What Antibiotics Are Used for Dog Bites?

By K. Lynn Wallace

Dog bites are a common injury that often result in infection due to the bacteria and viruses that dogs carry in their saliva. If you suffer a dog bite, consult with a doctor and be conscious of the risk of infection. Antibiotics are commonly used to treat dog bites, and a doctor can advise you on methods of preventing and treating infection.

Preventive Antibiotics

Depending on the severity of the dog bite, you may be prescribed antibiotics before you exhibit symptoms of an infection in order to prevent it. Discuss this option with your doctor if you are concerned about infection.


If your wound begins to show signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pain or discharge, you will likely be prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection. It is important to consult a doctor if your wound begins showing signs of infection.


Orally administered amoxicillin is the drug most commonly used to treat infections that result from dog bites. Amoxicillin will be effective against most infections likely to occur from a dog bite.


Penicillin, ampicillin and other simple antibiotics are unlikely to be effective against a large number of infections likely to occur from a dog bite.

Other Drugs

Doxycycline, erythromycin, clindamycin and fluoroquinolone may also be used to treat infections resulting from dog bites. These drugs are normally prescribed when a patient is allergic to amoxicillin.


If you are prescribed antibiotics to prevent an infection, you will likely be advised to take the medication for seven days. If you are prescribed antibiotics once signs of an infection are present, you will likely take the medication for as little as 10 days or as long as two weeks.