Metronidazole For Dogs: What is Used For? Proper Dosage and Side Effects

It’s a nightmare of every fur parent to see his pooch get sick. Dogs can’t figure out precisely what causes them pain and it’s so difficult to tell how your dog contracted certain illnesses. Like us, dogs are also given prescription medicines in various kinds, and metronidazole is one of those. In this article,I will deal with the use, efficacy, the proper dosage, and safety of metronidazole for dogs.

What is Metronidazole for Dogs?

This is an antibiotic, and the most common brand name is Flagyl. It’s an extremely powerful antibiotic that veterinarians prescribe to treat diarrhea and inflammation in the dog’s large intestine. But metronidazole is also used for dogs to heal other kinds of bacteria, protozoa and anaerobic diseases.

You cannot buy this antibiotic without a prescription. The canine version of metronidazole is yet to be approved by FDA. However, it is already prescribed by Vets to cure bacterial infections and parasitic infections.

This medicine was intended for human use, and it got approval from the FDA during the 1960s.

In fact this medicine is not meant for the use of animals. However, it should be noted that nearly all antibiotics, particularly Canine, used for animals, are for people rather than for animals. As canines are also impacted by similar bacterial and parasite diseases; however, it is only logical for canine infections to be handled by the same kind of medicine.

In short, although metronidazole is not invented for canine use, over the years, it has been proven effective and safe in the treatment of dog infections. Depending on your dog’s illness, it is either given orally or externally.

How Does Metronidazole for Dogs Work?

Metronidazole operates by killing the formation of DNA of the infecting organisms. This can be done because infecting bacteria and parasites flourish in an oxygen-free setting, based on various kinds of research. These are referred to as anaerobes.  Metronidazole prevents the multiplication of these anaerobic.

But it is also used for killing bacteria and protozoa diseases among dogs, apart from anaerobic bacteria. In addition, it is used to treat diseases that other kinds of antibiotics can not treat in the central nervous system. This antibiotic can be used efficiently if your dog shows that it has an infection of the brain.

And not to forget that Metronidazole is also helpful in dental and bone infections of dogs. This is why dogs are alway prescribed metronidazole by veterinary doctors all over the world.

What are Canine Illnesses that Metronidazole for Dogs Treat? (What Is It For?):

Metronidazole is very capable of treating distinct types of canine disorders, the reason they are prescribed for this type of antibiotic. However, they are mainly used in gastrointestinal disorders. Here is a list of what Metronidazole is used for:

  • Clostridium Perfringens: This bacteria is found in decomposing vegetation and marine residues. It is also present in undercooked meat, such as chicken and beef, which are left open. There is also some proof that this bacterium can be passed on to another dog in boarding or kennel areas. If this form of bacteria has been ingested into a dog, the symptoms are bloody diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, abdominal pain, and in some instances, the dog has a fever. It is very secure and efficient to treat dogs with metronidazole.
  • Giardia Lambia: This is a protozoan parasite that might infect your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. While some dogs do not demonstrate noticeable signs, some dogs do in the form of vomiting, diarrhea, energy shortage, and weight loss. Contamination occurs when contaminated water is drunk by your dog. Even if this parasite does not infect your dog, it is still advisable to have your dog tested at least twice a year to avoid any health problems. Metronidazole for dogs is one of the established alternatives if diagnosed with Giardia.
  • Amebiasis: This is another type of bacterial infection which have the same signs and symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. If left untreated, your dog may suffer from dehydration and death.
  • Trichomoniasis: This is an infection triggered by an anaerobic protozoan called trichomonas. It creates large-intestinal inflammation. The symptoms are diarrhea, swollen anus, rectal region pain, and an anal lump. It is usually good to treat dog with Metronidazole for excellent result.
  • Sepsis in Dogs: This can be life-threatening if not treated instantly. Sepsis poisons the dog’s blood, and this usually results from an untreated infection. The infection can start from any part of the dog’s body, whether it’s in the ears, in the skin, or elsewhere. That’s why you shouldn’t take for granted any infection as it can lead to blood poisoning or sepsis.
  • Dental Infections: Your dog’s dental disease can start from plaques. Unless plaques are  removed, the gums and teeth may be infected by bacteria. If the infection is not treated with Metronidazole for dogs, it can worsen and lead to diabetes, stroke, renal illness, among others. As a fur parent, it is, therefore, a good habit to have your dog’s mouth checked frequently for its overall health.

You can see that Metronidazole for dogs is a powerful antibiotic that acts as antibacterial and anti-protozoal medicine for dogs based on the various types of dog diseases listed above. This is the primary reason that most veterinary doctors trust this antibiotic’s effectiveness.

Getting the Proper Dosage of Metronidazole for Dogs:

After your dog’s disease has been diagnosed correctly by the Vet, the next step is to prescribe the right dosage of Metronidazole for pets. Recall that there is a thin line between life and death and that too much can lead to severe circumstances.

The usual dose given by Vets is 5 to 20 mg per kilogram, divided in quantities like it can be given two or three times a day. If you forgot to give the pill to your dog, prevent double dose as it may result in overdose. I must stress that while Metronidazole is very efficient for dogs, it may also be poisonous if you double-dose it. That’s why you’ve got to consult the vet and ask what to do if you missed a pill.

But, aside from your dog’s weight, the type of bacteria or protozoan that affects your dog is another factor determining the right dose. Lesser evil means a lesser dosage. So, if the bacteria are hard to eradicate, for instance, the dosage would be higher than if the bacteria were not as aggressive.

Doses are generally higher when the dog is infected with the trichomoniasis protozoa. If the infection is either Giardia Lambia or Amebiasis, the smallest dose of metronidazole is given to dogs. For example, a veterinarian could prescribe 7 to 11 mg per pound once daily, but if a dog suffers from Giarda Lambia, the dose can be raised to 29.5 mg per pound. The dose is, however, higher–11 to 22 mg per pound, twice a day, if the cause is anaerobic or trichomonitic bacteria.

Metronidazole for dogs comes in 250 and 500 mg pills. But if the dog has sepsis, the drug is administered through injection.

There is also a liquid Metronidazole for dogs. This is the better alternative for dogs that have an upset stomach and showing signs of vomiting.

Though this antibiotic is generally safe for dogs, it is best avoided in the following circumstances:

Precautions in Administering Metronidazole for Dogs (the side-effects):

Like all kinds of antibiotics, Metronidazole is no exception when it comes to side-effects. Some dogs may exhibit while some won’t show any side-effects at all. But the common manifestations are the following:

  • Loose stool
  • Vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Allergic reactions like irregular heartbeat
  • Drooling
  • Blood in the urine

There are some cases when dogs would be given Metronidazole for a prolonged period. If any of the signs, below are manifested by your dog, it is best to contact your Veterinary Doctor immediately. The side-effects for extended use could be the following:

  • Abnormal slow heartbeat
  • Stiffness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

How to Give Metronidazole Pills to Dogs?

The difficulty of providing pills is one of the prevalent issues of pet parents. It can be a fight, and at times the dog tends to resist the medicine. If you find it hard to give pills to your dog, I recommend that you get:

  • Vet worthy pet pill gun for dogs
  • Four paws quick and easy pet pill dispenser


Canine antibiotic metronidazole is used to cure different diseases of dogs. It is not only used in bacterial infections, but also in parasites and other diseases, which is unique about this medicine. But as a fur parent, do not take matters into your hands. Avoid giving this medicine without Vet approval. Note that overdosages may jeopardize your fur baby’s life and therefore leave the diagnosis to the veterinarian.

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