What Are the Different Uses of Doxycycline for Dogs?

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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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There are many different uses of doxycycline for dogs, including the treatment of conditions such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, chlamydia and Lyme disease. Many bacterial infections can also be treated using the drug, so there may be other reasons that a veterinarian decides to prescribe doxycycline to a dog. It can also be prescribed for urinary tract infections. The drug is classed as a broad-spectrum antibiotic because it is able to kill many different types of bacteria.

Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic and works by preventing bacteria from making proteins that are vital to their survival. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of doxycycline for dogs, but veterinarians do prescribe it to both dogs and cats on a regular basis. The drug is also used in humans for things such as malaria prevention. It comes in capsules or tablets containing 100 milligrams (mg) of the antibiotic.


Broad spectrum antibiotics, such as doxycycline, can be used to treat many conditions. The most common diseases it is used to treat are chlamydia, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. All of these conditions are bacterial infections that are sensitive to the protein-preventing effects of the drug. The dosage of the drug is usually between 2 and 5 mg per pound in weight of the dog, administered either every 12 or every 24 hours. A prescription from a veterinarian for the necessary amount is required to obtain doxycycline for dogs.

Common side effects of doxycycline include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but unless these are particularly severe, they should not be cause for the dog to stop taking the drug. Owners of dogs experiencing these symptoms should speak to the dog's veterinarian to ensure that the drug shouldn’t be stopped in the specific instance. More serious and less common side effects include dark colored urine, jaundice, and loss of appetite. Any sign of an allergic reaction, such as the development of hives or swelling of the face should be discussed with a professional and is likely to result in discontinuation of the drug.

Dogs currently taking antacids or bismuth subsalicylate may not be able to have doxycycline. Other mineral and vitamin supplements can also cause negative interactions with the drug. Doxycycline for dogs should usually not be prescribed if the dog is taking any penicillin antibiotics. Pregnant, nursing, or young dogs are also not generally advised to take the drug.


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Post 5

My dog is on doxycycline because she tested for Lyme Disease (acute). Because she is vomiting almost one meal a day I can't be sure if she losing dosage by throwing up the pill. It doesn't seem to make a difference if the pill is taken with the meal or an hour and a half later. I took her off her raw diet after she vomited and put her on Science ID, but she still throws up. Any suggestions?

Post 4

I didn't know that dogs could take doxycycline! That's what my dermatologist gave me to treat my acne. I took it for several months, and it cleared my face up.

I seem to be hearing more and more about drugs that can be given to both humans and animals. I'm sure the dosage is different between species, but I'm surprised that we can benefit from the same types of drugs.

Post 3

@orangey03 – Tick diseases are the worst! My dog got Rocky Mountain spotted fever last year, and he was so sick.

He stopped eating, and his legs swelled. He couldn't walk straight, and he started coughing. I was very worried, so I took him to the vet.

She tested him and found he had this tick disease. She put him on doxycycline for three weeks, and he started feeling better in just a couple of days. It was such a relief to me, because she told me that dogs die from this if you don't catch it in time.

Post 2

My dog got diarrhea while taking doxycycline. He didn't vomit or seem to be feeling ill, though, so I chalked it up to the medicine and continued giving it to him. Getting over his tick disease was worth a little diarrhea, I'm sure!

Post 1

I'm glad that I told my vet that my dog has to take bismuth subsalicylate for his irritable bowel disease. She probably would have given him doxycycline if I hadn't, because he had a urinary tract infection.

It pays to always let your vet know everything that your dog is taking, even if it seems insignificant. Even over-the-counter medicines can cause interactions with other drugs.

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