What Is Cephalexin for Dogs?

By Krista Raye

Over the years, you have probably had Cephalexin prescribed to you to treat bacterial infections. While it is FDA approved to reside in your medicine cabinet for human usage, it has not been approved for animals. However, this doesn't mean that it isn't prescribed by vets to dogs and cats. Cephalexin does work well in dogs to treat infections of the skin, bones, respiratory and urinary systems.

Usage

Like for humans, Cephalexin is used in both dogs for a variety of reasons. Most often, it is used to treat bacterial infections of the skin, wounds, bones or bladder. It is also used for the treatment of pneumonia. While it is used for treating some infections, it is not effective against infections caused by parasites or fungus.

Dosage

Always consult your veterinarian and follow her dosing instructions when administering Cephalexin. Cephalexin is usually prescribed in dosages of 10 to 15 milligrams per pound of weight and should be given every eight to 12 hours. It is vitally important that once your dog begins taking Cephalexin, he finish the entire prescription. This is the only way it will effectively kill the bacteria and prevent further infections.

Digestive Side Effects

Cephalexin can have certain side effects, the most common of which vomiting. You may also notice your dog experiencing diarrhea or loose stool. To prevent stomach problems, try administering the medication with food. Some dogs might also exhibit a loss of appetite.

Behavioral Side Effects

Besides digestive issues, your dog might exhibit behavioral changes. First, he might have an increase in excitability. If your dog's hyperactivity leads to stress on the body like rapid breathing, you could need to discontinue using the medication. If you are aware of your dog having an allergy to penicillin or cephalosporin, he might also have a reaction to Cephalexin. Keep an eye out for a rash, itching and difficulty breathing, and if these things occur, contact your veterinarian.

Precautions and Overdose

Cephalexin should never be administered if your dog is allergic to penicillin or cephalosporin. It's also not advised for use in pregnant or nursing dogs. If you suspect your dog might be suffering from an overdose, seek medical attention immediately by either going to your vet's office or an emergency veterinarian's hospital. Symptoms of an overdose include vomiting and diarrhea.