in the shuffle of making sure your pup’s OK. If your veterinarian recommended that your dog take an antibiotic called metronidazole, we’ve got the full download if you want a refresher on this dog medication.

What is metronidazole for dogs?

Metronidazole is an antibiotic typically prescribed to treat dogs' bacterial infections, diarrhea, giardia infections and a nervous system disorder caused by liver disease, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch's on-staff veterinarian, explains. 

“Metronidazole is typically a tablet or a liquid suspension given orally,” she adds. “Sometimes metronidazole is given as an injection in hospitalized patients.”

What are the side effects of metronidazole for dogs?

This antibiotic rarely produces side effects in dogs, but there’s a risk your pup will experience nausea and vomiting. It’s especially rare, but when dogs take metronidazole at high doses or for longer periods of time, they can develop neurological side effects, like difficulty walking, wide stances, nystagmus, tremors or a head tilt, Dr. McCullough explains.

If a dog has a negative reaction to metronidazole, they should stop taking the medication and see their veterinarian right away,” she shares.

RELATED: Can I give my dog aspirin?

Metronidazole dosage for dogs

Always stick to your veterinarian's dosage recommendations when giving your dog metronidazole. "Veterinarians prescribe metronidazole dosage based on the condition being treated and the weight of the dog," Dr. McCullough says.

Follow your veterinarian’s directions for administering the antibiotic, too. However, Dr. McCullough shares that sometimes serving it with food can prevent your dog from experiencing nausea. 

How long should my dog take metronidazole?

The length of time a dog takes metronidazole depends on what health issue it’s treating and your dog’s response to it, Dr. McCullough says. “In general, it is prescribed for short-term use,” she adds. “Pet parents should always make sure their pet takes the entire course of antibiotics and not stop therapy early unless directed by their veterinarian.”

When it comes to giving your dog antibiotics, it’s OK if there are questions after you leave the vet’s office. However, as pet parents, it's essential to ensure you're always following safe, vet-approved dosage instructions and monitoring changes in your dog. Your veterinarian likely recommended the right medication to help treat your pet, but if you ever want a refresher on metronidazole or other common antibiotics, check out our article.

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance'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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