Can I Give My Dog Doxycycline?

Prescription Drugs

Can I Give My Dog Doxycycline?

Jennifer Hadley
By Jennifer Hadley
Apr 28, 2021
Gerri Katz, DVM
Medically Reviewed ByGerri Katz, DVM
Can I Give My Dog Doxycycline?

Similar to humans, our canine companions are vulnerable to infections caused by bacteria and are vulnerable to these types of infections. Dogs are sometimes treated for bacterial infections with the same medications that treat bacterial infections in humans, such as the prescription medication doxycycline.

However, dosages vary widely between humans and canines. So if you’re wondering, “can I give my dog doxycycline?” The answer is, only if your vet has prescribed it. Here’s what to know about treating your dog with doxycycline for an infection.

Why Dogs May Be Prescribed Doxycycline

Doxycycline is a medication known as a tetracycline antibiotic. It is used to treat bacterial infections in dogs. In some cases, it may also be used to prevent a secondary infection from developing, in dogs who have tested positive for viral infections such as parvovirus. Dogs may be prescribed doxycycline to treat:

  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Heartworm disease
  • Infected wounds
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Periodontal disease (gum disease)
  • Respiratory infections
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Urinary tract infections
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Common Reasons Vets Prescribe Doxycycline

Doxycycline, which is generic for the brand drug Acticlate is a commonly prescribed antibiotic in veterinary medicine. It is prescribed by vets to treat bacterial infections and prevent secondary bacterial infections stemming from a viral infection.


Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Ehrlichia bacteria. Dogs may become infected with Ehrlichia as the result of a tick bite. Dogs who develop ehrlichiosis may exhibit symptoms such as fever, lethargy, poor appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Veterinarians may prescribe doxycycline to treat ehrlichiosis.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease can be fatal to dogs. It causes damage to the lungs, heart, and other organs. It is caused by a parasitic worm that infects dogs through a mosquito bite. Symptoms of heartworm disease may not appear for some time as the disease can progress slowly. When symptoms do appear they may include cough, tiredness, and difficulty breathing. Veterinarians may prescribe doxycycline as part of a regimen to treat heartworm disease in dogs.

Infected Wounds

If your dog sustains a laceration or other wound, it may become infected if not treated properly. You should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian, to ensure that the area is properly cleaned. If an infection does result from a wound, your veterinarian may prescribe doxycycline.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by Leptospira bacteria. Leptospira bacteria are found in soil and water. Dogs can develop leptospirosis from drinking water from a lake, stream, or river. Exposure to farm animals or other infected wildlife may also lead to infection. Veterinarians may prescribe doxycycline to treat leptospirosis.

Lyme Disease

Dogs bitten by ticks are at risk of developing Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease results from the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, and it is transmitted by deer ticks. Symptoms of Lyme Disease in pets may include fever, loss of appetite, swelling of the joints, and lethargy. Veterinarians may prescribe doxycycline to treat Lyme Disease in dogs.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is very common in dogs. It is caused by bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria causes damage to the gums, bone, and teeth. Symptoms of periodontal disease in dogs may include red, swollen gums, bad breath, bleeding gums, and tooth loss. Doxycycline may be prescribed to assist in the treatment of periodontal disease in dogs.

Respiratory Infections

Dogs can develop bacterial pneumonia, just as humans can develop this condition. A variety of bacteria may lead to inflammation and infection of the lungs. Respiratory infections in dogs may also develop as a secondary infection following a viral infection such as influenza, adenovirus, or parainfluenza. Doxycycline may be prescribed to your dog to treat a respiratory infection.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a bacterial infection transmitted by infected ticks. Despite its name, this type of bacterial infection which affects both humans and dogs is frequently found in North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Doxycycline may be prescribed to treat Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Urinary Tract Infections

Bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common infections veterinarians treat in dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, 14% of dogs will be infected with a bacterial UTI at some point in their lives. Symptoms may include frequent urination, blood in the urine, cloudy urine, straining, or crying while urinating. Doxycycline may be prescribed if your dog is diagnosed with a UTI.

Side Effects of Doxycycline in Pets

All medications have the potential to cause side effects in pets. Doxycycline is typically well tolerated by most dogs. However, some dogs may experience side effects of doxycycline including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite

Most side effects will resolve on their own. To be safe, notify your vet if your dog is experiencing any side effects of doxycycline.

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Affordability of Doxycycline Through RxSaver

If your dog is prescribed doxycycline for a bacterial infection, ask your veterinarian to write a prescription you can fill at a pharmacy. Be sure to use the RxSaver website or free mobile app to locate the pharmacy near you that offers the best discount coupon for doxycycline. When you pick up your prescription, simply show the coupon to the pharmacist for instant savings.

The RxSaver coupon price for doxycycline starts at $214.01* for 40 mg and 30 cap ir drs

Discuss Questions With Your Veterinarian If you suspect your dog has an infection, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Never attempt to treat any medical condition with medication prescribed to humans before discussing it with your veterinarian. The dosage of medication given to dogs is very different from human dosages. Your veterinarian will be happy to answer all of your questions, to ensure that your dog is on the road to recovery as soon as possible. *Lowest online price at national pharmacy chains Costco, CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens and Walmart as of 4/27/2021. Prices vary by location and pharmacy, see for actual pricing in your area.

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley

Jen Hadley is a freelance writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, who writes extensively about the medical, legal, health care, and consumer products industries. Jen is a regular contributor to RxSaver.

Gerri Katz, DVM

Gerri Katz, DVM

Dr. Geri Katz is a 1996 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced as a small animal veterinarian for over 25 years but has a particular fondness for felines. She opened Aristokatz, a veterinary hospital dedicated solely to the welfare of cats, in April of 2012. As an active member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and regional veterinary associations, Dr. Katz is continually learning from veterinary specialists regarding various health issues that affect cats. “What fulfills me most as a veterinarian,” Dr Katz says, “is building trusting relationships with pet owners, and ensuring that my patients live long, healthy, and comfortable lives.” In Dr. Katz’s free time she enjoys spending quality time with her husband and two children in Fairfield, Connecticut. She also loves to spoil her kitties – Jimmy, Meep, and Jeorge.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.