Baytril for Dogs and Cats

Avatar photo

Published by Dr. Catharina Hjorth

Updated on

I Love Veterinary blog is reader-supported, and we may earn a commission from products purchased through links on this page, at no additional cost to you. Learn more About Us and our Product Review Process >

Using Baytril for Dogs and Cats 

Baytril is a type of antibiotic called Enrofloxacin. It is used to treat bacterial infections in pets. Enrofloxacin for cats and dogs works on both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterias. 

Earlier, some of these were nearly impossible to treat, but with Baytril, it is possible, especially when it comes to skin- and ear infections. 

Dog with ear infection - I Love Veterinary

How Does Baytril Work?

Baytril for dogs and cats is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that works on many different bacterias and even fungi types. Some of these includes: 

  • E. Coli 
  • Salmonella 
  • Pseudomonas 
  • Staphylococcus 
  • Mycoplasma 

Baytril (Enrofloxacin) works by inhibiting an enzyme’s function (DNA-gyrase) within the bacterial cells. This effect stops the process of DNA synthesis in the bacteria and results in cell death, meaning it is bactericidal. 

The effect of Enrofloxacin is concentration-dependent, which means that a higher dosage of Enrofloxacin will mean a faster working treatment. Studies show that bacteria cell death occurs within 30 minutes of exposure to the enrofloxacin. A maximum serum concentration is reached 2 hours after oral ingestion. 

Illustration of Salmonella - I Love Veterinary

How is Enrofloxacin Administered?

Baytril can be given to any adult dog and cat and even off label to reptiles. It is most commonly administered to treat infections in the skin and ears, especially in cats. It can also treat infections in the urinary- and gastrointestinal tract, the lungs, and the liver. 

Baytril is administered either as an injection or as tablets. With tablets being the most common form. Injections or intravenous drips can only be issued at a clinic or hospital under veterinarian supervision. 

(Fun fact: Enrofloxacin for calves is administered as a suspension they can drink! Albeit in much bigger volumes) 

The dosage for Baytril for dogs and cats depends on the animal and the infection, but standard dosages are: 

  • Enrofloxacin dosage for dogs: 5mg/kg 5-10 days once a day.
  • Enrofloxacin dosage for cats: 5mg/kg 5 days once a day. 

If you’re wondering about how long Baytril stays in the dog’s system and whether it will be long enough to work, you shouldn’t worry. Therapeutic concentrations will remain in the blood for 24 hours, so a new pill should be administered every day. Visible effects are seen after a few days. 

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember. However, if you are close to the next dose, skip the one you missed. Never give your pet two doses at once or extra amounts. It will not make the medication work faster and can be a severe health hazard. 

In the end, your pet’s best chances with Baytril is if you consult a veterinarian, as owners should always do before giving their dog or cat any kind of drug. A veterinarian will be able to ensure that your pet recovers as fast as possible! 

Baytril in a bottle - I Love Veterinary

Side Effects and Drug Reactions

As with all types of medication, there are some side effects to taking Baytril. The most common Enrofloxacin side effect is gastrointestinal effects. These include vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia (lack of appetite). These are often mild, self-limiting, and will conclude when the course of antibiotics is over. 

Some animals can have allergic reactions to the medication or start forming urinary crystals. 

In some rare cases, there are neurological side effects documented. These included ataxia (uncoordinated walking), seizures, nervousness, and depression. These side effects are only seen in dogs. 

In a few cases, there have been reports of eye damage and blindness in cats where they have received too high a dosage of Enrofloxacin. 

Cat and vet close up - I Love Veterinary

Most severe Baytril side effects occur due to improper dosing, which is why a veterinarian should always oversee the treatment. You should also always contact your vet if your animal is experiencing any severe side effects or if they persist. 

Use Baytril with caution in animals with seizure disorders, kidney- or liver diseases. 

Baytril can, in theory, be administered to breeding, pregnant, or nursing dogs. However, it has been shown to affect cartilage, and use in pregnant queens should be with caution. 

Baytril can react with other types of medication. Enrofloxacin should be used with caution when given with these types of drugs or products: 

  • Antacids 
  • Dairy products 
  • Other antibiotics 
  • Iron and zincs 

How can Side Effects be Prevented?

Side effects can happen to all animals, but that doesn’t mean that all will experience any notable side effects at all! There are a few things you can do to try and prevent side effects from occurring. 

Inform your vet 

The best way to prevent side effects is to be honest with your veterinarian. Inform him or her about any drugs or supplements your dog or cat may be receiving. This includes, but isn’t limited to, medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, oils, and anything out of the ordinary (dog food and dog treats). 

Also, discuss any prior health issues with your veterinarian, as some of these may affect the efficacy of Enrofloxacin or your pet’s overall health. 

Follow the treatment plan

Most serious side effects occur due to overdosage of Enrofloxacin. Although Enrofloxacin is a concentration-dependent antibiotic, it doesn’t mean “the more, the merrier.” Too many antibiotics can have serious consequences for your pet’s health and wellbeing. 

If you mistakenly give your pet too much of the medication, immediately call your local emergency veterinary services. 

Together, you and your vet can have your dog or cat back on its feet in no time, but it takes all hands on deck!  

Vet on the phone at vet clinic - I Love Veterinary

When Not to Give Baytril to Dogs and Cats

As Baytril interacts with several organs within the body, some animals should not receive it, as it may worsen existing conditions. These includes: 

  • Dogs and cats with reduced kidney function. 
  • Dogs with epilepsy (seizures). 
  • Puppies or growing young dogs.
  • Small dogs below eight months of age. 

Enrofloxacin also shouldn’t be used in cases where the type of bacteria has not been determined. To avoid antibiotic-resistant bacteria to flourish, it is essential always to use the correct antibiotic. 

Enrofloxacin also shouldn’t be administered in cases where a virus is causing the disease — as for the same reasons mentioned above, giving antibiotics without good cause and motivation can lead to increased resistance amongst bacteria. An issue that, in the future, can become a genuine health risk for us humans as well as our furry friends! 


Baytril for dogs and cats is an excellent medication for our best four-legged friends and can be used to treat infections get them back on their feet. As with all types of drugs, there are some side effects from using Baytril, but luckily these are rare and often mild. So don’t worry, if your veterinarian has prescribed Enrofloxacin, your pet will hopefully be fit as a fiddle in no time!

Sharing is caring!

Avatar photo


With a veterinary master's degree from the University of Copenhagen in 2023, this accomplished writer's academic journey culminated in a thesis focused on the "Feasibility of using ultrasound of the abdomen for early diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis in neonatal pigs." Additionally, their dissertation delved into the intriguing topic of "Mercury accumulation in Greenlandic sleddogs." Beyond her academic achievements, her passion for animal health seamlessly merges with her love for writing. She excels in harmonizing clinical precision with literary expression, crafting articles that resonate with the heartbeat of her veterinary profession.


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Drop your email below to join I Love Veterinary squad and enjoy regular news, updates, exclusive content, new arrivals and more!