Bacterial infections are relatively common in dogs. Fortunately, most bacterial infections are easy to treat with the help of a good antibiotic.
There are a variety of canine antibiotics available, and they all combat bacterial infections in different ways. Today, we’re going to talk about Clavamox — one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for dogs.
We’ll explain what Clavamox is, what types of infections it is used to treat, and how it’s administered. We’ll also point out some of the side effects that are common with this medication and the typical dosages most vets recommend. We’ll even tell you where you can buy Clavamox if your dog is currently suffering from an infection!
What Is Clavamox For Dogs?
Clavamox is a name brand canine antibiotic that is also known by the International Nonproprietary Name (generic name) amoxicillin/clavulanic acid. Across the pond, our friends who drive on the left side of the road call it co-amoxiclav. Clavamox is manufactured by Zoetis and designed specifically for dogs and cats.
However, the medication was originally designed for use in humans and became FDA-approved in 1984. It is available for humans under a variety of name brands, including Augmentin and Clavulin, as well as generic forms.
Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid is a very commonly prescribed medication, and the World Health Organization (WHO) includes it on their list of essential medications.
The medicine is primarily comprised of amoxicillin – a close relative of penicillin – and potassium clavulanate. In humans, the medication can be given via an oral tablet or IV injection; meanwhile, Clavamox is available in two pet-friendly forms: chewable tablets and an oral liquid suspension.
What is Clavamox Used for in Dogs?
Clavamox is effective for treating a wide variety of bacterial infections – that’s a significant part of the medication’s appeal. In fact, it is the #1 prescribed veterinary antibiotic, according to Zoetis.
Clavamox is effective against infections caused by aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, including gram-positive and gram-negative strains. It is effective against Staphylococcus strains, Streptococcus strains, E. coli strains, and Klebsiella. It is not, however, effective for treating Pseudomonas.
Part of the reason it is effective for treating so many different types of bacterial infections is that it not only contains amoxicillin (which itself is a broad-spectrum antibiotic), but also clavulanic acid, which offers additional antimicrobial value.
In practice, Clavamox is sometimes prescribed to treat:
- Skin infections
- Kennel cough
- Periodontal disease
- Gum and tooth infections
It is also used to treat bladder infections in cats.
Clavamox Side Effects in Dogs
Clavamox is generally considered safe, but it can cause a number of side effects.
The most common side effects involve relatively minor gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite. This is part of the reason vets often encourage owners to administer the medication with food, and some also recommend starting a course of probiotics..
Other side effects can occur in dogs who are allergic to the medication. These include things like hives and facial swelling, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, rash, and seizures. Contact your vet immediately if your dog begins exhibiting any of these symptoms.
Clavamox Dosage For Dogs
You should always administer the dosage your vet recommends, but typically, Clavamox is administered at the following rates:
- Oral liquid preparations are usually administered at a rate of 1 milliliter per 10 pounds of your pet’s body weight.
- Chewable tablets are usually administered at a rate of 6.25 milligrams per pound of body weight.
The medication is usually given every 12 hours. Your vet will likely instruct you to administer the drug for five to seven days, or until symptoms have been absent for 48 hours (treatment for skin infections may take longer – up to three weeks in some cases).
Always continue to administer antibiotics to your pet until your vet advises you to stop. Prematurely stopping antibiotic regimens can lead to antibiotic resistance and put your pet (and everybody else’s pet) in danger.
Contraindications: Canines Who Should Not Take Clavamox
Despite being a safe and effective drug, Clavamox is not appropriate for all dogs. For example, you’ll want to make sure that your vet knows if your pup is currently taking other forms of penicillin, erythromycin, tetracycline, or chloramphenicol.
It’s also important to let your vet know if your dog is taking antacids regularly, as these may reduce the efficacy of Clavamox. Clavamox is not considered safe for use in pregnant or lactating females, so be sure to let your vet know if either of these criteria applies to your pet.
Stay Safe: Don’t Make Yourself Sick
Clavamox can trigger reactions in people who are allergic to penicillin (or any of its close chemical cousins). People allergic to cephalosporins may also experience allergic reactions to Clavamox.
Penicillin allergies are somewhat common. Some authorities – such as the Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology – report that between 1% and 10% of all people have such an allergy. However, they also report that penicillin allergies often go away with time, so even if you were allergic to the drug as a child, you may not be allergic anymore.
In any case, people with known penicillin allergies should avoid touching Clavamox, at least until speaking with your doctor about the risks it may present.
Additionally, stop handling Clavamox tablets if they cause itchy, red, or inflamed skin. If you start experiencing shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or facial swelling, seek immediate medical attention.
Where to Buy Clavamox For Dogs Online
Most people will obtain Clavamox directly from their vet, but there are a few online retailers who also sell the medication.
Often, you’ll be able to save a bit of money by purchasing your dog’s Clavamox in this way. We think Chewy.com is one of the best places to do so. On their site, you can find two different preparations of the drug:
Clavamox Oral Suspension
Clavamox Oral Suspension is an easy-to-administer liquid medication, which you can simply add to your pet’s food. This bottle contains 15 milliliters of medication, and it comes with a handy eye-dropper, which makes the medication easy to dose accurately.
Clavamox Chewable Tablets
Clavamox Chewable Tablets are made in solid form, and you can simply give them to your dog like a treat. These tablets are sold individually, so you can simply purchase as many as you’ll need based on your vet’s instructions.
