Cephalexin for Dogs - All You Need To Know

Cephalexin for Dogs - All You Need To Know

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Jun 17 2023


Is there anything worse than your dog being sick? Many bacteria can infect and harm our dogs, but luckily, we can also use plenty of medications to fight them. Cephalexin is one of them, and it is used to fight different bacteria and help our dogs get healthy again. This is a medication that is safe for other animals and humans.

You should know that giving your dog any kind of meds is not the best idea. You should talk to your vet first; they will let you know the correct way to fight specific health issues. If your vet does recommend cephalexin for your dog, here is some information you should know about this drug.

What is cephalexin?

Cephalexin is an oral antibiotic medication used to treat different bacterial infections. It is most commonly prescribed for pyoderma, a skin infection bacteria can cause. It can also be a symptom of cancer, allergies, and parasites.

cephalexin oral suspension

Pyoderma is the most common reason cephalexin is given to dogs, but it is also prescribed in case of urinary tract infection. It is a common problem, and you can notice it if your dog frequently urinates, if you see blood in their urine, or if they whine because urination is painful.

One of the most common parasites in dogs is giardia. Check out this article - Giardia in dogs.

How is cephalexin given to dogs?

There are a few available options, and you should ask your vet what the preferred choice for your dog is. Some dogs might prefer capsules, and others might prefer chewable tablets; it will depend on your dog. Some countries, like Canada, have it available as an oral paste.

This is a medication that can be given with or without food. After giving the first dose to your dog, keep an eye on them and see how they react to it. If they have stomach problems, give them the medication with some food.

Cephalexin for dogs - dosage

Vets usually recommend giving a dose of this drug every 8 - 12 hours, but since every dog is unique, your vet might recommend a different schedule. Also, there are clear instructions on the bottle you should follow. You should never give your dog additional dosages because you missed one. Give them the dose you missed and create a new schedule.

As we already mentioned, the dosage will be decided by your vet. They will consider your dog’s age, body weight, energy levels, and other things that can influence the exact dosage. Usually, cephalexin is given to dogs like this - 10 - 15 milligrams per pound of body weight. Here is a helpful chart that can help you get an idea of dosages;

Cephalexin for Dogs dosage

Cephalexin comes in three forms in the US: tablets, capsules, and liquid. The liquid form is usually pretty hard to measure precisely. It is not the most practical form of cephalexin for dogs, and vets typically recommend one of the other two forms.

Helping our dogs deal with pain is something we all want to do. Check out this article - Pain Relief for dogs.

Can cephalexin be harmful to dogs?

All drugs can potentially be bad and dangerous for dogs. Your vet must tell you exactly which medication you should give your dog. Some might have bad interactions with other drugs and shouldn’t be taken if your dog has pre-existing conditions.

Before you start medicating your dog, tell your vet all they need to know about your dog. They will take a special interest in other medications and supplements your dog might be using. They can even tell you not to give your dog this medication if the dog;

Also, if you, as the owner, have penicillin allergies, you should be careful with handling this drug. It would be a good idea to get dispensable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly each time you give the medication to your dog.


Are there any side effects?

Like with any other drug, potential side effects can occur. Some are more common, and some are less common. But generally, cephalexin is considered a safe drug, even for long-term use. Ensure you stick to the recommended dosages, and your dog should start feeling better as quickly as 1 - 2 hours after the first dosage. Even if you notice their problem is getting solved, stick to the recommended course of antibiotic therapy.

Some of the most common side effects of cephalexin are:

What diseases does cephalexin treat?

The most common reason cephalexin is given to dogs is pyoderma, but there is a whole line of infections and health problems treated by this medication. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that can clear several issues, and other bacteria this medication is effective against are:

  • E. coli
  • Haemophilus influenza
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Proteus mirabilis
  • Klebsiella pneumonia
  • Streptococcus pneumonia
  • Streptococcus pyogenes

Another common pain medication given to dogs is tramadol. Check out this article - Tramadol for dogs.

Where can I get this medication?

Most vet pharmacies will have this medication, and your vet will probably advise you on where to get it. Luckily, there are other options to explore, and you can order them from your home. Chewy has an online pharmacy where you can order different tablets. They will require you to show them the vet prescription, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you took your dog for a check-up. Check out the cool way to order this medication:

  1. Cephalexin capsules
  2. Cephalexin oral suspension
  3. Cephalexin chewable tablets

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