Doxycycline For Dogs – Everything You Need To Know

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Doxycycline is often given to dogs suffering from bacterial infections that their immune systems can’t fight off all on their own, which means they need certain medication to help out.

The most common infections that Doxycycline helps dogs fight are (according to PetMD):

  • Leptospirosis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Mycoplasma
  • Psittacosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Doxycycline then prevents the bacteria from growing in your dog’s body, hence preventing the spreading  and intensifying of the infection they are suffering from.

A Quick Safety Note About Doxycycline For Dogs

you should never give your dog any Doxycycline all on your own if you don’t have your veterinarian’s approval to do so.

You might think that Doxycycline will help your dog recover from something they’re suffering from, but in reality Doxycycline might do them much more harm than good. Or, you might get the dosages all messed up or the duration of treatment all wrong.

So, only administer Doxycycline to your dog under the supervision and approval of an animal health care professional.

Doxycycline Dosage For Dogs

Generally (and please check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any dosage of Doxycycline), the dosage recommended for you to give your dog is going to be around 2 to 5 mgs of Doxycycline for every 1 lb of your dog’s body weight every 24 hours.

If, supposedly, you miss giving your dog a timed dose of Doxycycline and you remember to do so not too long after the time to administer it has passed, give your dog the missed dose.

However, if it’s almost time for you to give your dog the next dose of Doxycycline, then forget about the dose you missed giving your dog, don’t try to make up for it and stick with the regular schedule.

Whatever you do, you do not want to give your dog two doses of Doxycycline at once.

How Can Dogs Take Doxycycline?

Doxycycline can be given to dogs in the following ways:

  • In tablet form ingested orally
  • In liquid form given orally via a syringe

Giving your dog Doxycycline all on its own is likely to make them feel nauseous and start to vomit because of it’s very bitter taste, so it’s better if you give them their dosages of Doxycycline as part of a certain meal/food they’re eating. This way, they won’t even notice that they’re taking any medicine and the chances of them feeling nauseous will be greatly decreased.

If you choose to give your dog Doxycycline in the tablet form, make sure to have them drink enough water to go along with it.

You can even wrap the Doxycycline in something your dog will enjoy eating (like some peanut butter so they don’t notice that they’re taking any medicine and just swallow the whole thing down).

Best Practices When Your Dog’s On Doxycycline

When your dog’s on a course of treatment involving Doxycycline, there are some best practices you’re going to want to abide by:

  • Don’t give your dog any dairy food during this period, because dairy food will decrease their system’s capability of properly absorbing the Doxycycline
  • Don’t brush your dog’s teeth for 2 weeks after you give them their first dose of Doxycycline
  • Stick with the complete course of treatment specified to you by your veterinarian. If you stop the treatment early on when you think that your dog is fine and fully recovered, they will only relapse and you’ll have to start all over again from square one
  • Don’t give your dog any supplements or multivitamins that contain aluminum, calcium, magnesium or zinc 2 hours before or after you give them a dose of Doxycycline

Doxycycline Side Effects In Dogs

Dogs that take Doxycycline often experience some (or all) of the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty in swallowing solids or liquids
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Decreased consumption of food
  • Swelling in the face, lips or tongue
  • Loss of hair

If you notice that your dog is displaying any of these side effects, continue with the course of treatment as assigned to you by your veterinarian, but inform them of the side effects your dog is showing immediately so they stay on top of the situation in case any modification needs to be done.

When Should I Not Give Doxycycline To My Dog?

  • PetMD gives an extensive lists of medicines that Doxycycline will contradict with if you’re already giving any of them to your dog, so check them out here.
  • Doxycycline should not be given to dogs who have an allergy to it or have been found to be hypersensitive to it
  • Doxycycline should not be given to young puppies (less than 7 months old)
  • Doxycycline should not be given to pregnant dogs or nursing dogs
  • Doxycycline should not be given to dogs suffering from liver problems or kidney problems

36 COMMENTS

  1. My dog,105 lb German Shepherd, had a URI and was put on doxycycline. After 3 days of taking his meds the infection mostly gone. The side effects then became a bigger problem! He became lethargic, stopped eating, was vomiting, and truly miserable. My vets office kept telling me to keep giving him this med! I did not, he wouldn’t swallow anything anyway. After another 2 days of not eating and acting strange,he finally started to eat again.
    The medication did treat the infection but the side effects were worse then the infection! Be very careful with this drug if prescribed for any infection for your dog.

