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Natural Antibiotics For Dogs

Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Published on
Tuesday 7 June 2022
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
natural antibiotic for dogs
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With the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in medicine, resistance to antibiotic drugs has begun to appear and has become more serious due to selective pressure. Resistance to multiple antibiotic drugs is common for some kinds of bacterial strains. So, a feasible approach to limiting the transmission of bacteria is to use alternative agents. This is where natural antibiotics for dogs come in!

Dog natural antibiotics often come from plants and are easy to find in pharmacies and food health stores. Their effects are valid for use on dogs where the problem is a minor scratch or injury. You might consider using dog natural antibiotics to stop a small wound from becoming infected. However, it’s always best to talk to your vet before applying anything to your dog’s wounds, and never substitute natural products for veterinary medicine in more serious cases. Ready to find out more about natural antibiotics for dogs? Let’s get started!

What Exactly Are Antibiotics

Antibiotics are antimicrobial substances that vets use to fight bacteria. They might do this by killing the bacteria or inhibiting its growth. An antibiotic will not kill viruses. When the pathogen responsible for infection is not identified, some vets will prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics based on your dog’s symptoms until definitive therapy can begin.

This might involve using a narrow-spectrum antibiotic. You might have heard of antibiotics like doxycycline, ampicillin, and amoxicillin – these are all broad-spectrum antibiotics. In contrast, some narrow-spectrum antibiotics include fidaxomicin and vancomycin. No matter the type of antibiotics, it’s important to finish the entire course. You should not stop taking or giving antibiotics if you or your dog start to feel better! Stopping treatment may allow the bacteria to come back, causing more illness.

Antibiotics for Dogs

Like people, dogs can get bacterial infections that require antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic medicines are essential for treating these infections because they destroy the disease-causing bugs. There are many veterinary antibiotics that might be given to your pet when they are unwell. These antibiotics can be categorized into several groups.

  • Aminoglycosides work by stopping bacteria from synthesizing proteins. To do this, this type of antibiotic gets inside the bacterial cell and binds to the ribosomes of the bacteria, which causes it to misread its own genetic code. Some examples of this antibiotic type include gentamicin, tobramycin, and kanamycin. Because this type is toxic, however, it is clinically limited to severe infections such as sepsis. It may cause problems with hearing and balance.
  • ß-Lactam antibiotics work by stopping bacteria from synthesizing cell walls. They do this by targetting penicillin-binding proteins in the cell, which are necessary for the bacteria to produce its wall. This leads to the death of the bacterial cell. Examples of this antibiotic type include penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, and monobactams. Your vet might prescribe a ß-Lactam antibiotic to treat UTIs or streptococcus infections in your dog.
  • Chloramphenicol works by stopping protein synthesis. This type of antibiotic works by binding to a specific part of the cell ribosome. When this happens, the cell can’t transfer any amino acid to the peptide chains necessary for protein formation. While effective, these antibiotics cause bone marrow depression, anaphylaxis, and vomiting in dogs.
  • Fluoroquinolones work by stopping bacteria from producing nucleic acid. By disrupting this process, the bacteria cannot multiply or survive. This type is useful for treating ear infections, mastitis, rhinitis, pyoderma, wound infections, and osteomyelitis in dogs. However, it’s not ideal for use in large breeds under 18 months old, as it can damage the joints. Examples of this type include ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin.

Some other popular antibiotics for dogs include sulfamethoxazole, gentamicin, and tetracycline.

List of the Best Natural Antibiotics for Dogs

First and foremost, duly note that natural antibiotics for dogs are not a substitute for veterinary medicine. Pet parents should always consult with a vet before trying to treat their furry friends by themselves – never attempt to treat a serious infection without your vet’s guidance. You must also avoid using natural antibiotics for dogs if your dog has a specific medical condition, already takes medicine, is seriously ill, or has had an allergic reaction to natural antibiotics in the past.

The good news is that there are several helpful natural antibiotics for dogs. These range from foods to oils to herbs. These natural remedies can be helpful for healing minor scratches and scrapes and preventing bacterial infections. However, it’s important to consider each one carefully before trying it on your dog. Not all natural antibiotics for dogs are safe as they are, and some may need mixing with water or other substances before use.

Oregano Oil

Firstly, the oil of oregano is what we call a “hot” oil. This means that you should never apply it directly to your dog’s skin as it comes. You must dilute it properly before using it, as OEO can burn the skin. The general dilution guideline for OEO is one part oregano oil to four parts fatty carrier oil. Oregano is a very versatile plant. Some species exhibit antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial activity; respectively, these are Origanum compactum, origanum minutiflorum, and Origanum majorana. Its mechanism may come from its two main components, which are thymol and carvacrol – both of which have antimicrobial properties. Because of these properties, applying diluted OEO to the skin may help to protect smaller scrapes and cuts. Do not apply OEO to open wounds.


