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, the skin variety as well as urinary tract infections. Most dog owners will likely be trying to treat their pet for a UTI. Something like Cephalexin is common to have, often as left over supply, from a previous prescription. Are you wondering if it will work for your dog?

Let’s be clear, even though some vets will prescribe it for some canines, 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 some Cephalexin that you happen to have on hand is not the way to go.

If you suspect that they have an infection, it probably needs to be diagnosed and properly treated. This is definitely cause enough to take them to a veterinarian, or at least make a call to their office.

A professional can verify a diagnosis and advise on the proper steps for treating your dog properly. This might be in the form of an antibiotic developed particularly for canine use. Alternatively, they may suggest letting things run their course.

Save Yourself Some Grief

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.

If the situation does escalate, you won’t have that feeling in the back of your mind that you may have exacerbated things. Trying to medicate a dog from home, from your own medicine cabinet, can be a recipe for disaster and Cephalexin is no different in this respect.

Dodgy Doggy Drugs

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

That’s why it’s somewhat alarming to hear owners ask for dosages from the general public, often strangers. Often, such medicines aren’t even safe for dogs, at any dose, and there is a lot of misinformation floating around. We certainly cannot recommend a dose for your beloved dog in respect to Cephalexin.

Side Effects of Cephalexin

Cefalexin is a cephalosporin antibiotic which comes with its share of side effects. These can include nausea, stomach cramps, and dehydration, and that’s when it’s used by humans. The side effects for dogs lacks research, but they definitely do exist. There is anecdotal evidence, from owners that have given it to their dogs and have seen for themselves, that they often don’t handle it very well.

It’s not something that you want to give to them, as it likely won’t produce the desired effects. It may even worsen their situation dramatically. In particular, many older dogs don’t take well to antibiotics such as this one.

Best Steps to Take

First speak with your vet and get your dog onto a proper treatment plan. Then try to determine, if possible, what caused the problem in the first place. Altering their environment may be beneficial so they aren’t reinfected.

Also consider upgrading their dog food so that they’re getting the right mix of nutrients and vitamins. This will make perhaps the biggest difference towards improving their general well-being. It’s also one of the easiest things you can do for them.

It can be rough seeing your dog if they aren’t doing well. The best way to treat them is to put it in the hands of a well-trained professional. In the meantime, please keep your supply of Cephalexin out of reach!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn February 24, 2015

My dog had 9 lumps removed in her belly area and was spaded because they thought it was cancer. They put her on Cephalexin. That night she was panting so hard and was restless and kept trying to find a place to hide. I called and went to the vet first thing in the morning. He did blood work and her white blood count was up so he changed her antibiotic. Her panting was probably anxiety so he gave her Xanax.

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Miranda January 13, 2015

My 10 year old Beagle, 9 year old Saint Bernard/Golden mix have been on this as well as my Chocolate Labrador off and on many times in her 7 years. None of them have had a single problem. Just like all medications there are possible side effects. I always monitor my animals when starting medications and if signs of something occur, then I take action.

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Lindsie December 23, 2014

This is scary. My dog just had a cyst removed and she was prescribed 500mg of Cephalexin to take twice a day with food. I came here to see what it’s for, thinking it was probably an antibiotic. What I read is alarming. I fully trust our vet, so I am going to continue to give it to our beloved dog, but I am definitely watching for the signs mentioned above in case she isn’t handling it well.

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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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