    • I just started my GSD on this for Ehrlichosis…..I paid $100…and now am reading all of these stories about the side effects. What was your dogs dosage? I started mine on 1/2 of what was prescribed to watch for anything. But what do I give him for this tick disease? What the alternative? Did you have side effects right away?

    • I just started on the med last night and my dog threw up. He hardly ever throws up. The vet said to just continue giving it to him. I don’t want to continue giving it to him. The medication is to help him with his cough. Help!!

      • I have a 7lb chihuahua prescribed 20mg 2x a day for 6 days for a cough. Vet said cough had to run it’s course and likely could do it without the antibiotic. I have him 1 and 1 half days doses, he quit eating, became lethargic, and just looked sick. It took him 2 days before he was himself -i took him off- and still has cough but he’s happy and eating. I think dogs can be like kids..mom knows best.

      • My three dogs have been vomiting for a while. I suspect that is got to be the HEARTWORM medication they all got.
        The little one is very lethargic off and on.
        Take a look at this web site I found myself. It may help to solve some of your dog’s problems.
        Good luck.

    • Same for my dog. He has 4 days left on it and yesterday he was so lethargic and not eating. I didnt give him the night dose or the dose this am.

  2. I just started my GSD on this medication for Ehrlichosis. I paid $100 and now I am reading all of these stories of side effects! I started him on 1/2 the dosage to watch for anything. Did the side effects start early? What is my alternative medication?

      • I just started on the med last night and my dog threw up. He hardly ever throws up. The vet said to just continue giving it to him. I don’t want to continue giving it to him. The medication is to help him with his cough. Help!!

        • Stop the meds. After 2 days on doxy my dog has had severe side effects. Has not eaten in 4 days. I will NEVER use this drug again!!!! His prognosis is uncertain.

  3. My beagle is 12 weeks old I’m so very worried about the development of his teethe any professionals on this situation treatment for pneumonia two weeks 100mg oral with syringe thankyou

    • How is your Beatle after the meds. I have 9 Pound Chihuahua / Maltese
      9 lbs 1/2 tab 50 mg.
      Fine till I gave him half a tab with his dinner half hour after vomiting every half hour nothing left just Brown fluid

  4. My 12 y.o Rat Terrier was rescued 9 years ago and suffers from recurring erlichia. The warning signs are clear, low energy and just not acting right. This, on top of the spleen enlargement is very upsetting.
    The doxy has been tolerated and I continue to move through the course. The worst part is seeing my friend lay around on the tile or the bed so uninterested in normality. We hope to see some improvement, I am nervous constantly.

    • My 8 year old Japanese spitz/Terrier mix is on doxy for ehrlichiosis as well. he has low energy and sleeps most of the time at first. but he has a good appetite and has more energy after a few days as the vet also prescribed vitamin b complex to him too.

  5. My pit has heart worms he is on 200mg daily I’m very nervous.he has not been acting the same he hardly eats he acts confused ,lazy like he can’t hear us when we come in he doesn’t act excited to see us and his but is swollen this is his 2nd round . I noticed today he is slobbering what should I do ? I’m very worried

    • My pit mix has been on 200mg twice a day for about 2 weeks to prepare for Heartworm treatment. He isn’t eating or drinking much, is very lethargic and now has small bumps/sores on his body. He started slobbering, too. Have you gotten any answers, Christy?

      • I’m not sure about the other side effects/symptoms but our vet warned us that our dog may start slobbering a lot during the treatment.