Most dogs will accept these pills voluntarily, but they can also be hidden in pill pockets, along with other sneaky canine medicine-administering hacks, if your dog doesn’t like the taste. You can also just add one of the pills to your dog’s kibble.
Note that you’ll still need to obtain a prescription from your vet to order Clavamox online – you’ll simply need to provide contact info for your vet, and Chewy’s staff will verify the prescription before shipping out the medication.
Tablets or Liquid: Which Clavamox Is Right for Your Dog?
Unless your vet specifically recommends one form of Clavamox over the other, you can use whichever works best for you and your pooch. They both contain exactly the same medications and work equally well.
Often, it is necessary to select the type that is easiest to conceal in treats or food, but that isn’t a very big problem with Clavamox. Most dogs will find the chewables palatable, and the liquid drops are easy to add to food, so your dog won’t even notice that he’s taking his medicine.
However, the liquid suspension form does present some problems. For starters, it is typically much more expensive than the tablets, and you must remember to shake it before every use to ensure proper dosing. For that matter, the liquid version requires refrigeration and only lasts 10 days before it needs to be discarded.
Nevertheless, simply discuss the issue with your vet so you can make the best choice for you and your pet.
Clavamox for Dogs FAQs
Your vet will tell you everything you need to know about giving your dog Clavamox, and you should always ask as many questions as necessary to make sure you understand how to safely administer the medication to your dog.
However, the sheer volume of information provided during a typical vet visit overwhelms some owners. This can make it hard for owners to remember some of the information provided. It doesn’t help that most of the literature and instructions that come with medications is written in what may as well be a foreign language.
But don’t worry – we’ll answer some of the most common questions owners have about Clavamox below.
How quickly does Clavamox work in dogs?
Clavamox may clear an infection in as little as three or four days, but you should always administer all of the medication provided – even if your pet starts to feel better.
Generally, Clavamox is prescribed for at least 5 to 7 days, and many vets recommend that owners administer it over 10 days or more.
Can I stop giving my dog Clavamox if he gets better?
Never stop administering an antibiotic unless your vet instructs you to do so. Stopping early can cause the infection to resurface, and the new bacterial strains will often be resistant to Clavamox and other first-line antibiotics.
Can I get Clavamox without a vet prescription?
Legally, you need a veterinary prescription to purchase Clavamox. That doesn’t mean you have to purchase the medication from your vet, but retailers must verify that you have a prescription before selling it to you.
This may be frustrating to some owners, but because of the serious – even existential – threat that antibiotic resistance represents, it is vital that antibiotics are only prescribed in appropriate circumstances.
You may be able to find unscrupulous retailers willing to sell Clavamox without a prescription, but you should refrain from purchasing medications from such sites. If they’re willing to break the law in this manner, who knows what other laws and regulations they’re breaking.
For that matter, you have to wonder where these types of retailers obtain their medications in the first place.
Is Clavamox safe for dogs?
Generally speaking, yes, Clavamox is safe for dogs. Clavamox has been used for more than 30 years, and it is generally well-tolerated by dogs.
Some will experience minor intestinal side effects and a small number of dogs end up being allergic to the drug, but the same can be said of almost every medication. Additionally, it should not be given to pregnant or lactating females.
How can I get my dog to take Clavamox?
Unlike many other medications, Clavamox is usually easy to administer to dogs. The liquid formulation can be added to your dog’s food, and most of the chewable tablets feature flavors that dogs love.
In fact, Zoetis reports an 83% overall voluntary acceptance rate – meaning that 83% of 112 dogs studied would accept the tablets directly from an open hand or empty food bowl.
Can Clavamox cause constipation or diarrhea in dogs?
Yes. While Clavamox is typically well-tolerated by dogs, it frequently causes minor intestinal upset. This is usually no cause for concern, and your pet’s stomach should settle down after completing the antibiotic regimen.
However, if your dog experiences severe diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting, be sure to notify your vet.
Can Clavamox be used for puppies?
Yes. Clavamox does not have a minimum age requirement, and vets often prescribe it for young puppies dealing with bacterial infections.
How do you store Clavamox?
Clavamox must be stored properly until use for maximum efficacy. Both types should be kept in a dark place (such as a cabinet), and the liquid form must be refrigerated.
Be sure not to open the foil packets used with the chewables until you are ready to give the medicine to your pet. If you ever notice that either formulation has become discolored, contact your vet and follow the advice provided.
Why do you need a prescription for Clavamox?
There are a variety of reasons that Clavamox requires a prescription.
For starters, while Clavamox is generally considered safe, it can cause health problems for some dogs. It can also interact with other medications, so you’ll need to discuss any other drugs your pet is taking before starting a regimen of Clavamox.
Additionally, you’ll find that most antibiotics require a prescription. This is because the improper use of antibiotics can allow antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains to develop. These strains can represent a very serious threat, and they could ultimately make it impossible for vets to treat bacterial infections.
Note that many bacteria are capable of sharing genetic information with other types of bacteria. This means that if a bacterial strain that normally affects dogs becomes resistant to Clavamox, it could conceivably confer this resistance to bacteria that sicken humans.
Clavamox is a very valuable antibiotic that helps keep our dogs healthy and symptom-free. And while you never want your dog to come down with an infection, it is nice to know that there are such effective medications available.
Has your vet ever prescribed Clavamox for your pet? Tell us about your experiences! Was it effective for treating your dog’s infection? Did it trigger any side effects? Let us know in the comments below.