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Is amoxicillin safe for dogs?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on March 10, 2023.

Official answer


Amoxicillin is a safe oral, antibiotic often prescribed by veterinarians for bacterial infections in dogs. Amoxicillin is well-tolerated by most dogs, but common side effects may occur, like diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, skin rash or allergy. Contact your veterinarian right away if you have concerns about amoxicillin side effects in your dog.

As with any drug, your dog could have an allergic reaction to amoxicillin. If your dog has had a previous allergic reaction to any penicillin-type drug (amoxicillin, penicillins, cephalosporins, or other beta-lactam antibiotics), tell your vet.

How much amoxicillin can I give my dog?

Doses can vary considerably so always follow your vet's dosing instructions. Doses are based on weight and the type of infection your vet is treating.

  • The standard recommended dose of amoxicillin for dogs is 5 milligrams (mg) per pound (lb) of body weight twice a day.
  • For example, if your dog weighs 40 lbs, a general dose for amoxicillin might be 200 mg given orally twice a day for 10 days. Your vet may decide higher or lower doses are needed.
  • Doses are usually given for 7 to 14 days, but may need to be continued for longer periods.
  • Amoxicillin should be continued as long as prescribed by your doctor. Be sure your dog completes the entire course of antibiotic treatment.

Follow up with your veterinarian as directed. If no improvement is seen in 5 days or your dog seems to worsen, contact your vet to review the diagnosis and change therapy, if needed.

Can I use human amoxicillin for my dog?

Do not give human amoxicillin to your dog unless it has been prescribed by your vet. Your dog will need specific doses based on their weight and may need a special type of amoxicillin. Only your veterinarian should determine the best antibiotic and dose for your dog.

Human amoxicillin may not be the correct antibiotic for your dog’s infection, it may contain inactive ingredients, colors or preservatives that can be dangerous for your pet, the medicine may be expired, or the dose may be wrong.

What are amoxicillin side effects in dogs?

The most common side effects to amoxicillin in dogs include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Allergic reaction: may include hives, skin rash, facial swelling, difficult breathing, trouble walking, unsteadiness

Stomach problems, like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, are the most common amoxicillin side effects in dogs. If stomach problems continue to be a problem, you might ask your vet if a probiotic might be helpful for stomach issues. Probiotics can help to replace the natural gut flora, but do not work in all dogs.

Stop giving amoxicillin and call your vet right away if you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction to this medication. It may cause a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in your dog, which could be deadly..

Symptoms of an allergic reaction in dogs include:

  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever
  • Seizures

Amoxicillin may also have important drug interactions with other medicines. Be sure to tell your vet about prescription, over-the-counter, herbal or dietary supplements your dog takes. Ask if there are important drug interactions to be aware of.

Some medicines that dogs might receive that could interact with amoxicillin include: neomycin sulfate, antacids, or bacteriostatic antibiotics (drugs that inhibit bacterial growth).

Why is amoxicillin used in dogs? How does it work?

Amoxicillin is a beta-lactam antibiotic used in dogs to treat many different types of bacterial infections, including skin infections, urinary tract infections (UTI), respiratory tract infections, abscesses, skin wounds, ear infections and digestive tract infections. Amoxicillin is in the same class of medicine as penicillin, but is more resistant to stomach acids and is better absorbed.

It is considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic which means it can treat a wide range of bacteria, including gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Amoxicillin works by preventing the formation of the cell wall of the bacteria, which kills the bacteria.

It is often used to target bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus spp., E. coli, and Proteus mirabilis, among others. It is not effective against viral or fungal infections, parasites, or certain types of bacteria.

How do I get amoxicillin for my dog?

Usually your vet will have amoxicillin to dispense from their office. Always follow the veterinarian’s dosing instructions exactly.

In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe amoxicillin and you will need to pick it up at the local pharmacy. Your dog may need a special dose or form they do not have at the vet’s clinic. Your veterinarian can send the prescription to the local pharmacist who can then fill the prescription, with the correct dose, for your dog.

Related questions

How do I give amoxicillin to my dog?

Amoxicillin is usually given by mouth, and can be taken with or without food. Your dog may tolerate it better if given with a meal. If vomiting occurs when given on an empty stomach, give the medicine with food or at mealtime.

Getting tablets or capsules into a canine friend can be a challenge.

  • You can hide the amoxicillin tablet or capsule in a "pill pocket" specifically designed for giving medicines to pets. They are readily available at your vet's office or at retail or pet stores.
  • You can also place the medicine in a bit of food your dog is allowed to eat.
  • Always supply plenty of fresh water any time you feed your dog or give medicines
  • If you place medicine in the back of your dog’s throat to be swallowed, be sure they eat or drink something afterwards so the medicine does not get stuck in their throat and dissolve.

Tablets and capsules can be stored at room temperature. Liquid amoxicillin usually needs to stay in the refrigerator, so follow the directions on the label.

Is Augmentin prescribed for dogs?

In some cases, your vet may need to prescribe amoxicillin / clavulanate (Clavamox), an antibiotic that improves the drug’s effect against bacteria that have become resistant to amoxicillin alone. Clavamox is the veterinary equivalent of prescription Augmentin used in humans.

Do not give Augmentin prescribed for humans to your dog. If your dog needs amoxicillin / clavulanate, your veterinarian can determine the correct dose and schedule and prescribe the correct product.

Does my dog need a culture with amoxicillin?

In some cases, your vet might take a culture from the site of infection prior to prescribing amoxicillin to be sure it’s the correct medicine for the suspected bacteria. They may also decide to do this later if your dog’s infection does not seem to be clearing up.

They can send the culture to a special laboratory that will determine the best antibiotic to treat your dog’s infection. The results usually only take a few days.

The cost for a culture and sensitivity test on your dog may be expensive, typically $150 to $200 or more, so check with your vet if you have concerns about the fee.

Can I get amoxicillin for my dog without a vet prescription?

No, you will need a prescription for amoxicillin for your dog from your veterinarian. Often, you can get the medicine directly from your veterinarian’s office. In some cases, you may need to pick it up from the local pharmacy.

It is important to take your dog to see the vet directly as they will need to examine your dog and make a diagnosis. Amoxicillin is not effective to treat all infections, and your vet may need to prescribe a different medicine.

If you suspect your dog has any type of infection, contact your veterinarian right away for an appointment. Do not use human medicines for dogs unless prescribed by your veterinarian.

What are brand names for amoxicillin?

Common brand names for amoxicillin for dogs include:

  • Amoxi-Tabs
  • Amoxi-Drops
  • Bimox
  • Novamoxin

It comes as an oral capsule, tablet or liquid suspension medicine.

Is amoxicillin expensive?

No, amoxicillin is a generic medicine and should not be an expensive treatment for your dog.

Some brand name products that your vet may prescribe can be more expensive, so check with them if you cannot afford the medicine. There may be less expensive alternatives.

Can I use a discount coupon / card for my dog’s prescription?

If possible, your vet can call in the amoxicillin prescription to your local pharmacy where you can often use a discount coupon or card for your dog's prescriptions. Most pharmacies will accept online discount cards or coupons for pet prescriptions, but it’s always best to check directly.

Discount coupons can save you money but the amount can vary between pharmacies and various locations. They are only valid when you are paying out-of-pocket for your dog’s prescription.

Learn more: Amoxicillin Price Guide

This is not all the information you need to know about amoxicillin use in dogs and does not take the place of your veterinarian's directions. Discuss any questions you have with your veterinarian and follow their instructions exactly.


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