  6. Always call your vet when your dog has a reaction to medication. STOP giving it, until you get the ok or need to bring the dog back in. There are other antibiotics that can help that your dog may not react to. It is bad advice to say keep giving medication if your dog gets sick from it.

  7. After two days at the vet, xrays, ultrasound, multiple blood work in house and sent to the lab the vet was only able to tell me that my baby had an enlarged spleen. They sent me home with Mirtazapine to stimulate his appetite because he stopped eating and Doxycycline. They couldn’t tell me much of anything when they sent me home. Lab work came back and he had some blood in his abdominal cavity and he was mildly anemic. They suggested trying to get his blood count imoroved and then have a splenectomy. After the first dose of Doxycycline he had major difficulty breathing, seemed very disoriented and passed away 12 hours later on the way back to the vet. If I had it to do all over, I wouldnt have let him struggle with the medication. I would’ve eased the pain and let him go peacefully. In his last hours he was suffering and I watched, hoping the medication would wear off and then ask the vet for something else.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I know first hand how devastating it is to standby helplessly and Watch your pet suffer. From Your description it sounds like your baby died from a ruptured spleen caused by a tumor in the spleen (very common in dogs.) His symptoms likely were unrelated to the medication. I agree that it is better to relieve suffering and let them pass as peacefully as possible instead of prolonging life and causing more suffering.
      I lost my best buddy in April. He also had an enlarged spleen and had a splenectomy. His tumor was cancerous and he passed about 6 weeks after the surgery. He was in pain and suffered the entire 6 weeks. It was heart renching to watch him go through this. If I could do over again, I too would let him pass peacefully rather than extending his suffering with expensive medical procedures that only briefly extended his life and significantly increased his suffering. I wish the veterinarian would have been more honest about the prognosis.

  8. My 10 year old pug was put on doxycycline for a sinus infection. After two days she lost interest in eating, began vomiting and appeared confused. She is sleeping a lot. We called the vet and they said stop medication at once. Does anyone have knowledge of how long it takes for the medication to work through their system. Is there an alternate solution?

    • My vet said it should be out of their system in 24 hours, but 4 days later my dog is still suffering the side effects. Won’t eat, labored breathing, disoriented, vomiting, lethargic. This drug should be banned from use completely!

  9. I’m so sorry your loved pet is not feeling better. On the third day of being off doxycycline my pug seems to have made a complete turn around and is doing very well. I agree the drug should be banned from use. Thank you for your response.
    Take care.

  10. I have a 3 yr old German Shepherd with heartworms. She tolerated the first 30 day treatment of the doxycycline and on Friday i had her antigen test run and it was still positive. So another round is called for. I never realized that there was such a reaction to this stuff. But heartworms are serious and I really must treat her. I am also giving her the Ivermectin every 2 weeks. Is anyone else following this protocol for heartworm treatment? Thanks in advance. It is as bad as when my kids were sick!!!!

    • I have a half lab/ half plott hound. He is 1.5 yrs old. Just started on this today. Have to give him 2.5 pills every 12hrs for 28 days.

    • Doxycycline alone will not kill heartworms, it sterilizes the female worms so they cannot reproduce. Your dog also needs to be on a monthly preventative or the immiticide treatment, to kill the heartworms.

    • The Ivermectin (Ivomec) will cost about $40 at Tractor Supply Co. The propylene glycol will cost about $22 for a gallon container. Ivomec will last for up to 3 years in the refrigerator. You will also refrigerate the mixed solution so it will also not go to waste. (only mix 1 cc Ivomec /9 cc propylene glycol solution at a time) shake well before using.
      Once a week with Doxcycline pill for adult worms. Squirt the proper dosage of solution over the dogs food in the bowl, into a special treat for your dog, or in the corner of the dogs mouth. The needle is not on the syringe for this part.
      Repeat the dosage once per month without doxcycline for de-worming your dog over 6 months of age.

  11. My 11 Yr. Old mini-schnauzer mix is diabetic and has to take Humulin N shots(14 units) twice a day. The vet put him on Doxycycline last Wednesday. This weekend we started having eating issues and the diabetes symptoms started again – drinking tons of water and peeing a lot. Have a call into the vet – increase the insulin amount or cease the drug??? Hopefully, this will be resolved immediately.

