Amoxicillin is a common antibiotic used to treat a range of bacterial infections. You might be wondering whether you can give it to your dog, too. They may have fallen sick in the middle of the night or maybe you are too busy to visit the vet and have decided to give them Amoxicillin capsules.
But, there is a problem — you don’t know the human Amoxicillin for dogs dosage. Do you give him the same dose administered to humans, or is it too much for his body? The next part of our guide explains how to determine Amoxicillin dosage for dogs.
What Is Amoxicillin?
Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic prescribed to humans and dogs to treat bacterial infections. Broad-spectrum means it can treat gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, the most common bacteria found in dogs.
Since it’s more resistant to stomach acids than naturally-occurring penicillin, Amoxicillin is considered the safest and the most effective antibiotic for dogs. Like other antibiotics, Amoxicillin kills both good and bad bacteria hence the need to administer it in conjunction with a probiotic. In dogs, Amoxicillin is prescribed to treat
- Ear infections: The drug is administered to treat ear infections that cause hearing impairments, ear damage, or deafness
- Respiratory infections: Amoxicillin eliminates bacteria causing infections of the upper respiratory system in dogs
- Dental infections: Vets prescribe antibiotics for dogs with tooth abscesses to prevent infections after teeth scaling procedures.
- Skin infections: Broad-spectrum antibiotics like Amoxicillin are used to treat various skin infections in dogs
Amoxicillin operates by attacking the cell walls of the bacteria cells, killing existing bacteria and preventing new bacteria like E.coli, pneumonia, H. influenza, and streptococci from forming. It’s important to note that human Amoxicillin is different from veterinary Amoxicillin.
The former contain inactive ingredients, which can harm dogs (discussed below). Antibiotics prescribed for treating these conditions are administered in various forms.
The most common is cephalexin, another broad-spectrum antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections of the bones, skin, ears, and urinary tract. It’s also an excellent alternative for dogs that are sensitive to penicillin.
Amoxicillin for Dogs Chart
Most vets recommend a 10-14 day period, while others prescribe a dosage of 5-12 mg twice or thrice a day for five days. The drug starts working 1-2 hours after the first dose. You must administer the medication till the end to avoid relapses or the development of resistance. Also, notify your vet if the dog develops symptoms like:
- Seizures, muscle spasms, twitching
- Weakness, pain, confusion
- Coma or agitation
How To Administer Amoxicillin To a Dog
Amoxicillin can come in a liquid, tablet, or capsule form, and is administered through the mouth. Oral suspensions are the best for puppies and smaller dogs, while tablets and capsules are more suitable for larger dogs. If your dog has an overly sensitive stomach or is prone to vomiting, hide the medication in their food or doggy treat. If using capsules, hide them in a pill pocket for a fuss-free administration.
Is Amoxicillin Effective Alone?
Amoxicillin is effective when administered alone but most vets prescribe it along with clavulanic acid to improve its efficacy. Clavulanic acid protects the antibiotic from certain body enzymes that destroy Amoxicillin before acting on the bacteria.
The drug is a potent inhibitor of beta-lactamases but has low anti-bacterial activity resulting in enhanced antimicrobial activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. The combination is called Clavamox in the vet world and is highly effective at treating skin infections and gum disease. It comes in tablet and suspension forms and is available in generic and human formulations.
Amoxicillin interacts with a range of drugs, including
- Blood thinners like warfarin
- Bacteriostatic antimicrobials
- Immunosuppressive drugs for treating cancer, e.g., methotrexate
- Medications for treating gout and uric acid stones, e.g., probenecid
What Are the Side Effects of Amoxicillin in Dogs?
Even Amoxicillin formulated for dogs has side effects. Most dogs develop gastrointestinal problems characterized by vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. They also develop microbiome imbalance in the gut, exhibited as diarrhea. In addition, Amoxicillin may be contraindicated in dogs hypersensitive to the drug or one of the components, inhibiting its overall effect.
Is Human Amoxicillin Safe for Dogs?
Although Amoxicillin is prescribed to humans and dogs, you must not administer human Amoxicillin to dogs without speaking to your vet first. You can only give human antibiotics to dogs if the vet has prescribed them. Such scenarios are rare and only happen if there’s no suitable antibiotic for treating an infection. The reasons you must not prescribe human Amoxicillin to dogs are described below.
Harmful Inactive Ingredients
Human formulas contain inactive ingredients like colors, sweeteners (xylitol), and artificial flavors that can harm dogs. Xylitol, for instance, is used to replace sugar in candies, gums, and medication, but it can cause severe health problems in dogs.
It reduces the sugar levels in their blood to extremely low values, leading to liver failure. Other side effects of xylitol poisoning in dogs include
- Lack of coordination
Another problem with administering human Amoxicillin to dogs is giving the wrong dosage. Humans take a standard dosage of 500 mg, which can be fatal for dogs and other pets. So, how much amoxicillin for dogs? A typical dose of Amoxicillin in dogs varies by their weight and condition being treated.
If using human Amoxicillin for dogs dosage chart, you’ll find that a ten-pound Chihuahua needs a different dose from a 50-pound German Shepard.
