Metronidazole for Dogs: Treating Infections with Care

Metronidazole for Dogs

It’s a bright sunny day, and you’re in the backyard, enjoying a fun game of fetch with your furry buddy. He’s having the time of his life, wagging his tail with excitement. 

But the joy is short-lived, as suddenly, your loyal companion is hit by an unexpected episode of diarrhea, leaving him feeling weak and uncomfortable.

This is a scenario that every dog owner can relate to, and it’s surprising to know that almost 22% of dog owners reported their pups experiencing gastrointestinal issues at some point in their lives!

However, instead of standing there worried, it’s time to act fast! It’s time to get metronidazole to effectively combat the gastrointestinal issues that can trouble your beloved dogs.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of metronidazole for dogs, its usage, administration, side effects, storage and alternative options.

Table of Contents

What is Metronidazole?

Metronidazole, also known by brand names such as Flagyl and MetroGel, has a pretty interesting story behind it! 

It was basically discovered by scientists in France in the mid-20th century and was originally developed to treat bacterial infections in humans. But, by accident, it was found to have antibiotic properties, which led to its introduction into the medical world in the 1950s.

However, in the 1960s, researchers discovered that metronidazole could also be used to combat parasitic infections! 

This was a huge breakthrough, as it opened up new possibilities for treating these types of infections, which were previously difficult to tackle. So, metronidazole has had quite a journey and continues to play an important role in medicine today.

Let’s have a closer look at its antibiotic and antiprotozoal properties.

Antibiotic Properties

Metronidazole is a powerful antibiotic that is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections in both humans and animals. 

In dogs, it is commonly prescribed to treat infections in the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and various other parts of the body. 

Antiprotozoal Properties 

Metronidazole can work wonders in treating your furry friend’s digestive problems. Protozoa, which are tiny parasites, can cause issues like giardiasis and trichomoniasis in dogs, leading to severe diarrhea and discomfort. 

But metronidazole can help your dog feel better by disrupting the DNA and metabolic processes of these parasites and getting rid of the infection.

So, is it only prescribed to dogs to treat diarrhea? Let’s have a look.

Metronidazole for Dogs

Why is Metronidazole Prescribed for Dogs?

While metronidazole is prescribed for dogs primarily to treat severe diarrhea, it can also help relieve the symptoms of:

Bacterial Infections 

Metronidazole can help relieve dogs suffering from bacterial infections. This medication has a broad-spectrum antibiotic action, which makes it effective against various types of bacteria, including anaerobic bacteria that thrive in low-oxygen environments. It is an excellent choice for treating infections in different parts of a dog’s body, such as the gastrointestinal tract, oral cavity, and skin. 

Therefore, if your furry friend has conditions such as periodontal disease, dental abscesses, or skin infections caused by bacteria, metronidazole is the solution!

Digestive Tract Issues (Giardia or Clostridium)

Metronidazole is actually a very effective treatment for a variety of digestive issues in dogs. If your canine buddy is suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, or other discomfort related to infections caused by Giardia or Clostridium bacteria, metronidazole can really come in handy

It has special properties that help get rid of pesky parasites while also reducing inflammation in the gut to give your pup some much-needed relief from gastrointestinal symptoms.


Other Less Common Issues 

While the uses mentioned above are quite common, there are some other cases where the vet may prescribe metronidazole for dogs. For instance:

Dental Infections 

Metronidazole can be used to treat dental infections and oral health issues in dogs. It’s great for tackling problems like periodontal disease, gum infections, and abscesses. 

Skin Conditions 

Dogs can sometimes get skin infections, like pyoderma. If the infection is bacterial, treatment with metronidazole can be really helpful.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

If your furry friend is experiencing inflammatory bowel disease, your vet might prescribe metronidazole as part of their treatment plan. It can help to manage inflammation and alleviate symptoms, so your pup can feel better and get back to their playful self in no time!

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Can You Get an Online Vet Prescription for Metronidazole for Dogs?

As a pet owner, you always want the best for your furry friend, especially when it comes to their health. With the rise of online veterinary services, it’s now easier than ever to take care of your doggo(s). 

Whether you need a check-up or a prescription for metronidazole, you can seek veterinary care from the comfort of your home. These services are gaining popularity in the US and Canada and are a practical and accessible way to keep your pets safe and healthy while also reducing stress and anxiety your dog might experience from a visit to the vet.

