Can dogs have human amoxicillin?

Your pooch is sick, and you want them to get better. Perhaps you have a busy schedule and don’t feel you can fit in a vet visit. Perhaps you are short on cash, and can’t afford an expensive vet bill. 

These are a few situations that cause you to wonder, can you give your dog human amoxicillin?  

Can dogs have human amoxicillin?

Dogs really shouldn’t take human amoxicillin for a few reasons. In reality, it may be the exact same medication your vet would prescribe. However, there are concerns with dosing, and inactive ingredients.

There’s also the risk that the antibiotic isn’t what your dog needs. For these reasons, it’s best not to give your pooch human amoxicillin. 

Amoxicillin for Dogs 

Amoxicillin is a medication that is commonly prescribed for both humans and dogs. It’s a more effective version of its predecessor, Penicillin. 

It is safe for your dog to take the antibiotic in a form designed for dogs.  It’s commonly used to treat urinary infections, skin infections, and respiratory infections.

 It can also be effective against Lyme disease. Vets may also prescribe amoxicillin for other infections. It is a broad spectrum antibiotic, making it effective for a wide range of bacteria. 

Antibiotic Resistance and Super Bugs

Vets, doctors, and patients had a very laizze faire attitude about antibiotics for many years. They have a low risk of side effects, and they are effective. 

This led to them being prescribed, “just in case”, in a lot of instances. You may have had your doctor tell you that you had a virus, but to take an antibiotic as a preventative measure. 

One study found that antibiotics were prescribed for a confirmed infection only 17% of the time. 45% of cases were suspected infection, where prescribing antibiotics was considered reasonable.

A surprising 38% of the time, there was no evidence for infection at all. 

Even though we know we should take all of the medication, it says so on the bottle, many of us don’t. We stop once we feel better, which is why you may have some amoxicillin in your medicine cabinet right now. 

These practices have led to the rise of super bugs. These bacteria are resistant to typical antibiotics. This is because antibiotics are overused, and they aren’t taken as prescribed. 

If you have a bacterial infection and take antibiotics only until you feel better, you may not completely kill the infection. Since the infection survived and was exposed to the antibiotic, it’s possible for it to develop immunity to it. 

You’ll then need a different antibiotic to combat the infection when symptoms return. 

Over time, this has created strains of bacteria that pose a serious health risk to humans and their pets. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are a problem for both humans and dogs. 

As responsible world citizens and pet owners, we can limit this issue by taking and giving antibiotics as prescribed. 

Dosing 

One of the pitfalls with giving your dog human amoxicillin is the dosage. Human medications are typically given in a standard dosage. However, dosing for dogs is similar to dosing for children. 

It’s determined by weight, instead of being standardized. For example, a 6 pound chihuaha would require a very different dose than a 60  pound German Shepard.

You shouldn’t try to determine the appropriate dose on your own. You should really speak to your veterinarian about how much amoxicillin to give your dog.  

Inactive Ingredients

Amoxicillin for humans may also contain inactive ingredients that are toxic for your dog. It can be easy to assume because the active  ingredient is the same, the formulation is identical. 

The biggest concern with inactive ingredients in antibiotics is xylitol. This is a sweetener that is used in sugar free gums, candies, and some medications. 

It’s perfectly safe for humans, but highly toxic to dogs. It affects their blood sugar levels, causing them to drop dangerously low. This can cause liver failure. High doses can be fatal. 

Other inactive ingredients may not be safe for your dog either. The medication is made to be safe for humans, and some things that are safe for us are dangerous for our furry friends. 

Is Amoxicilin the Right Antibiotic? 

Another concern with giving your dog human amoxicillin is that it may not be the treatment your pooch needs. 

It can be difficult to determine if your dog actually has an infection. In fact, even vets often get it wrong unless they perform tests to confirm the presence of an infection. 

Since antibiotics only treat infections, they are useless if your dog doesn’t have an infection. This can also lead to super bugs, which are resistant to common antibiotics, as mentioned earlier. 

How effective an antibiotic is will also depend on the type of bacteria and the location of the infection. One reason why there are so many types of antibiotics today is because they are effective for different types of illnesses. 

For example, you will be given one type fo antibiotic for a UTI, and a completely different one for a respiratory infection. Without a vet’s guidance, you wouldn’t know for sure that amoxicillin is the best treatment for your four-legged family member. 

Amoxicillin Allergy 

Amoxicillin is a rare allergen for dogs, but it can cause a severe reaction if your pooch is allergic. 

The symptoms of amoxicillin allergy include rash, itching, and frequent scratching. Your dog may also experience watery eyes and runny nose.

Serious allergic reactions are known as anaphylaxis. The symptoms of anaphylaxis include vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. Shock, coma, and death can occur. 

What Can You Do For Your Dog’s Infection? 

If you don’t have the money for a standard vet visit, you can contact an online veterinary service. Dutch allows you to chat with a veterinarian and get a prescription if needed. It’s much less expensive than an in-person vet visit. It’s important to note that this isn’t available in all states. 

Other services like Chewy will allow you to chat with a vet, but doesn’t provide prescriptions. 

What happens if dogs eat human amoxicillin?

The good news is amoxicillin itself is safe for dogs. If the amoxicillin contains xylitol, they can have serious complications. The other concern if your dog eats amoxicillin is dosage. 

Your pooch can overdose on amoxicillin, which causes its own set of health issues. 

Safe Amoxicillin Dosage 

Amoxicillin is generally prescribed for dogs at a dosage of 5 to 10mg per pound. This means a 50 pound dog can safely take 500 mg, which is the standard human dosage. 

However, a small dog weighing 10 pounds would only take 100 mg. A human dose could be dangerous for them. 

Xylitol Effects 

If the amoxicillin contains xylitol, your dog will experience the effects of xylitol poisoning. These include vomiting, weakness, and lack of coordination. 

They may also become lethargic, or have tremors or seizures. Serious xylitol toxicity can cause coma and death. 

Overdose on Amoxicillin Effects 

An overdose of amoxicillin can have some serious effects. Gastrointestinal signs of amoxicillin overdose include loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

They may also experience unsteady gait or incoordination, due to the nervous system effects. 

Other signs of amoxicillin overdose can include: 

  • Panting 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Swelling of the muzzle and face
  • Excessive thirst and urination

A serious overdose can cause kidney failure and nervous system dysfunction. 

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Human Amoxicillin 

If your pooch accidentally eats amoxicillin, try to determine how much they consumed. If they consumed a large amount, contact your vet immediately. 

You can also induce vomiting. To do this, you’ll need hydrogen peroxide, which you probably have in your medicine cabinet. 

The dosage is 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of body weight. Large dogs over 45 pounds shouldn’t take more than 3 tablespoons. Walking your dog can help induce vomiting. 

If they don’t throw up within 30 minutes, you can give them another dose. Do not repeat the dosage more than once. 

Do not induce vomiting if your pooch is lethargic, having difficulty breathing, or already vomiting.