Can Dogs Have Doxycycline?

Antibiotics are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in medical history, and doxycycline has a very long history in human medicine. It’s a member of the tetracycline family that has a host of benefits in both humans and animals. While it should be prescribed with caution, it is very effective in dogs when treating some very serious bacterial diseases.


Can I Give My Dog Doxcycline?

Doxycycline is commonly prescribed to treat a variety of bacterial infections like leptospirosis, mycoplasma, toxoplasmosis, and psittacosis. It’s also the drug of choice when treating potentially life-threatening tick-borne diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis.

Is Doxycycline Safe?

Doxycycline is safe for most dogs and has minimal side effects when given in proper amounts. A rapid IV injection in large amounts could lead to serious cardiac effects. Side effects of an oral dose are usually mild, like diarrhea and nausea, and can be reduced or eliminated completely if you give the antibiotics with food. If your dog continues to vomit even when the medication is paired with food, call your veterinarian to see if an alternative medication is required.

Pregnant and nursing dogs should not be given doxycycline to avoid affecting the puppies in utero or as they’re nursing. Tetracycline-based drugs negatively affect a puppy’s developing teeth and bones, setting them up for a lifetime of dental and bone problems. Doxycycline is the least likely to cause teeth and bone abnormalities, but it should be a last resort in developing puppies.

Your dog will also become more sensitive to the sun, so make sure you’re limiting their exposure to prevent their skin from developing pustules or blisters. Rarely, a superinfection can occur if the bacteria present are resistant to doxycycline or doxycycline is prescribed incorrectly.

How Much Doxycycline Can I Give My Dog?

There are a few different dosage ranges used by veterinarians. There are good reasons for these different ranges, so you should always talk to your vet. The average dose lies between 1.4 to 2.3 mg/lb every 12 hours for seven to 14 days.

A typical dog dosage will also depend on what your dog is being treated for. For example, a Lyme disease dosage will be 4.5 mg/lb every 24 hours for 21 to 28 days. Ehrlichiosis is treated with 2.3 to 4.5 mg/lb twice per day for seven to 10 days.
A urinary tract infection or soft tissue infection requires 2.2 mg/lb twice a day for seven to 14 days.

If your dog is being treated for a bacterial illness, they will probably be treated initially with doxycycline in the clinic and given a few doses intravenously, into the muscle, or under the skin.

There’s an FDA-approved oral gel used to treat periodontal disease called Doxirobe. It’s commonly prescribed after dental procedures where a dog’s mouth is particularly susceptible to infection due to advanced periodontal disease. You should talk to your vet and follow the drug’s instructions to effectively treat your dog.

What Can I Give My Dog for Infections?

Doxycycline is the best choice for certain bacterial infections, especially tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis. However, if your dog has had a bad reaction to doxycycline, they can be treated with tetracycline, minocycline, or oxytetracycline. Unfortunately, these drugs aren’t as effective as doxycycline and their dosages are much higher. Common bacterial infections that cause ailments like pneumonia and urinary tract infections are better suited to treatment with non-tetracycline antibiotics like amoxicillin and enrofloxacin.


Doxycycline is a very important drug that’s used to treat very dangerous diseases in your dog. Because they treat diseases that can kill your dog, your vet will prescribe this antibiotic very rarely to prevent a rash of antibiotic-resistant bacteria infections. Doxycycline is always prescribed with great discretion, so when it has to be used, it will work the way it’s supposed to.