Can I Give My Dog Cephalexin?

Can I Give My Dog Cephalexin?Cephalexin is a popular antibiotic used for treating bacterial infections in humans. Such infections include those affecting the upper respiratory tract, urinary tract and even the skin and bones. As a dog owner, you’ll want to know if this particular drug can safely work for canines as well.

Vets do prescribe Cephalexin but that doesn’t automatically make it appropriate for your particular dog. Many people consider using a leftover supply from a previous prescription, but providing antibiotics without professional guidance can result in negative side effects and/or ineffective treatment.

So while Cephalexin isn’t considered a very dangerous drug, it’s still important to administer it correctly. Taking matters into your own hands, when it comes to your dog’s medical matters, can prove to be a bad idea and this drug is no different. In any case, let’s take a closer look at the use of Cephalexin for pets.

Can I Give My Dog Cephalexin? Answer: Yes, with vet approval

If you suspect that an antibiotic is needed, using some of your own Cephalexin may not be the way to go.

The problem with providing this drug, without guidance, is that it really should only be used when you have good evidence for introducing it. Most infections require a proper diagnosis so they can be effectively treated. An infection is cause enough to take your dog to a veterinarian, or at least make a call to their office.

While Cephalexin is known to be well-tolerated, there may be more appropriate kinds of antibiotics which could be much more suitable. Alternatively, they may suggest letting things run their course. In any case, we don’t recommend taking it upon yourself to administer Cephalexin unless you have previous experience and are knowledgeable in this area.

Dosage & Key Info

If you plan to give your dog Cephalexin, there are some critical facts you need to know beforehand. If your best buddy has a history of kidney failure, seizures or allergies to similar medications then reconsider your plan and instead get advice from a professional. Also, never administer antibiotics to a pregnant or nursing dog. Typical dosage ranges from 10mg or 15mg for every pound of body weight, given every 8-12 hours but check with your vet first.

It’s very important to be consistent with dosing and timing since failure to do so reduces the effectiveness of this therapy. Also, you may find it is necessary to provide Cephalexin with food especially if your dog experiences diarrhea, vomiting or any nausea at any time during treatment. There are a long list of side effects associated with this drug which also is marketed under the names Biocef, Keflex and Keftab.

Cephalexin Side Effects

This name is an oral cephalosporin antibiotic which usually works well but sometimes there are complications. This is the case with all drugs which is why it’s best to have a good vet to count on. Some of the typical side effects that humans may experience can also affect a beloved pet dog. These can include nausea, stomach cramps and dehydration.

Other negative signs specific to canines may appear as panting or shortness of breath, swelling of the face or mouth area, excessive drooling, rashes, bloody stools and hyper-excitability. But in general, there is less conclusive information regarding the effects of Cephalexin as it applies to pets. It has been suggested that many older dogs don’t take well to antibiotics such as this one.

Conclusion on Cephalexin

Don’t go it alone by treating your dog using Cephalexin that you may have laying around. There could be superior treatment options available to your dog. Speak with a vet and get your four-legged friend treated the right way. Avoid making matters worse. The best way to handle an infection is to put it in the hands of a well-trained professional. If you do plan to go it alone and use Cephalexin on your dog, be sure to take precautions by learning as much as possible. In our view, it is prudent to keep your personal supply of Cephalexin out of reach simply because a proper diagnosis must form the basis for a full recovery.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Barry October, 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, 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, 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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Michael April, 2014

I gave my Shepard, Akita, Huskie mix this medicine. The vet had prescribed it. Every time he had a dose, the next day he would become sick, drooling, unable to get around, not wanting to eat, heavy breathing like he could not get enough air. This would pass and do to the fact that he would not take anything, even the medicine, he would get better in a few days by just resting.

In April of 2014, we gave him another does before we went to bed around 2:00am. When I woke for work at 6:00am he was starting to display the symptoms again. Upon returning from work he was still not better. He died around 5:30 to 6:00 pm. The next day we took his remains to the vet for cremation, and we talked about the symptoms he had.

Turns out, the internet talks about these same symptoms in other dogs and they ended up the same. Other vets also said they had never seen an allergic reaction with this medicine. We still say that is what killed Thunder the night before. This medicine should come with a warning to watch out for these symptoms. He was my service animal and my very best friend. I will miss him dearly.

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Mary December, 2014

Vets need to stop giving animals this mess before it kills many more. It isn’t right to the owners who are trying to make their dogs better. We lost our dog last week from this med too.

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Kathy January, 2016

My Springer Spaniel was put on Cephalexin for an infection caused by a dog bite. I trusted my vet knew what he was doing. Shortly after starting the medication, we noticed Bailee was restless at night and wanted to be as close to me as possible. Just recently, we noticed she was twitching all night and so I stopped the medication. I am so glad I did. Will give her a few days and see if the twitching etc. stops. Will also bring this issue up with my vet. Thanks for sharing.

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Jim December, 2013

Most vets will insist Cephalexin is safe. However, this may not be true in all cases (especially for geriatric dogs). My vet prescribed this long term for my Akita and claims she had not seen side effects in dogs. I believe it may have contributed to anemia, dehydration and death. I wish I had stopped the medication.

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Paul November, 2013

My dog was straining to pee and I took him to the vet. They charged me 165 dollars for 33 pills. He was on antibiotics for 3 days, going to the bathroom fine and I skipped one day by accident. Now he’s straining again so I started back on the pills.

My other vet use to give Keflex and it was much cheaper. These vets today just seem to want to clean your pockets. I would spend my last dime on my animals but these vets do nothing for less than a few hundred dollars a visit. That’s a bit much!

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James November, 2013

I agree with you Paul. Glad you are trying to do your research. Often times you can avoid a vet visit, but sometimes it’s prudent to go. I hope your dog’s urinary problem has improved.

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Sniff November, 2014

So after putting your dog back on the Keflex he seems to be fine again? How large is your dog and what is the dosage the vet gave him?

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