Cephalexin For Dogs (A.K.A Keflex) – Dosage, Side Effects & More

Cephalexin, also known as Cefalexin and its brand name Keflex, is an antibiotic medication that’s often given to people and animals alike in order to help them with their bacterial infection problems.

The way Cephalexin works is by not allowing bacteria inside your dog’s body to form a cell wall in order to protect itself, ultimately leading to the death of the bacteria in time.

Since Cephalexin can perfectly be given to dogs that suffer from bacterial infection problems just like it can be given to humans who suffer from the same problem, this article will be covering everything you need to know about Cephalexin for dogs.

Be that the proper Cephalexin dosage for dogs, Cephalexin side effects in dogs, etc .. we’ve got it all covered in this article, so read along!

Cephalexin For Dogs Usage

As of this writing, Cephalexin has not yet been FDA approved for use in dogs and cats, it has only been FDA approved for use in humans.

However it remains a very common medication prescribed by veterinarians in their practice.

Whether we’re talking about veterinarians dealing with dogs or cats alike, Cephalexin is one of the most veterinary prescribed medications there is as of today.

Before you’re able to give your dog Cephalexin for any reason, you must obtain a prescription for using one, since this drug is a prescription drug.

Unless you’ve been provided a legitimate prescription from a competent veterinarian in order to give your dog this medication, you should by no means get this drug anywhere near your dog.

Now, with that important reminder out of the way, here’s a list of the most common bacterial infections that Cephalexin is often used to treat in dogs.

  • Skin infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Ear infections
  • Bone infections
  • Wound infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart valve infections

Cephalexin Dosage For Dogs

The dosage of Cephalexin that your dog should be given depends on a whole host of factors, ones which may mean that your dog needs to stick to the lower end of the dosage range or ones which may mean that your dog needs to be given a dosage that’s near the higher end of the range.

The specific and correct dosage of Cephalexin that your dog needs to be taking should only be determined by your veterinarian, so make sure you talk to them before about this.

With that being said, the general dosage recommendation when it comes to giving dogs Cephalexin ranges anywhere from 5 mg/lb to 15 mg/lb given to dogs once every 8 to 12 hours.

You also have to make sure that you don’t skip any dosages too frequently and you don’t suddenly stop the course of treatment of Cephalexin you’re giving your dog at once, since this will only lead to whatever infection your dog was suffering from to come back.

How Can I Give My Dog Cephalexin?

First off, Cephalexin is an oral medication that must be given to your dog through the mouth, either by an oral solution or in tablet form, the latter being the most preferred method among dog owners and dogs alike.

If you’re looking for Cephalexin injections to give to your dog instead, then Cephalexin injections for dogs do exist and you could get a prescription for them, but this is by far the least preferred method of administering Cephalexin to dogs for way too many reasons.

So our recommendation would be for you to stick to giving your dog Cephalexin tablets, as this is the easiest route you could go with.

The most common forms of Cephalexin you’ll find being sold on the market are:

  • 250 mg and 500 mg capsules
  • 250 mg and 500 mg tablets
  • 25 mg/ml and 50 mg/ml oral solutions
  • 75 mg, 150 mg, 300 mg, or 600 mg chewable Cephalexin tablets

As for how your dog should be taking Cephalexin orally, the option of giving this medication to your dog with food or without food is really up to you, as both will work just fine.

However, if it were up to us, then the recommendation would almost always be for you to give your dog Cephalexin with certain food they’re eating.

Not only will it be much easier on your dog’s stomach for them to take Cephalexin along with food they’re eating, but this will also significantly reduce the chances of your dog experiencing any of the possible side effects that come along with taking Cephalexin.

You don’t have to give your dog a large meal to go along with their Cephalexin dosage, something very small that the Cephalexin tablet could be wrapped around and that your dog would just gulp down in no time would do perfectly fine.

Cephalexin Side Effects In Dogs

Generally speaking, the risk of your dog experiencing any serious side effects when given Cephalexin in the right dosages and within the right time frame are very low, as dogs tend to tolerate such medication very well.

However, your dog may be the “exception to the rule” and may experience one or some of the following side effects, in which case you must notify your veterinarian so they can properly adjust the dosage of Cephalexin your dog is taking.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive mucus
  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive panting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Improper motor functions
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Rashes and excessive scratching
  • Swelling in lips, tongue or face
  • Fever

If you notice any of these side effects (or any other side effects that weren’t mentioned in the list), then the first thing you should do is tell your veterinarian about it so they can tell you what the next course of action should be.

Cephalexin Overdose In Dogs

If your dog overdoses on Cephalexin, the most common and immediate signs you’ll see in your dog are vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Even if these two signs don’t seem to be that much life threatening, dogs overdosing on Cephalexin is certainly nothing to joke around about, and it could prove to be fatal for many dogs.

In the case that your dog has indeed overdosed on Cephalexin for any possible reason, get them to the nearest pet emergency care center where they’ll be able to clean your dog’s system before the overdose of Cephalexin does any heavy damage – on condition that you get your dog over there as early as possible, that is.

When Is Cephalexin Bad For Dogs?

First off, Cephalexin may be very bad for dogs if it contradicts with certain medication they’re already taking, which is why you should always speak to your veterinarian beforehand and clearly have them know about any and all medication your dog is currently taking.

This will give your veterinarian critical information that will help them determine whether or not Cephalexin will collide with any of the medication your dog is currently taking.

No matter how “silly” or “lightweight” the medication your dog’s currently on is, even if it’s just a good old supplement such as Glucosamine for dogs or anything of that sort, please tell your veterinarian about it since every little detail helps them make a much better informed decision.

As for certain health conditions your dog has or certain phases in life they’re passing through, here’s a list of the circumstances when it’s best that your dog doesn’t take Cephalexin.

– Your dog is pregnant

– Your dog is nursing

– Your dog is allergic to Cephalexin

– Your dog is allergic to Penicillin

– Your dog has kidney disease (This should ultimately be determined by your veterinarian, since some dogs with kidney problems do very well on lowered dosages of Cephalexin)

– Your dog has liver disease

You should also let your veterinarian know of ANY other health problems or conditions your dog has, since even the smallest health condition may contradict with Cephalexin, prompting your veterinarian to advise you against using it until this condition in your dog is non existent.


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