What Are the Different Uses of Ciprofloxacin for Dogs?

Madeleine A.

Ciprofloxacin for dogs is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, most commonly the urinary tract infection. Just as in humans, ciprofloxacin relieves symptoms of urinary tract infection, including urgency, urinary burning, and urinary frequency. The medication is also used for canine kidney infections. Symptoms of kidney infection in dogs are similar to those of a urinary tract infection, but may include back or flank pain and blood in the urine.

Side effects of ciprofloxacin for dogs may include excessive sleepiness.
Side effects of ciprofloxacin for dogs may include excessive sleepiness.

Other uses of ciprofloxacin for dogs include both upper and lower respiratory infections and skin infections. Ciprofloxacin is commonly used in the veterinary setting with good results. Cats can also benefit from this antibiotic to treat the same infectious conditions that it treats in dogs.

A veterinarian may prescribe ciprofloxacin to treat a dog's urinary tract infection.
A veterinarian may prescribe ciprofloxacin to treat a dog's urinary tract infection.

Cipro is especially effective for treating canine wound infections. When a dog sustains a deep tissue wound, it is at risk for developing a blood infection called sepsis, which can be life threatening. Ciprofloxacin is extremely effective in reducing this risk and eradicating the bacterial organism responsible for the infection. It is important to note, however, that unless the dog completes the entire course of prescribed antibiotics, the infection may return, and even worsen if it does return.

Ciprofloxacin can be prescribed to treat the symptoms of a urinary tract infection in dogs.
Ciprofloxacin can be prescribed to treat the symptoms of a urinary tract infection in dogs.

Although effective in treating bacterial infections, ciprofloxacin can produce side effects in dogs. Certain side effects can be mild, such as gastrointestinal upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sleeping, and dizziness. In addition, the dog may experience muscle pain, blurred vision, or stiffness in the joints. If not quickly treated, dehydration can occur as a result of gastrointestinal side effects.

When ciprofloxacin for dogs is given, pet owners or veterinarians should closely watch the animal for signs of more serious side effects. These include seizure activity, bloody diarrhea, fever, and jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or eyes. In addition, jaundice can turn the urine a dark brown color, which is sometimes referred to as tea-colored urine. When jaundice occurs, it can signify problems with the liver, so the medication should be immediately discontinued and the veterinarian notified.

Like with any medication, allergic reaction can occur when ciprofloxacin for dogs is administered. Generally, these reactions are limited to mild itching. Serious reactions that include swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat can occur, however, as can difficulty breathing and severe hives. If these side effects occur, the dog should be transported to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital for prompt evaluation and life-saving treatment.

Ciprofloxacin is effective in treating dog wound infections.
Ciprofloxacin is effective in treating dog wound infections.

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Discussion Comments


I put the pill in a capsule sized pill pocket, being very careful to not touch the outside of the pill pocket with fingers that have touched the Cipro, because most dogs can smell even that little bit on the outside. I also have a doggie treat ready to give her when the loaded pill pocket has been swallowed to sort of give it a little more "push." Also, give the pill just before you give the dog food.


My two house dogs hate taking pills. Sometimes I take the small pills and put it in some meat. When they get it in mouth, I offer another bite immediately. Usually works. On the large pills, I break them up in a pill splitter then put pieces in a bowl (like the pharmacists uses to crush pills. I forget what it's called). I take a syringe (without the needle) and fill it up with water. Then I take the syringe of water and put it in a small plastic medicine dosage cup. I dump the crushed pill powder into water in cup and use a toothpick to mix well. Then, using the empty syringe, I withdraw water and medicine into it. It's ready to give to doggie then. This works well for me. --Wayne


@cloudel – Try wrapping it in a slice of cheese. I buy those cheese singles for sandwiches, and they are perfect for fitting around a pill. You can mash the cheese around it, and it will stick and the dog will eat it before she realizes what's in the center.

My dog got ciprofloxacin after being attacked by the neighbor's dog. He had a cut on the soft flesh right where his back leg joins his body, and it got infected. It started dripping pinkish pus, and I was scared!

Even though the vet said that ciprofloxacin is a strong antibiotic that is good for cases like this, I would never give my dog any kind of antibiotic without asking the vet first, because different breeds and dogs of various sizes have different needs. Really, no one should have any leftover antibiotics lying around anyway, because you should finish out the course to fully treat the infection.


Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could get my dog to take her ciprofloxacin? I've been shoving it down her throat, but I hate doing this. I feel so cruel, and she runs away from me.

I tried hiding it in canned dogfood, but she always eats around it. I even sliced open a hotdog and stuck the pill in the middle, but she spit it out. I'm running out of ideas!


@orangey03 – If a dog whines or winces when you press on her abdomen, then she might have a kidney infection. That would be the only way you could pinpoint the location, but you are right about the dog just lying around acting miserable.

My dog cried when she urinated when she had a kidney infection. I knew something was wrong then, and I told the vet about her symptoms.

The vet prescribed ciprofloxacin, and it worked in a few days. I kept giving her all the medicine until it was gone, though. I had about two weeks worth of pills, and I believe I gave them to her twice a day.


I wonder how you could tell if your dog had back and flank pain. I suppose you would know something was up by how frequently he had to go pee, but sometimes, it is hard to tell exactly where they are hurting. They just seem to be generally miserable if they are feeling bad.

I would imagine that a vet would test the dog's urine for bacteria before giving him ciprofloxacin anyway. It wouldn't be good to just guess at it and give antibiotics that might not be right for it.

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