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Can dogs take human antibiotics?

Species: Dog
Breed: Chiapom
Age: 6-12 months
Can dogs take human antibiotics or triple creams for wounds?




Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's never a good idea to use your own medicine on a dog. There are a few reasons for this.

First, let's talk about creams:

The first reason is that the medicine will not be sterile. If you had an infection on your finger and were treating it with the cream, and then you later used that cream on your dog you could actually transmit some bacteria.

The second reason is that not all medications are safe for dogs. One example is calamine lotion. This product has zinc in it and if a dog licks at it it could cause some stomach upset or diarrhea.

The third reason is that antibiotic creams often not all that helpful for dog wounds. If a wound on a dog needs an antibiotic it usually needs to be treated with oral antibiotics.

Using a cream like neosporin or polysporin that you can buy over the counter usually won't hurt a dog, but it is rarely going to help.

And next, antibiotic tablets:

I do often prescribe antibiotic pills that are the exact same things that humans would use. There is no problem with dogs taking things like Cephalexin, Clavulanic acid and other human antibiotics. But, I would never recommend using your own antibiotics for your dog. Here are two reasons why:

1. If they were prescribed for you, then they are supposed to be used by you! You never want to take just part of a course of antibiotics. A few days of antibiotics can be a bad idea and can lead to antibiotic resistance.

2. There are many different kinds of antibiotics. If you were prescribed one type for a breathing issue and your dog has a skin issue then they may not be at all effective.


Hope that answers your question!

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.