Here are some renowned online vets you should consider:

1. Vetster 

If you’re looking for an online vet prescription for metronidazole for dogs, Vetster is a good choice. It is a US-based online veterinary service that is convenient and affordable and offers telemedicine appointment bookings for your pets from the comfort of your home. 

2. PetMD

PetMD is another online vet clinic trusted by pet owners. You can find lots of helpful information about your furry friends’ health, wellness, and nutrition on their website.

They also have a telemedicine service that allows you to connect with licensed veterinarians online for consultations and prescriptions.

3. Pawp

Pawp is a Canadian-based online veterinary service that believes pet care should be accessible and affordable for everyone. 

With Pawp, you can schedule telemedicine appointments, get prescription medication delivered right to your doorstep, and more. 

Now that you know how to get metronidazole for dogs, it’s time to understand how to administer it to your puppy.

Dosage and Administration for Metronidazole for Dogs

Taking care of your furry friend can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to administering medication. 

Metronidazole is a potent medication that requires careful handling and precision. It is always recommended to consult a licensed veterinarian for the right dosage and administration instructions, as they will consider your dog’s specific condition, weight, and overall health. 

However, here are some general guidelines and tips to keep in mind that may help make the process a bit easier:

General Dosage Guidelines Based on Weight

When administering metronidazole to your furry friend, the dosage will typically be based on your dog’s weight. A general range is around 5 to 25 mg per pound of body weight, and it’s usually given two to three times a day. 

Your vet will also let you know the exact dosage that’s right for your pup based on their specific needs.

Importance of Following Veterinarian Recommendations

It’s really important to follow your vet’s advice when giving your dog metronidazole. They will take into account a number of factors, like your dog’s age, overall health, and how severe the condition is, to determine the right dosage. 

Also, it’s super important to stick to their instructions so that your furry friend can get better as quickly and safely as possible.

Duration of Treatment

The length of metronidazole treatment for dogs can vary depending on the specific condition they have. It may last from just a few days to a few weeks. It’s important to complete the full course of treatment, even if your dog’s symptoms start to improve before the treatment is over. 

Not finishing the medication can cause the infection to come back. So make sure to stick to the full treatment plan so that your furball can recover quickly!

Tips for Administering to Dogs

Giving medication to your beloved dog can be a bit of a struggle, especially if they are a finicky eater or uncooperative. But don’t worry; here are some friendly tips to make the process smoother:

With Food

Metronidazole can be given to your pet with or without food. However, some dogs may feel better if they take it with a meal. 

Pill Pockets

Pill pockets are soft treats that are specially designed to hide medications. All you need to do is place the tablet or capsule inside the pill pocket and offer it to your dog as a treat.

Crushing or Liquid Form

Sometimes, your vet may suggest giving them metronidazole in a liquid form or advise you to crush the tablet and mix it with a tiny amount of food or liquid. 

Administering with a Syringe

You can also give liquid metronidazole to your dog using a syringe. This method makes sure that the medicine goes directly into their mouth in the right dosage, without spilling.

Metronidazole for Dogs

Potential Side Effects of Metronidazole

Metronidazole is usually safe for dogs when given correctly, but just like with any medication, some pups may experience side effects. Here’s a breakdown of common and rare side effects that dogs might experience:

Common Side Effects 

Common side effects of Metronidazole include: 

Nausea and Vomiting

If your dog is taking metronidazole, they may feel a bit uneasy or even vomit occasionally. 

Loss of Appetite

Sometimes, dogs may not feel like eating much, which can be worrying for pet parents. 


Dogs can drool a bit more when taking metronidazole. However, it’s usually not a big deal unless it’s really excessive or your puppy is experiencing other symptoms. 


Dogs on metronidazole may show signs of increased tiredness or lethargy. This is often temporary and should improve as the course of treatment progresses.

Serious Side Effects 

Although rare, metronidazole may have some serious side effects on dogs, including:

Neurological Symptoms

In rare cases, metronidazole may cause neurological symptoms such as disorientation, confusion, or behavioral changes. 

Incoordination and Seizures

Metronidazole can also lead to incoordination (ataxia) and even seizures in some dogs. 

What to Do In Case of Side Effects?