Calendula is a genus of 15-20 plants in the daisy family that you may know as pot marigolds. Studies show that pot marigolds are effective against both bacteria and fungi. Other studies suggest that applying pot marigold ointment to the skin can prevent secondary infection and aid wound healing. Its soothing effects come from its ability to scavenge free radicals, which are products of inflammation. According to VCA Hospitals, pot marigold can also heal and prevent gastric ulcers. It also lowers blood sugar. While calendula is a non-toxic plant, you should not give it to pregnant dogs. This is because some of its contents may promote uterine contractions.

Manuka Honey

Honey is well known for its antimicrobial properties and has been well-documented in some of the world’s oldest literature. Manuka honey is dark, monofloral honey that is rich in phenols. Because of its contents, Manuka honey is used in medicine to treat burns, ulcers, and non-healing wounds. Most specifically, studies show that it combats Staphylococcus aureus and Helicobacter pylori. It is also known to combat some antibiotic-resistant infections, such as MRSA. As well as this, Manuka honey stimulates macrophages to release certain mediators that help to heal damaged tissue. The high viscosity of honey also provides a protective barrier that helps to prevent infections. As such, it’s safe to apply small amounts of Manuka honey to small scratches or scrapes on your dog’s skin.


Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs worldwide. Both the plant’s upperparts and roots are used in extracts, teas, and tablets. These versatile plants contain caffeic acid, phenolic acids, and many more useful compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. A veterinary study found that echinacea extract was useful for managing the symptoms of kennel cough and bronchitis. However, this study had no control group to compare results with. In humans, echinacea may reduce the incidence of URIs in children by over 50%. Because there is little research on echinacea, it should not be used in pregnant or nursing dogs or those with autoimmune disorders.


Plantago major (common plantain) is a perennial herb. A range of biological activities has been observed in plantain, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, and antibacterial activities. Studies show that plantain has antibacterial effects against Staphylococcus aureus, Lactobacillus sp, Escherichia coli, and Enterococcus sp, among others. This is thanks to plantain’s polyphenols and polysaccharides. However, it is important to note that there is not enough evidence to show whether plantain is completely safe to apply to the skin. As well as this, it causes dermatitis in some humans. It also interacts dangerously with warfarin. If you choose to use plantain to soothe your dog’s minor scratches or burns, do so with caution. Stop use immediately if redness or irritation appears.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made from cider that has undergone bioconversion and has relatively low acidity. It also contains polyphenols and acetic acid, which are responsible for its antimicrobial properties. It also inhibits planktonic growths on burns, as well as yeast cell growth. Studies show that ACV is effective against non-resistant C. albicans, E. coli, and S. aureus. This makes ACV useful for protecting and healing small wounds and speeding up the healing process. It should, however, not be used at full strength on the skin. This is because it can cause burns when undiluted. It’s best to dilute your ACV so that it’s 50/50 ACV and purified water. Add this mixture to a spray bottle and apply it to your dog’s skin and coat, avoiding open sores or hotspots.


Goldenseal, also known as orangeroot, is a perennial herb in the buttercup family. This herb exhibits antibacterial activity, which is thought to come from the alkaloids that they produce. Most often, the roots of goldenseal find used medicinally rather than in the upper parts of the plant. Interestingly, this herb is shown to be effective against various gram-positive bacteria like MRSA. You can buy goldenseal tincture or tea for dogs with eye infections or stomach irritation.

Definition of natural antibiotics for dogs
It’s important to consider each one carefully before trying it on your dog.


Turmeric is a flowering plant in the ginger family. Its rhizomes can be dried and ground to make turmeric powder. But most importantly, the plant produces a bright yellow chemical known as curcumin. Studies show that turmeric oil might effective against B. subtilis, B. coagulans, S. aureus, E. coli, and P. aeruginosa. It also has inhibitory activity against methicillin-resistant MRSA. Interestingly, curcumin has a synergistic effect in combination with some antibiotics, like ampicillin and oxacillin – but not all. Some studies suggest that curcumin can help with wound healing through nuclear factor-KB inhibition. It also improves fibroblast density and vascular density in wounds, enhancing healing further. When put on the skin, turmeric can stain it yellow.

