can antibiotics cause diarrhea in dogs | Important Points

Can Antibiotics Cause Diarrhea in Dogs?

Antibiotics are widely used in the treatment of various bacterial infections in both humans and animals. However, did you know that the use of antibiotics can lead to an adverse effect on your dog’s digestive system? Antibiotics can cause digestive issues in dogs such as diarrhea. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how antibiotics can trigger diarrhea in dogs and what you can do about it.

Why do Antibiotics Lead to Diarrhea in Dogs?

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria in the body. Unfortunately, although they are effective at treating bacterial infections, they can also destroy the beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract and support the immune system. When beneficial bacteria are destroyed, it allows harmful bacteria and opportunistic pathogens to flourish, leading to digestive upsets.

Antibiotic-induced diarrhea occurs as a result of the disruption of the balance of gut bacteria. The digestive system of dogs is populated by a wide range of bacteria that perform various functions. Beneficial bacteria aid in digestion and nutrient absorption while harmful bacteria can lead to digestive issues.

The disruption of the gut bacteria balance by antibiotics can trigger an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, which leads to irritation of the intestinal lining, causing inflammation then diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. The result of antibiotic overuse in dogs can sometimes lead to severe and chronic digestive issues that can last long after the treatment has ended.

Types of Antibiotics Commonly Associated with Diarrhea in Dogs

Not all antibiotics are associated with causing diarrhea in dogs, but some are more likely to produce this side effect than others. Antibiotics such as amoxicillin, tetracyclines, and clindamycin are commonly associated with diarrhea in dogs.

Amoxicillin is one of the most frequently prescribed antibiotics by veterinarians and is often used in treating various bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections, respiratory tract infections, and skin infections. Amoxicillin kills both good and bad bacteria in your dog’s digestive system, leading to diarrhea or other digestive upset.

Tetracyclines are broad-spectrum antibiotics used to treat various bacterial infections in dogs. These antibiotics can be effective against different bacterial organisms, but they can damage the integrity of the intestinal lining and the beneficial bacteria in the gut, leading to diarrhea.

Clindamycin is another antibiotic prescribed to treat bacterial infections in dogs, including skin, dental, and bone infections. The antibiotic is too powerful, killing both healthy and harmful bacteria, and can lead to significant upset in the dog’s digestive system.

Steps you Can Take to Cope with Antibiotic-induced Diarrhea

The use of antibiotics can cause digestive upset in dogs. Although diarrhea caused by antibiotics is usually mild and self-limiting, it can be severe in some cases, leading to dehydration and other complications.

If your dog suffers from antibiotic-induced diarrhea, some steps you can take to alleviate their symptoms include:

1. Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help improve digestive function by replenishing the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can help restore the balance of gut bacteria and alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea.

You can feed your dog with commercially available probiotic supplements, or you can try feeding them yogurt, kefir or Kombucha. However, you should talk to your veterinarian first before starting your dog on a probiotic supplement to ensure it’s a good fit for their unique needs.

2. Fluids and Hydration

It is important to keep your dog hydrated during a bout of diarrhea. Diarrhea can lead to significant fluid loss and dehydration, which can be life-threatening in severe cases. Provide your dog with clean water to drink or consider using an electrolyte formula recommended by your veterinarian to help replenish lost nutrients.

3. Change your Dog’s Diet

Feeding your dog a bland diet can help give their digestive system a rest and alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea. Bland foods are easy on the digestive system and can be helpful when dealing with digestive issues.

Some examples of bland foods you can feed your dog include boiled chicken, boiled white rice, canned pumpkin or boiled sweet potato. These foods can be mixed together and fed in small portions throughout the day.

4. Contact Your Veterinarian

If your dog’s diarrhea persists beyond 24 hours or is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting or lethargy, you should seek veterinary attention immediately.

Your veterinarian may recommend discontinuing the antibiotic treatment or prescribe additional medications to help ease your dog’s diarrhea symptoms.


Antibiotics are effective at treating bacterial infections in dogs, but they can cause significant disruption to the gut bacteria balance that can lead to diarrhea and other digestive upsets. If your dog develops diarrhea after taking antibiotics, take steps to alleviate the symptoms, including feeding them bland food, providing sufficient fluids, and considering probiotic supplementation.

It’s essential to consult your veterinarian immediately if the diarrhea is severe or lasts more than 24 hours, to ensure that your dog receives appropriate treatment and prevent potential complications.

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