If you notice some common side effects like nausea, etc., don’t worry too much. These side effects usually go away on their own as your dog’s body gets used to the medication.

However, if you observe any serious or concerning side effects, especially neurological symptoms, stop administering the medication immediately and contact your vet for further guidance.


Contradictions and Drug Interactions

While metronidazole is a great option for treating infections in your dog, there are some cases where we should avoid using it. For example:

  • Hypersensitivity
  • Liver disease
  • Central nervous system disease (CNS)

Moreover, when your dog is on metronidazole, make sure you don’t give them other medications, like:

  • Warfarin
  • Cimetidine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Disulfiram

It’s really important to let your vet know about any other medications your dog might be taking when you’re getting ready to give them metronidazole. That way, your vet can make sure that it is safe for your dog and adjust the dosage as needed.


Special Considerations

It’s important to keep in mind that metronidazole may not be the safest option for pregnant or lactating dogs. The medication can pass through the placenta and potentially cause problems for the unborn puppies. 

Also, metronidazole should be used with caution in dogs with existing liver issues, as it gets metabolized in the liver and can potentially cause damage.


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Overdose: Symptoms and First Aid

The symptoms of metronidazole overdose in dogs can vary depending on the amount of medication ingested. Some common signs of overdose include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Ataxia 
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
Immediate Steps to Take in Case of Overdose 

If you think your dog may have overdosed on metronidazole, it is important to take the following steps immediately:

  • Contact your vet
  • Don’t administer more medicine
  • Do not induce vomiting or give your dog any other medications

You know what to do in case of an overdose, you know the potential side effects, and you know the preventive measures to take when giving metronidazole to your dogs. But do you know how to store it?

Metronidazole for Dogs

Storage and Shelf Life

It’s best to keep metronidazole in a cool, dry spot at room temperature, around 20-25°C/68-77°F. However, make sure it’s not in direct sunlight or exposed to moisture. 

For metronidazole tablets and capsules, you can store them in a tightly closed container. And if you have metronidazole suspension, it’s best to pop it in the fridge.

Checking Expiration Dates

Here are some signs to look for that may indicate your metronidazole has expired: 

  • The tablets or capsules might be discolored or have a strange smell.
  • The suspension may look cloudy.
  • The medication has been stored for longer than 2 years.

If you have any metronidazole that has expired or hasn’t been stored properly, it’s important to get rid of it. 

Real-Life Testimonials and Case Studies

Here’s what pet owners have to say about metronidazole for dogs:

I have a small senior dog who gets upset stomach/bloody stool more frequently than I would like.   Tests always come back clean; he just gets a nervous stomach. Metronidazole clears it up within 1.5 days; it’s amazing, and I always have some on hand.” says Elishea, the owner of a senior dog.

My dog tends to get stress diarrhea when the weather drastically changes. This is the only medication that works for her.” says a dog owner whose dog suffers from stress diarrhea.

Veterinarian Insights

Dr. Jerry Klein, speaking with the American Kennel Club, talks about how effective metronidazole is and when to give it to your dogs. You can check out this video below!

Alternative Treatments

While metronidazole is prescribed as medication for various infections in dogs, some alternative treatments and approaches may be considered in specific situations. 

For instance, if your dog is hypersensitive, has liver disease, or is suffering from meningitis or epilepsy, you can alternate metronidazole with antibiotics like clindamycin or antiparasitics such as tylosin.

Metronidazole for Dogs

Final Thoughts

If you have a furry friend at home, you must be aware of metronidazole! It’s a medication that can work wonders for your dog’s health. 

Whether your doggo is dealing with bacterial infections, digestive troubles, or parasitic threats, metronidazole is important to help them feel better. That being said, it’s crucial to use and store metronidazole properly to ensure that it does its job effectively. And, of course, if you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local or online vet. They’re always there to help! 

Remember, metronidazole for dogs isn’t just a medication; it’s a symbol of our love and care for our furry companions!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much metronidazole do I give my dog?

You should give 5 to 20 mg of metronidazole per kilogram (2.2lb) of your dog’s body weight, usually two to three times a day.

How quickly does metronidazole work for dogs?

Your dog should start feeling the effects of this medication in about one to two hours. However, don’t worry if you don’t notice any immediate changes, as your dog will start feeling better gradually after a few days.

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