The recommended dose for dogs is 5-12 mg per pound or 10-25 mg/kg. Thus, a 10-pound Chihuahua takes 50 mg of Amoxicillin while a 50-pound German Shepherd needs 500 mg of the drug. An overdose can cause serious side effects like vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. In severe cases, an Amoxicillin overdose causes:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Swelling of the face and muzzle
- Excessive urination and thirst
Dogs with antibiotic allergy, Amoxicillin allergy, or penicillin allergy may develop allergic reactions as soon as the Amoxicillin is administered. The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching, rash, frequent scratching, a runny nose, and watery eyes.
Some dogs develop more severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, characterized by diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, swelling, vomiting, and coma. For such dogs, sensitivity tests must be taken before administering human Amoxicillin because it can be lethal. And if an antibiotic is the best remedy, narrow-spectrum anti-bacterial drugs are preferred as the first line of treatment.
Amoxicillin is one of the most misused antibiotics, often prescribed as a just-in-case drug. A study to determine when and how often antibiotics are administered found that Amoxicillin was the most prescribed antibiotic for confirmed and suspected bacterial infections. In addition, vets also over-prescribed the drug.
According to the study, Amoxicillin was prescribed 17% of the time only to treat confirmed infections. Most of the time (45%), they were prescribed to treat suspected infections or when it was considered reasonable.
Surprisingly, 38% of the time there was no evidence of disease. If that has been the case with your pup, he has probably developed antibiotic resistance and is less likely to respond to Amoxicillin. The body produces superbugs which are bacteria resistant to common antibiotics because they develop immunity over time.
You could have administered the drug and abandoned it mid-way without ultimately killing the infection. If it becomes a habit, the bacteria produce antibiotic-resistant strains that need more potent antibiotics to combat the infection when it returns. It’s essential to administer the right antibiotic for existing conditions and take them as prescribed.
Sometimes Amoxicillin isn’t always the proper treatment for your dog. Cases of administering the drugs not recommended by vets in the wrong doses are pretty common. So the vet has to treat the initial infection and reverse the damage caused by the administration of self-prescribed drugs.
Remember, Amoxicillin treats bacterial infections; if your dog doesn’t have an infection, the drug is ineffective. Its active ingredient is specially formulated to treat bacterial infections, not parasites or viruses.
Therefore, only a veterinarian can analyze the symptoms, perform tests, identify the origin of the disease, and administer the proper medication. Continuous administration of antibiotics without prior tests causes dogs to develop superbugs which make the body resistant to Amoxicillin over time.
What’s more, administering a more potent dose or lengthening the treatment period only worsens the situation. The bacteria takes over the body and, in severe cases, can lead to death. The best way to ensure the right antibiotics are prescribed is to use a sensitivity profile. The test identifies the bacteria causing the problem, making it easy for the vet to prescribe the right drug.
My Dog Has Taken Human Amoxicillin – What Should I Do?
If your dog takes human Amoxicillin accidentally, contact your vet immediately. You can also call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Alternatively, try to find out how much medication they have consumed and induce vomiting. Typically, a small dog (10-pound dog) shouldn’t take more than 100 mg, while a large dog (over 45 pounds) can take up to 500 mg.
In other words, a small dog must not take more than a tablespoon, and a large dog shouldn’t exceed three tablespoons. You can use hydrogen peroxide or encourage the dog to walk around to induce vomiting. Wait 30 minutes before repeating the dose, if necessary. But don’t do this more than once.
If your dog is having a hard time breathing or is lethargic, don’t induce vomiting.
How Do You Differentiate Between Human and Veterinary Amoxicillin Formulations?
Amoxicillin is registered for use in both animals and humans. However, you can differentiate them by looking at their brand names. Human Amoxicillin is available in brand names like Polymoc (Apothecon) and Amoxil (Beecham), while vet formulations have names like Amoxi-drops (Pfizer), Amoxi-Tabs (Pfizer), and Robamox (Fort Dodge).
Conclusion For “Human Amoxicillin Dosage For Dogs”
As explained, you must not administer human Amoxicillin to a dog unless a vet has prescribed it. If you must, you shouldn’t exceed three tablespoons for a large dog (over 45 pounds) or a tablespoon for a small dog (10-20 pounds).
Overall, it’s best to give your dog Amoxicillin formulated for dogs because it doesn’t contain harmful ingredients. Better still, have a vet prescribe the drug and follow the instructions.
If you find this guide, “Human Amoxicillin Dosage For Dogs,” helpful, you can check out these other dog-related questions answered by our team:
You can learn more about Amoxicillin by watching “What does amoxicillin cure in dogs?” down below:
Dr. Sabrina Kong graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in England in 2016 and has been working at a small animal clinic in Northern California since then. She grew up in the Bay Area and got her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She also became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through a program at the University of Tennessee.
When she isn’t in the clinic taking care of her four-legged patients, she enjoys traveling and trying new foods with her friends and her three-legged dog, Apollo. She adopted Apollo from her clinic when he was a puppy with numerous health issues. Dr. Kong truly cares about taking care of animals.