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Metronidazole for Dogs – What You Should Know

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When dogs experience diarrhea, they are often treated with antibiotics. Metronidazole for dogs is one of the drugs in this category to treat upset stomachs in our canine friends. However, infections can occur in any part of the body, including the eyes, skin, ears, lungs, intestine, urinary tracts, and other organs. Metronidazole works against certain bacteria to eliminate diarrhea in dogs. 

Happy Garden will discuss the most common uses of this drug. 

What is Metronidazole? 

Metronidazole is a synthetic antibiotic called Flagyl that comes in pills and liquid suspensions. This drug is highly effective against active pathogens of protozoal infections and anaerobic bacteria. 

General Info About Metronidazole 

The drug contains the active ingredient of the same name – Metronidazole. It kills most protozoa (parasites), including: 

  • Trichomonas; 
  • Giardia;
  • Balantidium coli

In addition, it is active against anaerobic pathogenic bacteria: these are microorganisms that don’t need oxygen to survive and reproduce. 

Important! Metronidazole isn’t active against pathogenic fungi and viral (that cause cold) types of bacteria, so it can’t be used for self-medication. Only a veterinarian can diagnose the type of pathogen. 

Metronidazole quickly spreads throughout the animal’s bloodstream and reaches its maximum concentration in plasma within an hour. The therapeutic effect lasts up to a day. Metronidazole is accumulated in the liver and excreted from the body within 24 hours. 

When is Metronidazole for Dogs Prescribed?

Given the selective effect of the active ingredient on protozoa and some types of bacteria, Metronidazole is used to treat the following infectious diseases in dogs:

  • Infections caused by anaerobic bacteria;
  • Post-surgery secondary infections;
  • Cancerous tumors;
  • Necrotic mastitis;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Giardiasis;
  • Ulcerative gingivitis;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Before deciding on a treatment regimen, a veterinarian determines the type of pathogen and prescribes Metronidazole.

Metronidazole for Dogs With Anaerobic Infections

This type of pathology is also called gas gangrene or malignant edema, which occurs in bruised, torn, and crushed deep wounds. This type of damage requires prompt treatment in the veterinary clinic.

A severe infectious process develops in tissues due to the activity of pathogenic microorganisms that don’t need oxygen to reproduce. Pathology is accompanied by rapid tissue necrosis without any signs of the inflammatory process.

Symptoms of anaerobic infection

  • Pain syndrome;
  • Fever;
  • Swelling of the affected area;
  • Thrombosis;
  • Purulent discharge from the wound;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Symptoms of depression.

Anaerobic infection can be acute, divided into gas, edematous, or mixed. In any scenario, treatment requires antibacterial drugs that can cope with the pathogen. Metronidazole proved to be very effective.

Metronidazole for Dogs with Giardiasis

This parasitic disease is common for pets, caused by the simplest microorganisms – Lamblia. The disease often affects dogs without visible signs. It is even more dangerous because giardiasis can be transmitted to humans.

The parasitic invasion is accompanied by damage to the small intestine, manifested as allergic, neurological, and dermatological symptoms. The complexity of treatment lies in the fact that the pathology is similar in signs to other diseases, including:

  • Dysbacteriosis (excessive growth of intestinal microflora);
  • Dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • Food digestion and absorption disorders;
  • Hypervitaminosis;
  • Atopic dermatitis and others.

The risk of infection in domestic dogs is 10%, and almost 100% in shelter dogs. The pathology is not easy to identify, it is even more difficult to control relapses, and there is no guarantee of a complete cure.

Metronidazole for Dogs with Gingivitis

Metronidazole is used to treat a common condition in dogs known as gingivitis. This is an inflammatory process of the gums, which occurs due to improper oral hygiene and feeding. Food particles accumulate between the teeth, contributing to the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

Dogs love to chew on hard objects that cause small cracks in their gums. Through them, bacteria enter the gum, forming a dense plaque. Then it mineralizes, shifts the gum tissues, and leads to the formation of specific “pockets” where pyogenic bacteria replicate.

These are the following signs of the disease:

  • Bad smell from the mouth;
  • Swelling of the gums;
  • Redness of soft tissues (hyperemia);
  • Bleeding;
  • The appearance of ulcers on the gums;
  • Purulent discharge from the gums when pressed;
  • Sore gums and others.

Because of the pain, the dog refuses food. Consequently, the digestion process is disturbed, and increased salivation is observed. That is why it’s critical to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible. A dog may develop liver and kidney dysfunctions in the absence of treatment. 


As directed by a veterinarian, Metronidazole pills are best administered with food. The doctor will set up an individual regiment, considering the diagnosis, the severity of the disease, and the dog’s condition.

The standard dose ranges between 10mg to 30mg per 1 kg of the pet’s body weight. The daily dose should be divided into two doses: the morning and the evening. 

The veterinarian will determine the duration of the treatment. The typical duration is five or seven days.

  • In case of protozoal invasions – twice a day, 20 mg / 1 kg of body weight;
  • In case of diarrhea, colitis – 10-20 mg / 1 kg.


Restrictions to the use of Metronidazole for dogs are individual hypersensitivity and pregnancy. In the doses recommended by a veterinarian, the medication is safe. However, if your dog develops an allergic reaction, you should immediately contact the veterinarian.

When treating with Metronidazole, dietary restrictions should be observed: you can give meat to your furry pet only 5 days after the end of the treatment.

Metronidazole Side Effects in Dogs

When given as prescribed by a vet, Metronidazole is generally safe. However, your dog may show the following mild side effects: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Lethargy

On rare occasions, Metronidazole can be harmful to the central nervous system and liver. Severe adverse effects are more likely to be triggered with long-treatment or high doses. Talk to your veterinarian right away if your dog develops any symptoms of toxicity: 

  • Weakness or difficulty walking
  • Involuntary eyeballs movement
  • Disorientation 
  • Head tilt or seizures 
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Eyes or skin turned yellow

If your dog is taking cimetidine, phenobarbital, warfarin, or seizure medications, consult your vet to avoid adverse effects from drug interaction. 

Are There Other Treatments for Dogs with Diarrhea?

If your dog suffers diarrhea due to bacterial infection, the standard treatment would be antibiotics, and Metronidazole for dogs is one of them. Yet, there can be other causes of diarrhea in dogs that may not need an antibiotic. 

Many pet owners find CBD helpful in treating diarrhea in their dogs. Cannabidiol is known to have anti-inflammatory properties that have a therapeutic effect. It can relieve stress and reduce seizures in dogs. Happy Garden natural CBD products for pets are often used as supportive and sometimes as primary treatment for specific health conditions.

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