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The aim of the present study was to describe the prescription rate and patterns of antibacterial agents in the Norwegian dog population in relation to time and place during 2004–2008. Prescription data were collected from the Norwegian prescription database (NorPD), whereas an estimate of the dog population was obtained from the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK). Maps of the geographical prescription rate patterns were generated in the software ArcGIS 9.2. This study indicates an increased usage of antibacterial agents in dogs in Norway during the study period in which antibacterial agents for systemic use and especially the combination amoxicillin and clavulanic acid accounted for the major part. Among antibacterial agents defined as critically important for human medicine, an increase was observed in the prescription rate of quinolones. The geographical prescription rate patterns were stable during the study period, which indicated that the identified increase in usage of antimicrobial agents occurred all over the country, but that there were regional differences in the prescribing behaviour. Prescription data from the NorPD of antibacterial agents to dogs can be used as a basis to perform a risk-based sampling approach to detect emerging antimicrobial resistance in the dog population.