How Antibiotics Interact with your Dog's Gut

How Antibiotics Interact with your Dog's Gut

About 2,500 years ago, Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said, "All disease begins in the gut."  Every time our dogs eat, drink, takes a medication or vaccine and is exposed to toxins, we are either helping them to fight disease or feed it. If disease begins in the gut, so does health. And there are lots of things you can do to keep your dog's microbiome healthy.  Keep reading. 

A healthy microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses that coexist symbiotically and peacefully without causing sickness.

Imbalances in the microbiome cause sickness and symptoms to present themselves.  These symptoms are nature's way of trying to restore this balance.  When there are a bunch of imbalances in the microbiome, the immune system is kicked into overdrive and gets stuck.  When the immune system gets stuck, conventional veterinary medicine will treat with antibiotics, which should only be used in life-saving situations.  

Antibiotics are designed to kill off bacteria, but they don't just target the bad bacteria, they kill off the good bacteria and neutral bacteria as well.  Again, this is crucial in life-saving situations.  Antibiotics have no effect on viral infections,   

When your dog gets sick, something caused an imbalance in the gut.  Often times antibiotics are prescribed, which are designed to kill off all bacteria in their microbiomes including bacteria that is bad, good and neutral/non-disease causing to take out the organism that is causing the sickness.  They have no effect on viral infections and vets will prescribe even if they don't have proof that bacterial infections are present.  

When your dog has taken too many antibiotics, the result is antibiotic resistance and disease.  In humans the gut microbiome becomes disrupted due to   "infectious illnesses, certain diets, or the prolonged use of antibiotics or other bacteria-destroying medications—dysbiosis occurs, stopping these normal interactions. As a result, the body may become more susceptible to disease" (Source: Harvard School of Public Health).  The same is true for our dogs. 

"According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Associationas much as 50% of antibiotic use is unnecessary" (Read more here).  Again, the same is true for our dogs.  So not only are you spending money that you shouldn't be spending, you are risking potential long-term side effects that your dog can suffer from.

When a dog consumes antibiotics too many times, the antibiotics become less and less effective as the germs and bacteria that caused the illness mutate and develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.  Even the CDC says that resistance infections can be difficult, and sometimes "impossible to treat."    

Unfortunately, antibiotic resistance is quite common, especially if your dog has been to the vet a bunch of times for typical ailments, like an ear infection or runny nose.  Common antibiotics include Amoxicillin, Clavamox, Penicillin etc and consuming too much of it results in s a super-charged bug, like staph infections, that becomes even harder for the immune system to fight off.  

Symptoms of antibiotic resistance could present in the form of GI issues, skin issues, allergies, other autoimmune disease, joint problems and even cancer and can cause significant nutrient deficiencies and vitamin depletion including  vitamins "B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, K, Inositol and Magnesium" and has been linked to a host of health problems including: 

  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Behavioral changes
  • Poor wound healing
  • Allergies
  • Weakened immune health
  • Oxidative stress
  • Nerve degeneration
  • Yeast
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Leaky gut

(Source: Dogs Naturally)


Since antibiotics have been used for 50+ years, the soil has become more and more depleted over the last 50 years, is it possible that the fungus used to make antibiotics cause sickness itself? We think it is absolutely possible that antibiotics are bioaccumulating in dogs as well.  Meaning the more antibiotics that are taken, the more and more they become entrenched into cells, organs and organ systems potentially causing hormone disruption and a compromised gut microbiome from birth. 

So if your dog has taken a bunch of antibiotics, one of the best things to do is give a high quality probiotic and add plain kefir or plain yogurt to his or her diet. Probiotics work by helping to maintain and restore a healthy balance of bacteria in your dog's gut microbiome.  Other additional health benefits of a daily probiotic include improved skin and coat quality, less gas, better breath, fewer allergies and yeast issues and improvement in bowel regularity and consistency.  Feeding a high quality diet that is minimally processed, high in protein and contains vegetables and fruit will help to keep your dog's microbiome balanced and healthy. 

If you need some guidance on what to feed your dog, please click here to learn more. If your dog is sick and you need some guidance on helping them feel better, please visit Bobzilla's Happy, Healthy Life Made Simple. 




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