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Dogs, cats and other pets can get infections just like their pet parents can. And whether it’s a bladder infection or another bacterial disease, addressing the issue quickly can help prevent more serious health problems. Amoxicillin for dogs, cats and other pets is a common prescription for these kinds of conditions.  

Amoxicillin  is a penicillin-based antibiotic. It’s considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means it addresses a wide array of bacteria, including gram-positive and gram-negative strains. Amoxicillin for cats, dogs and other animals works by preventing bacteria from forming cell walls. In turn, this stops the bacteria from replicating. Creating a roadblock to cell wall formation ultimately kills most bacterial infections fairly quickly.  

Amoxicillin is only effective against bacterial infections. It will not eliminate viral infections or kill parasites. That being said, it can treat a wide range of infections and is commonly prescribed by veterinarians for many types of household pets. You may receive the drug under a different name like Amoxi-Tabs, Amoxi-Drops, Amoxil, Biomox or Moxatag.  

You can get amoxicillin for pets from the Petco pet pharmacy fulfilled by Vetsource with a valid prescription from your veterinarian. Let’s talk about this drug, how to use it and which side effects your pet may experience.  

Pet prescriptions available to order at Petco

What infections does amoxicillin treat in dogs? 

Your pup’s veterinarian will let you know if a particular bacterial infection will respond to amoxicillin. Common uses include: 

  • Respiratory infections Treating lower respiratory infections is one common use of amoxicillin for pets. Without proper treatment, these infections make it hard for your pet to breath  
  • Urinary tract infections UTIs are uncomfortable and can lead to kidney infections. Treating them early with amoxicillin can stop them from spreading  
  • Bacterial skin infections If your pet gets a wound or has broken skin for any reason, it can become infected. Antibiotics help stop the infection from getting worse or spreading to the blood, which can lead to other dangerous consequences  
  • Gastrointestinal infections A GI infection is painful and can make it hard for pets to digest their food properly. Prompt attention is required, and your vet may also recommend probiotics to reset the gut bacteria in your pet’s GI tract  
  • Tooth abscesses A tooth infection, also called an abscess, makes chewing dry food very painful. Left untreated, the infection can spread to the brain or the blood   
  • Ear infections Ear infections can also be treated with antibiotics like amoxicillin for animals. This can get the problem under control before it threatens hearing or damages the structures of the ear  

How should I store and handle amoxicillin for animals? 

While amoxicillin capsules typically do not need to be refrigerated, liquid varieties should be stored in a refrigerator. Some liquid forms of this medication have even been known to taste better if they’ve been refrigerated. Store the capsules at between 68 and 77°F. Capsules can be handled by hand without damaging the medication or your skin.  

How do you administer amoxicillin for pets? 

The primary ways to administer amoxicillin at home are via capsule or liquid drops. Most types of amoxicillin for fish need to be dropped into the water. Consult your vet on the dosing.  

If your pet does not take medication easily, you can hide a pill in a pill pocket. This drug can typically be administered with or without food. You may also want to reward your dog with treats or dog toys to distract them after a dose. Cats appreciate toys and treats, too.

It is critical to always give antibiotic regimens exactly as prescribed. If you accidentally miss a dose of amoxicillin for pets, ask your veterinarian how to proceed.

How much amoxicillin do I give my pet? 

The right  amoxicillin dosage for cats, dogs and other pets depends on a few factors. Your vet may consider your pet’s overall health and the severity of their symptoms. In most cases, the pet’s species and weight will be the primary factors when determining the dosage and how frequently it will need to be administered.  

Whether you need amoxicillin for birds or you have a sick ferret, there are specific guidelines that must be considered. Always follow your vet’s instructions concerning the dosage. 

How many days in a row should a dog take amoxicillin? 

This depends on the type of infection your dog has, their size and age, and how your pet responds to medication. Pet parents should always administer prescription medicines according to the instructions of their vets. 

Does amoxicillin make dogs sleepy? 

Yes, this antibiotic is known to cause lethargy and fatigue in canines. Amoxicillin for pets can affect the digestive system and prevent the complete absorption of nutrients, leading to tiredness. That’s why the main side effects of amoxicillin are related to the stomach and the digestive system. If your pet gets sick after taking amoxicillin, consult your veterinarian about whether you should continue the medicine. Some pets do better when you administer it with food. The same symptoms can also occur in lizards, so take a look at some reptile food that can be given with medication. 

Although some amoxicillin side effects—including lethargy—can affect appetite, your pet must continue to eat. The energy provided by food is essential in helping them fight infections and repair cells in their body. Talk to your vet if your pet loses their appetite when taking amoxicillin. Some pet parents utilize food toppers and pet-safe broths to entice choosy eaters.

Other common amoxicillin side effects include: 

  • Vomiting   
  • Nausea  
  • Drooling 
  • Diarrhea 

As a short-acting antibiotic, some mild amoxicillin side effects—such as nausea—will likely resolve on their own within 24 hours. If your pet has swelling of the face or trouble breathing, they might be having an allergic reaction. You should also keep an eye out for hives. If your pet has an adverse reaction, see your veterinarian right away for emergency care. Your pet may be sensitive to penicillin and need an alternative to treat their infection.  

Can you get amoxicillin at a pet store? 

Amoxicillin for fish, dogs, cats and other pets is a prescription medication requiring a veterinarian’s authorization. Pet parents are unlikely to find this antibiotic at pet stores without on-site veterinary services or a pet pharmacy. When your veterinarian prescribes amoxicillin for pets, they will let you know where the prescription can be filled. At Petco, prescription medications cannot be picked up in stores, but they can be quickly ordered and filled online and delivered to your home. 

Reviewed by Dr. Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM

As Petco’s Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Miller is the lead veterinary subject matter expert, overseeing the company’s standards of excellence in animal care and welfare, growth in pet services and much more. Dr. Miller leads Petco’s medical team, supporting over 200 full-service hospitals and mobile vaccination clinics operating in over 1,000 Petco Pet Care Centers nationwide