Can I Give My Dog Cephalexin?

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Can I Give My Dog Cephalexin?Cephalexin is an antibiotic for treating bacterial infections such as upper respiratory, skin as well as urinary tract infections. Most dog owners will likely be trying to treat their pet for a UTI with something like Cephalexin, and will have some left over from their last prescription and are wondering if it will work for their dog.

But even though some vets will prescribe it for some dogs, this doesn’t make it safe for your particular dog. Trying to dose them using a human medication such as Cefalexin can often result in negative side effects that can cause them undue pain and suffering.

Sometimes when you start trying to take matters into your own hands and make medical decisions that you’re not qualified to make, things can get dicey. We’ll take a closer look at the use of Cephalexin so you can make a more informed judgement regarding your dog’s health.

Can I Give My Dog Cephalexin? Answer: With vet approval only

If your dog needs to be treated with an antibiotic, giving them Cephalexin that you happen to have on hand is not the way to go.

If you suspect that they’ve got an infection that needs to be treated then this is cause enough to take them to the vet, or at least make a call to the vet’s office.

That way the veterinarian can verify your diagnosis and advise you on the next proper step on how to properly treat them. This might be in the form of an antibiotic that is developed for canine use, or they may suggest letting things run their course.

The benefit of not treating them yourself and getting professional advice is that you’re off the hook as far as a guilty conscience goes. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you did the proper thing for your dog, and if the situation does escalate you won’t have that feeling in the back of your mind that you may have exacerbated things by medicating them at home from your medicine cabinet.

Dodgy Doggy Drugs

There’s an entire industry devoted to making pharmaceuticals for dogs, and this is reassuring because the big drug companies that manufacture drugs for humans aren’t thinking about dogs when they are doing their testing and research and determining doses.

That’s why it’s somewhat alarming to hear owners ask for dosages from the general public, and even more so when other owners chime in with dosages based on weight. The smaller weight of dogs compared to humans is only one of thousands of differences brought on by millions of years of evolution.

Side Effects of Cephalexin

Cefalexin comes with its share of side effects, including nausea, stomach cramps, and dehydration, and that’s when it’s used by humans. The side effects of canine use are lacking research, but they definitely do exist, and there is anecdotal evidence from owners that have given it to their dogs and have seen that they don’t handle it very well.

It’s simply not something that you want to give to them, as it likely won’t produce the effects you’re thinking it will, and might even worsen their situation. Many older dogs don’t take well to antibiotics such as this one.

Steps to Take

After speaking with your vet and getting your dog onto the proper treatment plan, there are other steps you can take to make sure that they recover back to full strength as quickly as possible. The first is to consider upgrading their dog food so that they’re getting the right mix of nutrients and vitamins.

This will make perhaps the biggest difference in their general well-being, and is one of the easiest things you can do for them. You can also try to determine what caused the problem in the first place, and alter their environment so they are not re-infected at a later time.

It can be rough seeing your dog in pain, but the best way to treat them is to put it in the hands of a well-trained professional.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise December 18, 2014

My Lab mix was given this in 500mg to be given 2 time daily for Intervertebral Disc Disease. She also takes 2 different pain medications, 1 muscle relaxer and Prednisone. After she was on a full days dose I noticed heavy panting, she was also unable to be still and was really thirsty. I stopped the drug after a Google search. It’s not even approved for animals! Sometimes you have to be in tune with your dog when they are taking new meds. Please research before you administer anything and do what you think is right. I am so sorry for those who lost their pet to this drug.

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Noreen November 27, 2014

After reading these accounts I am worried. I have given two doses of Cephalexin, dose unknown as it’s not on the label. Within a half hour he is notably different in behavior (short breaths, pacing, unable to settle, seeking strange locations, tail between legs and jumping up on me as if to be soothed or somehow helped).

I’m not aware of diarrhea or blood in his feces at this point but will now watch for it. I’m holding back this evening’s dose until I can reach the vet in the morning. When they give you meds for pets they don’t come with the pages of side effects that human use does. Sorry to hear of the losses of your companions.

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Jim November 28, 2014

These are the kind of symptoms that often can be associated with Cephalexin. I would stop giving it immediately. It is even more dangerous if you don’t know the dosage you are administering. If the vet tells you to continue despite the symptoms you mention above, I would look for another veterinarian.

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Noreen November 29, 2014

I did talk to my vet who basically said these are not symptoms commonly associated with an antibiotic. He stated, “given we don’t know if he has a systemic infection” (no blood work was done), and he advised to continue with the topical ointment and we’ll see how it goes. Jim, thanks for your comments.

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Connie October 31, 2014

Wish I had read this site before! My beloved Berner passed away on 10/13. He was 1 month shy of his 6th birthday. He had been on a this nasty drug 3 weeks prior to his death for an ear infection. The 4th week he was back at the vet for blood work and Anemia was the diagnosis. My Vet and an internal specialist told me Cephalexin was the #2 cause of internal bleeding. My boy was gone 5 days later. My warning to all, stay away from this drug!

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Barry October 24, 2014

We breed English Bulldogs and many times our vet has prescribed Cephalexin for my dogs. They never had any problems. I see that others have had severe problems and I am sorry to hear about that.

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Stephanie April 29, 2014

My Boxer recently has what looks to be a spider bite or skin infection that is deteriorating his skin causing open lesions all over his shoulder, a new one everyday. I took him to the vet and for $110.00, for a 15 minute consultation, I was told she had never seen this before. Then I was given a script for 500mg Cephalexin two times a day. Is this really safe? After reading these comments, I don’t know what to do. Should I give it to him or not? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Terence May 3, 2014

I found some good information on a website called VetInfo which reads, “Natural antibiotics are an old remedy, used for centuries to treat infections in humans or animals. Regular antibiotics tend to destroy not only the bacteria that are causing infection, but also the bacteria that is useful in the organism (such as the bacteria that exist in the intestinal tract).

Also, long term use of antibiotics makes the harmful bacteria resistant to the active compounds, so the vet will have to prescribe stronger antibiotics. Herbs with antibiotic properties do not have the side effects of regular antibiotics and are, therefore, safer.

There are a number of herbal remedies with antibiotic effect. For skin infections, there are herbal remedies that can be administered as topical antibiotics: aloe vera, chamomile, golden seal, colloidal silver and olive leaves.”

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