Cephalexin For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, And Side Effects

Vet giving a pill to a dog.

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Cephalexin is an antibiotic that can be given to dogs to kill a range of bacteria and fight off infection. People and other animals can use it, too.

Veterinarians usually prescribe cephalexin to dogs as an oral medication that can come in liquid, tablet, or capsule forms. It’s sometimes spelled “cefalexin,” or it can be referred to by its brand names, which include Keflex, Rilexine, Sporidex, Biocef, and Keftab.

If your vet has prescribed cephalexin for your dog, then you should ask them about proper dosage and possible side effects. You must consult your vet before giving your dog any medication.

You can easily order cephalexin here with your vet’s prescription through Chewy’s online pharmacy. Here’s what you should know about cephalexin for dogs.

Uses Of Cephalexin For Dogs

Vet talking to puppy owner in exam room

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Cephalexin is one of the most useful antibiotics for vets, and it’s effective in fighting a broad spectrum of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in dogs. It causes the cell walls of bacteria to rupture, and vets mostly prescribe it for uncomplicated infections.

Here are a few of the conditions vets may treat with cephalexin:

  • Staphylococcal infections, commonly called staph infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Hot spots on the skin
  • Bone infections
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Ear infections
  • Infections cause by Streptococcus pneumonia or Streptococcus pyogenes
  • E. coli infections
  • Haemophilus influenza
  • Klebsiella pneumonia
  • Proteus mirabilis

Vets may also prescribe cephalexin as a preventative measure to protect against heart valve infection.

In cases of certain wounds or abscesses, including injuries received during a fight with another dog or animal, cephalexin may be administered to prevent infection.

Dosage Of Cephalexin For Dogs

Labrador dog lying next to bottle of pills and medication, close-up

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You must rely on your vet’s dosage instructions. The following is meant to describe the typical dosage for this medication, but your vet may adjust it for your individual dog.

The usual dosage of cephalexin in dogs is 10 to 15 mg for each pound of body weight. However, concentration of the drug can vary, and you should read the instructions and follow your vet’s advice thoroughly.

Typically vets recommend pet parents give their dogs the drug every eight to twelve hours, so two to three times per day. Owners can provide it to their dogs with or without food, though giving the medication to dogs with food can reduce the potential side effects.

It’s important that you keep up the regimen your vet has prescribed. Treatment with cephalexin generally lasts for seven to ten days.

Overdose is typically not a problem, but it can cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is sensitive to the drug, then it could make these problems worse and cause a dangerous reaction. In the case of an overdose, seek veterinary attention.

Side Effects Of Cephalexin For Dogs

Veterinarian getting ready to feed a dog a pill

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Before giving cephalexin to your dog, you must make your veterinarian aware of any other medication your dog is taking, any history of medical conditions, especially kidney disease, and any bad reactions your dog has had to medications in the past, particularly penicillin or cephalosporins.

Any of these can lead to complications when cephalexin is administered.

Common side effects of cephalexin in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. However, giving a dog food with the medication will often reduce these side effects. Further side effects include panting and drooling, skin rashes, hyperexcitability, and rapid breathing.

In rare cases, a dog may experience kidney damage or decreased motor control. If symptoms become severe, then you should contact your veterinarian.

Dogs who are allergic to the drug may experience rashes, fever, or anaphylaxis, which can be a deadly reaction. Long-term use can also cause decreased platelet count, granulopenia, hepatitis, kidney issues, and neutropenia.

Have you used cephalexin for your dog? Did it improve your dog’s condition? Then let us know in the comments below!

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