Doxycycline is an antibiotic used for the treatment of a wide range of bacterial infections. As a relatively new drug, it emerged in 1967 and soon made it on to the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines. In humans, doxycycline is used in the treatment of bacterial pneumonia, acne, chlamydia and early Lyme disease, to name just a few.
As a broad spectrum antibiotic, which is one used in conjunction with other drugs, doxycycline is used in the treatment of many other conditions. For example, when used with quinine, doxycycline is used to treat malaria. So it’s easy to see why the World Health Organization has rated it as one of the most important medicines in basic health care.
For humans, doxycycline is something that most of us have probably used at one point or another. But is doxycycline as commonly used for dogs?
Can You Give Doxycycline To Dogs?
The short answer is yes. It’s often given to dogs to help fight off infections that their own immune system cannot. These are caused by susceptible bacteria. The most common infections that doxycycline is used to fight against in dogs are Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Toxoplasmosis, Mycoplasma, Psittacosis, Lyme disease, and Leptospirosis, many of which come from ticks.
Doxycycline prevents these bacterial infections from growing inside your dog’s body, preventing the spread and intensification of the infection that they are suffering from. It does this by inhibiting protein synthesis. This is done at a slow rate, making the use of doxycycline a relatively long-term course- anywhere from a week to a month. While these are common dog ailments that need to be treated, you should never give your dog doxycycline out of your own initiative or without consulting your vet first. Although you may feel that doxycycline will help treat your dog, any kind of substance use is potentially hazardous for your dog if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. It is possible that your dog will suffer an allergic reaction to any medication given to it, which has the potential for fatality. If you get the amount or duration of the medication wrong, you might end up doing your dog more harm than good. So always consult your vet first.
Doxycycline Dosage For Dogs?
A normal dosage, although cases vary, so check with your vet, will be around 2 to 5 mg given for every pound of body weight. This should be administered every day, unless advised otherwise by your vet. But if you have missed a dosage, for whatever reason, you should give your dog the missed dose at your nearest possible convenience. But if it is close enough to the time for the next dose, ignore the missed dose. Never give your dog a double dosing as this could be hazardous for your dog.
How To Administer Doxycycline?
Doxycycline can be given to dogs orally by way of tablets or in liquid form, either injected into the mouth via syringe or over hidden in their food. Like with most medications, you should give your dog doxycycline with food. Otherwise you might make them feel nauseous or prompt vomiting because of the bitter taste from the medicine. So it’s better to mix the medicine, liquid or tablet form, in with their food as this will dramatically decrease the likelihood of them vomiting or feeling nauseous from the bitterness. Even wrapping the tablet in a piece of meat or peanut butter, something they will enjoy, will help. Also, ensure they have some water to drink it down with.
When your dog is on a course of doxycycline, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. You shouldn’t feed them dairy foods during this period. Dairy will decrease their body’s capacity to absorb the medicine. Stay rigidly on the course prescribed by the vet. Just like when humans are given a course of antibiotics, even if you are feeling better, it is highly advised that you finish the course in full to ensure complete recovery. Ending the course early will often lead to a relapse and you will end up having to begin the course of treatment all over again, which will cost you more money and your dog some grief. Finally, you shouldn’t give your dog multivitamins or supplements that contain magnesium, zinc 2, aluminum or calcium within the 2 hours before or after giving your dog the doxycycline, as these will inhibit absorption.
Dogs taking doxycycline will often suffer some side effects. Those most common include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, trouble swallowing whole foods, breathing difficulty, confusion, loss of appetite, swelling and a loss of hair. If you notice any of these side effects, continue the course of medication but alert your vet. Generally these are only side effects but your vet may wish to check on your dog to ensure they are not suffering an allergic reaction. However, it is generally a rare occurrence for a dog to suffer an allergic reaction or any side effects to Doxycycline.
When is Doxycycline Not Suitable For Your Dog?
Doxycycline is not suitable for puppies under 7 months. It’s also unsuitable for pregnant dogs, as it can impact on the unborn puppy. Dogs with liver or kidney problems should also refrain from using doxycycline, as continued use of antibiotics will impact on the overall health of these vital organs and potentially lead to a premature death.
Antibiotics are routinely given to dogs whose immune system isn’t strong enough to fight off a particular infection. This isn’t to say that that the immune system is at fault, but rather the infection is simply too big to be fought off. Treatment is not always necessarily simple, which is why it is always important to consult your vet first. The prescribed course of medication simply cannot be assumed or decided by the owner, unless of course the owner is a vet themself. Otherwise, you could end up doing your dog a lot of damage by over or under medicating. Your vet will tell you the severity of the infection and the correct dosage and time needed on the medication. Using leftover prescriptions is a bad idea because you may be giving the dog too high a milligram tablet. You may also not have enough in the prescription, so consult your vet before taking any action.
Coming back to the initial question, yes you can give doxycycline to your dog. However, consult with your vet first. Your veterinarian will know how your dog will react to the medicine. It is possible that an allergic reaction will occur, and so your vet will know the correct course of action to take if your dog’s body rejects the medication. This is useful information to have for future incidences. As previously noted, doxycycline is often used in conjunction with other drugs to enhance or alter the performance. Your vet will know the correct combination to ensure your dog is treated correctly and safely. So don’t risk harming your dog just to save some money on a visit to the vet. Play it safe; when it comes to medicating your pets, it is always best to consult your vet first and during the process. The overwhelming guilt you would feel in the event of incorrectly medicating your dog to the point of their death or sever illness in order to save money on veterinary bills would be too much to bear.