Cephalexin for dogs – learn how to treat your dog with care

Cephalexin for dogs
You might have heard from Cephalexin and you might even have Cephalexin getting prescribed from your vet for your dog. But what the *^&@! is Cephalexin? And can you use Cephalexin for dogs?
Cephalexin is an antibiotic used in the form of suspension or capsules in order to treat bacterial infections in the body of your dog. Cephalexin is made of an anti-toxin drug called cephalosporin. This drug is for fighting bacterial infections in the body. It is available in capsule form and in liquid form.
You can only buy Cephalexin when you have a prescription from your vet, so alway make sure to consult your vet first. So even when you have a leftover from an earlier treatment, make sure to first consult your vet, because providing antibiotics without professional guidance can result in negative side effects for your dog.
Cephalexin for dogs is sold under the brand names like Keflex, Sporidex and Rilexine. This is drug has been approved by the FDA for human beings, but not for dogs.
For more explanation and tips on how to use Cephalexin for dogs, please read on:



What is Cephalexin for dogs?

Cephalexin is for treating infections of your dog

Cephalexin is a drug which suppresses microorganisms such as protozoa, fungi. It prevents bacteria from growing and reproducing. The result is that bacteria gradually disappear form your dog’s system. That’s why it’s so important to complete the full course of Cephalexin, because then you know for sure that all bacteria are gone. Otherwise the remaining bacteria will reproduce themselves.
As such Cephalexin can be used to treat a broad spectrum of infections as well as in preventing secondary infections. Cephalexin is often prescribed for treating infections like:

  • skin infections
  • trachetitis
  • bronchitis
  • bladder infections
  • bone infections
  • wound infections
  • tonsillitis

Although Cephalexin is not FDA approved for animals, it is widely accepted that this drug is effective in treating bacterial infections and safe.

When not to use Cephalexin for dogs?

There are a few situation in which you can not use Cephalexin for your dog:

  • if your dog has suffered from seizures
  • if your dog has had kidney disease in the past
  • if your dog is pregnant
  • if your dog has had allergic reactions to antibiotics in the past

In case your dog has diabetis it is best to give your dog the capsule form of Cephalexin, while the liquid form might contain sugar.
This is why you need to give your vet as much information as possible so that he knows when Cephalexin is suitable or not for your dog. And this is also why you may never use some of your own Cephalexin which is leftover, without consulting your vet first. Another reason is that most infections has first to be diagnosed to make sure how to treat it well.


How to give your dog Cephalexin

Proper dosage of Cephalexin for dogs

You can only get Cephalexin for your dog after prescription of your vet. So you probably already know what to give your dog. But just to give you some background information: a typical dosage of Cephalexin ranges from 10 to 15mg for every pound of body weight of your dog. This dosage should be given 2 to 3 times a day. This varies depending on the severity of the infection.
Consistency in giving the dosage and the times when you give it to your dog are important because otherwise the treatment will be less effective. If your dog experiences diarrhea or vomiting during the treatment then it is advised to give the Cephalexin together with food.
In case you might have missed a dose: don’t give your dog twice the dose at the same time. In that case you better skip the dose.

How to get your dog to take Cephalexin?

While Cephalexin is bitter, it doesn’t taste very well for your dog. So if you have gotten capsules of Cephalexin, make sure your dog swallows the pill as a whole, because otherwise he gets the bitter taste. The easiest way to do this, is to wrap the pill in a treat.
If your dog finds the pill in his treat, then there is no other way then to put the pill in the back of his mouth and force him to eat it. This can be made more pleasant for your dog, for example by putting peanut butter on the pill.
For the liquid form of Cephalexin, it is advised to mix this with soft food. Then your dog won’t taste the bitter taste of the liquid Cephalexin.

Cephalexin for dogs side effects

Like any other drug also Cephalexin for human beings has side effects:

  • nausea
  • stomach cramps
  • dehydration
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the face or mouth area
  • excessive drooling
  • rashes
  • bloody stools
  • hyper-excitability

But for Cephalexin for dogs there is less conclusive information on the effects of using Cephalexin for your dog. In general Cephalexin is a safe drug and causes rarely side effects. But here are a few known side effects Cephalexin might have on your dog, namely Excitable behavior, Vomiting and Diarrhea. And if this is the case, it is best to check with your vet.

Is your dog allergic to Cephalexin?

It might be that your dog gets an allergic reaction to Cephalexin. It is struggling to breath, has a swollen face, blood in his stool, bruising, fainting. In that case you should stop immediately with Cephalexin and contact your vet. Like human beings, dogs too might be allergic to antibiotics.


Cephalexin for dogs – 5 tips

What to do with an overdose of Cephalexin?

1As soon as you suspect an overdose of Cephalexin in your dog, you better rush to your vet asap for a restorative treatment of your dog. Signs will be retching, stomach problems, diarrhea, muscle spasms, seizures, numbness, shivering in the legs.

Can Cephalexin be given with food?

2It is not required to give Cephalexin together with food, but it is safe if you prefer so. Giving Cephalexin together with food, might even have the advantage of preventing your dog from vomiting.

Is Cephalexin also for puppies?

3This very depends on the size and age of your puppy, so please check your vet first before giving your puppy Cephalexin.

After how many days is my dog cured from the infection?

4This depends on the severity of the infection of course. But normally after three days you should see a lot of improvement in your dog. This does not mean that you can stop giving your dog Cephalexin, because you should always complete the course.
If after four or five days there is no noticable improvement, then check with your vet.

How should Cephalexin be stored?

5Cephalexin may come in two forms:

  • Liquid form: this is best stored in the refrigerator
  • Capsules: this should be stored at a dry place at room temperature and out of direct sunlight



Cephalexin for dogs can be very effective for treating infections in your dog. The side effects are rare and minor. But as always when it concerns your dog’s health: check with your vet first!