  12. I have a greyhound with partial paralysis of the larynx. He is 10 years and 7 months old. He developed symptoms two years ago. Not able to handle the cortisone prescribed (had a terrible reaction), he developed pneumonia. My vet prescribed doxycycline. He has been on and off doxycycline since. I don’t know if it is the anti inflammatory effect or bacterial control that maintains his improvement, but at the moment it works.
    Blue is a good eater, and has never had any problems with this drug. He has a loading dose twice daily for ten days ONLY, and copes well. Sometimes his treatment can be only nine weeks apart, depending on when he may react to water or slight food inhalation. Maybe it is more to do with circumstances than the drug??

  13. We have a Golden Retriever and she is almost 11 years old. She developed a cough, hacking type, and took her to an emergency vet as ours was closed. They gave us Furosemide 50 mg, 1 tablet twice a day, and DOXYCYCLINE 100 mg, 3 tablets twice a day. On day 5, monday, she refused to eat anything. She drinks a lot of water though, so i have a call into the vet as we took her off Doxycycline completely due to what we have read about this medication. She weights 72 pounds and according to all we have read, 600 mg is a heck of a lot to take, even 5 mg per pound which is max. Her cough has subsided drastically but she will NOT eat anything. Today is her 2nd day of not eating so i am force feeding her chicken broth to keep her strength up until we hear from the vet. the drug seems to work, but the side effects are terrible.

  14. Once they vomit do you continue giving them the drug? My 7 month old Pomsky just threw up not even five mins after taking it.I tried it with food but he won’t eat so I ended having to making him take it without food. Ugh he is supposed to have kennel cough. I just want my baby to feel better but I’m not going to allow him to continously vomit.

  15. I had trouble with my dog taking this medicine. So I tried this and it helped. I slide the pill into a hot dog and slightly coated it with peanut butter. He gobbles it down. Then right after, I make sure he drinks water than give him brown rice and hamburger. Helped me.. Hope this helps somebody else’s dog- like it did mine.

  16. DO NOT TAKE OR GIVE THIS TO YOUR DOGS!!!! A week ago, the Vet put my dog on this medicine and I gave it to my dog for 3 days, she was lethargic and NOT eating, breathing weird, vomiting, and NOT HER SELF, took her back to the Vet where she passed away within 6 hours. How can a VET give this to their patients? The Vet blamed it on Diabetes, she NEVER HAD DIABETES till then. I am SO MAD!!!!! I want to SUE this company for the cost of my dog (Lhasa Apso) This doctor has LOST a few patients because of this!

  17. My Vet told me to give my dog half a pill of Prilosec that will calm the stomach .Due to my dog started to through up. And do not give them any dairy. I’m surprised that you don’t get informed about the side effects when they give you the antibiotics.

  18. My Brussels Griffon (7 lbs) started this for a bacterial infection because he had a cough and was wheezing. I’ve given it to him for 3 weeks now (yes, 3 and still have at least 3 to go), 1/2 pill every 24 hours, I give it to him with food and have had no problems, except now he’s getting constipated, not sure if i’s the drug or something else. Canned pumpkin is helping with that, but no vomiting, no lethargy, nothing out of the ordinary. After he was on it a few days, he actually perked up from feeling better and his cough went away. Just my personal experience.

  19. I have a almost nine year old yellow lab and almost three weeks ago we took her to the vets for a skin infection, they put her on antibiotics, then she started breathing funny and was laying around and her stomach wasn’t completely healed, so we took her back they put her on amoxicillin and she got worse so we stopped that, took her back for a third time and by this time she’s not eating, breathing funny not doing anything but laying around and they put her on the doxycycline and it’s been two days with everything still the same they suspect leptospirosis, idk if I should stop these meds but if she has the leptospirosis and I don’t give her these meds then she’ll die, I’m so heartbroken to see my family member suffering

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