How to Treat Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease is a tickborne illness that can affect both dogs and humans. Learn about the signs of Lyme disease, how it’s diagnosed, and treatment options.

Will my dog be treated with antibiotics?

The majority of dogs are treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are an effective treatment for Lyme disease and can be used to prevent the disease in dogs that have been bitten by a tick or have been exposed to ticks.

If your vet decides to use antibiotics, they will evaluate your dog’s medical history, symptoms, and test results before making a treatment plan. Your dog’s specific situation will determine whether they need an antibiotic or not (or which one).

How will I know if my dog is having an adverse reaction to the medication?

It’s possible that your pet may experience an adverse reaction to the medication. Some common signs of an adverse reaction include:

  • Increased pruritus (itching)
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Lethargy or depression

If your dog experiences these symptoms, consult with your veterinarian about other treatment options. If you suspect that the medication is not working or causing an adverse reaction, discontinue use and contact your veterinarian immediately for advice on alternative remedies.

What if my dog has another tick borne disease?

It’s very possible that your dog has more than one tick borne disease. If you’ve noticed symptoms of Lyme, Babesia or Ehrlichia in your dog and they’ve been diagnosed with Lyme disease, it’s important to treat all three tick borne diseases at once. The best way to do this is by using a combination of antibiotics. However, the combination will be determined by your veterinarian and may include different antibiotics for each condition if necessary.

What will my vet do to monitor progress?

As you follow the treatment plan, your veterinarian will want to monitor progress. They may do regular blood tests and urine tests to check for any signs of inflammation or infection. They’ll also ask you to do regular checks on your dog: see if their appetite has improved or if they seem more energetic. You can play with them to see how their mobility has improved over the course of treatment.

If things are going well, then yay! Your vet wants to keep an eye on things so that they know when it’s time to stop treatment (if there is a time limit). If something doesn’t go as planned—like they get worse instead of better—then you can talk about what went wrong and figure out what else might help them feel better faster.

When can I stop worrying that my dog will get tick borne disease again?

While Lyme disease is treatable, it is important to follow your vet’s instructions on how long to continue treatment. Typically, a dog will be treated for Lyme disease for several months after the tick bite. Dogs can also be treated for months or even years after a tick bite if they have shown symptoms of Lyme disease but were not diagnosed during the initial visit.

If you are concerned about your dog contracting another case of Lyme disease from ticks in the future, talk with your vet about whether or not he should receive routine preventive care like vaccines and flea treatments that may help him avoid encountering ticks again.


If you think your dog has been exposed to ticks, or that they might have symptoms of Lyme Disease, it’s important to get them checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible. While the disease is treatable, it’s important to catch it before it can lead to long-term complications. While taking your dog in for an appointment may seem like a hassle, knowing that they are healthy and safe will be well worth the time and effort.