Yes, antibiotics can affect a dog’s behavior. However, this is usually only the case if the dog is already sick or the antibiotics are not adequately used. Antibiotics are rarely associated with anxiety and depression in canines. According to Micah Coyle from K9 Rocks, you have 15 different natural antibiotics to use at different occasions.


Can antibiotics affect a dog’s behavior?

  1. 1)      Antibiotics in Dogs
  2. 2)      Resistance-associated Aggression
  3. 3)      Allergy-associated Aggression
  4. 4)      Microbiome-associated Aggression
  5. 5)      Behavioral Effects

1)     Antibiotics in Dogs

Antibiotics are a group of drugs used to treat bacterial infections. You can give orally or by injection, depending on the disease and which body part they target. Therefore, antibiotics may be prescribed for many reasons, including:

  • õ  Disease (bacterial infection)
  • õ  Infections with other bacteria or viruses
  • õ  Preventative care (to guard against disease)
  • õ  Inflammation and irritation from allergic reactions to foods or environmental allergens

However, antibiotics can also cause problems when used incorrectly or inappropriately. Dogs’ most common antibiotic-associated side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Although, these side effects are usually not life-threatening. If you notice any behavioral changes in your dog, talk to the veterinarian about it.

2)     Resistance-associated Aggression

Antibiotic resistance is the most concerning the effect of antibiotics in dogs. These are an effective way to treat infections. Moreover, these can have harmful effects when overused. An estimated 70% of all antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. Veterinarians prescribe many antibiotics for viral infections.

The most common cause is the overuse of antibiotics by owners and veterinarians. The prescription drugs offer the best protection against infection. These also have the potential to cause resistance by killing off the good bacteria in GIT tract. Moreover, resistance occurs when bacteria develop mutations. Hence, it makes bacteria harder for antibiotics to kill them. So, it can cause behavior changes due to the ineffectiveness of antibiotics.

3)     Allergy-associated Aggression

The most common allergic reaction to antibiotics is anaphylaxis.  It is a life-threatening condition if left untreated. Other types of allergic reactions include skin irritations, rashes, and itching. Yet, dogs may exhibit aggressive behavior when having an allergic reaction to antibiotics. Aggression induced by antibiotics is most observed in dogs suffering from nervous disorders.

Besides, most dogs do not exhibit any aggression due to the antibiotics. If your dog starts showing aggressive behavior, it may be due to intolerance to allergies. If your dog is having difficulty breathing, the aggression is a response to the distress. Therefore, try not to understand things on your own. So, visit a veterinarian if any significant changes are causing concern.

4)     Microbiome-associated Aggression

A healthy Microbiome is essential for promoting health and wellness. But, some antibiotics can change this Microbiome by killing off beneficial bacteria. By creating an imbalance that is hard to get back on track without intervention (i.e., probiotics). Thus, many dogs will experience upset stomachs after receiving an antibiotic. The primary reason is usually due to changes in their digestive flora. It is due to antibiotic treatment, especially long-term use (a week or two).

Long-term use of antibiotics destroys the healthy bacteria in your pet’s body. Healthy bacteria help to maintain normal gut health. When antibiotics kill these bacteria, it can lead to an imbalance in the gut microbes. This unbalance increases the risk of disease and behavioral problems. So, these are aggression, anxiety, and depression.

5)     Behavioral Effects

Antibiotics are an essential part of your dog’s health care regimen. But this treatment has potential issues. Antibiotics can change your dog’s behavior.

Some antibiotics can cause depression. Other antibiotics may cause changes in behavior. These changes include decreased activity and aggression. Some drugs may make your dog more anxious or agitated. Therefore, these drugs often treat infections that affect the brain or spinal cord.

Some dogs will become less focused. However, they also even suffer from lethargy shortly after taking an antibiotic. Hence, it can also make them more likely to bark or howl at night or during the day when they’re not expecting visitors. {{{8}}}

Can antibiotics cause neurological problems in dogs?

Yes, antibiotics can cause neurological problems in dogs. Your pet may become more hyperactive or less active due to the medication. Make sure you watch their behavior for changes in personality or behavior patterns.


These are a class of drugs that can use to treat bacterial infections. They are also used as a prophylactic against certain diseases. Fluoroquinolones can cause seizures in dogs. The mechanism of action is that the drug alters the impulse activity in the brain. Since, it can lead to seizures. If your dog takes these antibiotics, you should aware of the potential for seizures. You should watch for any signs or symptoms. If your furry friend does have a seizure, must need to seek veterinary care immediately.


It is an antibiotic used to treat various infections in dogs. However, metronidazole can also cause neurological problems in dogs, including seizures, incoordination, and weakness. If your dog takes metronidazole, watch for any signs of neurological problems and talk to your veterinarian for any concerns.

A study was conducted in 2018 to check the metronidazole toxicity. Thirty-six dogs were identified with signs of metronidazole toxicity, and their ages ranged from 0.1 to 12 years old. The median treatment duration was 35 days, and the median dosage was 21 mg/kg BID (range, 13-56 mg/kg every 12 h). The resolution of the clinical signs upon discontinuation of metronidazole was 3 days (range, 1-26 days). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed in 19 cases and one dog had brain lesions affecting the dentate nuclei that resembled the MRI appearance of this disease in humans.

This study found evidence of neurotoxicity in dogs at much lower doses than previous one. The author suggests caution when administering metronidazole at doses rate of greater than 40 mg/kg after every 24 hours.

Procaine Penicillin G

It is a medication that can cause neurological problems in dogs. The symptoms may include seizures, tremors, and incoordination. Moreover, seizures are reported when large doses of procaine, a local anesthetic, are administered intravenously.

Antibiotic-induced seizures are relatively easy to treat. Just stop the medication, ensure you have intravenous access, and administer Valium (Diazepam).

Can antibiotics cause behavior problems?

Yes, antibiotics can cause behavior problems. However, overuse and wrong prescription of antibiotics can lead to canine behavior problems. Antibiotics can alter the average balance of bacteria in the gut. It can lead to gastrointestinal issues and inflammation. Therefore, it can lead to increased anxiety, nervousness, aggression, and other behavioral problems. If your dog is taking antibiotics, need to check its behavior closely. You should consult your veterinarian if you notice any changes.














Doctor Xeeshan

Doctor Xeeshan

I am Doctor Xeeshan, located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. In this blog, I am providing authentic information about dog breeds, diseases, medications, etc.


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