Olive Leaf 

Olive leaf extract (OLE) has both antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, according to studies. Most importantly, it is effective against Campylobacter jejuni, Helicobacter pylori, and Staphylococcus aureus. This includes MRSA. However, OLE is not broad-spectrum. It shows little activity against several organisms. This makes it useful for controlling some select organisms, but not all. OLE works because of its polyphenols. Their phenols include oleuropein, caffeic acid, and cumaric acid, all of which have antibacterial effects. According to VCA Hospitals, OLE might be useful for treating high blood pressure, inflammation, high blood sugar, and infections. It can be given by mouth as a liquid extract or through a capsule.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an edible oil that comes from coconut palm fruit. The oil contains small amounts of fatty acids. These acids include caprylic, capric, lauric, myristic, palmitic, and oleic acid. These fatty acids may have antimicrobial properties – lauric acid may be the most effective against bacteria. In contrast, capric acid and caprylic acid are also effective, but to a lesser degree. With these properties, coconut oil is great for your dog’s skin. It’s also an effective moisturizer and skin soother. You can use coconut oil in small amounts to help to soothe dermatitis, eczema, and lick granulomas.


Yarrow is a flowering perennial plant that you might also know as devil’s nettle or thousand-leaf. This plant is known for its antibacterial properties. In one study, yarrow essential oil was effective against both gram-positive and gram-negative Bacillus sp., E. coli, and Staphylococcus sp. In the study, it was found that the yarrow essential oil was the most effective against Bacillus cereus, but had no effect on E. coli. It also exhibits antifungal activity against several plant fungi. Before using yarrow for your dog, be aware that yarrow is toxic to dogs when eaten. However, yarrow poisoning is rare. This is because of the plant’s bitter taste and tannins that usually dissuade dogs from eating it.

How Antibiotics Are Used in Dogs

Your vet can prescribe antibiotics as tablets, liquid, ointment, cream, drops, or as an injection. The best type for your dog depends on the location and severity of the infection that they have. For example, your vet might give your pup an antibiotic ointment to treat a nasty ear infection. Your vet will apply this directly to the ear. Similarly, a vet might prescribe your dog antibiotic injections to treat widespread skin infections.

It’s important to follow your vet’s advice closely. Do not be tempted to stop giving your pooch their antibiotics if they seem to feel better. While it may be tempting to do this, giving your pup their full course is very important. This is because stopping the treatment too early often causes the disease-causing bacteria to come back. If you have any doubts about your pet’s treatment, always ask your vet before making any changes to their treatment plan!

What are natural antibiotics for dogs
Stopping treatment may allow the bacteria to come back, causing more illness.

Natural Antibiotics For Dogs: FAQ

Have any more questions or concerns about natural antibiotics for dogs? Feel free to check out our Frequently Asked Questions section for more details. If in doubt about your dog’s health, always ask your vet for advice!

What are the symptoms of a bacterial infection in a dog?

In dogs, bacterial infections in wounds present several symptoms. These include itching, seeping with blood or pus, hair loss, and crusty skin. You might also notice a foul smell coming from the wound if the infection is more severe. It’s important to get to a vet right away if you notice any of these symptoms! An infection will spread rapidly without treatment. It spreads into the deeper tissues under the skin, where it then travels into the blood to other parts of the body. Once the infection spreads, your dog will feel generally unwell and develop a fever. This can lead to sepsis, which is life-threatening.

What do you feed a dog with a bacterial infection?

Do not alter your dog’s diet if they are already receiving treatment for a bacterial infection! Some supplements will interact with your dog’s medicines, potentially making their condition much worse. It’s important to get in touch with your vet before changing anything about your pet’s treatment because of this.

Will antibiotics hurt a dog?

Most dogs cope well with taking antibiotics. However, some will face side effects when taking them. The most common side effects include allergic reactions, stomach irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some pets develop secondary infections like yeast infections. Others may become lethargic and seem off with their food. Be sure to tell your vet right away if your pooch seems unwell on their antibiotics.

What can I give my dog to boost his immune system?

One of the best things to give your dog to boost their immune system is omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation. More recently it was found that DHA-rich fish oil enhances the activity of white blood cells. However, be aware of the potential side effects of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs. These include altered platelet function, impaired wound healing, weight gain, and an upset stomach. It also has the potential to cause insulin sensitivity. As always, it’s best to check in with your vet before giving your pup any new supplements in their diet!

Why does my dog keep getting bacterial skin infections?

Recurring skin infections in dogs usually happen when your dog has an underlying problem. These problems might include skin allergies, autoimmune diseases, or hormonal imbalances. Normally, there are several bacteria living on your dog’s skin – these are commensal bacteria. These bacteria can multiply to unsafe levels, where they may take over breaks in the skin. A dog might also repeatedly get skin infections if their living quarters are unhygienic. Be sure to wash your dog’s bed often, groom them well, and clean up their feces whenever possible. Many dogs suffer from bacterial infections when laying in a wet bed contaminated with feces.

To conclude, natural antibiotics for dogs can be useful for minor scratches and grazes. You can use many of these home remedies to prevent infection in these minor ailments. However, you must always go to your vet before attempting to treat an open wound with “natural” remedies. This is especially important if your dog needs first aid right away.

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