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Medicating puppies

When it comes to administering medication, the age of your dog can affect the dosage. As a dog breeder, it is important to understand the differences between dosing for puppies versus adult dogs. While the dosages may be similar, there are some key differences that you should be aware of.

It’s common for breeders to do a lot of things at home the average pet owner would use a veterinarian for. Assuming the breeder knows what they are doing so as not to endanger their dogs or puppies and are not violating any laws, there’s nothing wrong with this.

Breeders also often have on hand medications they may want to use for their puppies. Again, as long as breeders are working within a legal and knowledgeable framework, this is fine.

Puppies are NOT small dogs

But it’s important to note that dosing for puppies (versus adults) is different.

Puppies have

  • Lower body fat

  • Higher water content in their bodies

  • Lower ability for their livers and kidneys to clear medications, toxins, and metabolites

  • Reduced albumin

  • Immature digestive systems that can absorb medications differently that adults

The difference in dosing drugs for puppies versus adult dogs is that puppies have not fully developed their metabolic and excretory systems, which means they may have different reactions to drugs than adult dogs.

Additionally, puppies have a higher growth rate and different body weight and composition, which can affect the way drugs are metabolized and excreted.

Drug dosages for puppies are very different and your puppies should be dosed by a veterinarian to ensure you are using a dose that is both effective and not damaging to their developing bodies. Some medications are

  • Not recommended for puppies at all

  • Given at an adult dose but with a different frequency (not as often)

  • Given to puppies at lower doses


I want to make a special not about antibiotics. We are seeing increasing resistance to antibiotics. And when we dose puppies with antibiotics we are favoring bacteria in their microbiome that harbor antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance can also be spread by some bacteria to other bacteria.

Additionally, overuse of antibiotics can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, leading to digestive problems such as diarrhea.

Absolutely use antibiotics if you need to. But use them ONLY when needed or they may not work when you need them most.

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