How to Dose Dogs With Cephalexin

Things You'll Need

  • Veterinary prescription for cephalexin

  • Treats or dog food meatball

Warning

Cephalexin should not be administered to dogs that are allergic to penicillin because they are in the same family of antimicrobial drugs, says Dr. Bill. Veterinarians typically will not recommend cephalexin for their canine kidney patients as it sometimes produces kidney damage when used in conjunction with other antibiotics. Pregnant and nursing dogs should also not take cephalexin because it passes through placental membranes to enter fetal tissues and can be found in the mother’s milk.

Tip

Cephalexin comes in 250- and 500-mg tablets and capsules, according to Dr. Mark Papich in “Saunders Handbook of Veterinary Drugs.” Veterinarians typically suggest dosing dogs two to three times a day according to their weight—the recommended dose being 10 to 30 milligrams (mgs) of medication for every 2.2 pounds of dog. For example, your 22-pound dog could receive from 100 to 300 mgs of cephalexin twice a day and still be within veterinary guidelines.

The oral suspension comes in 100-mg/milliliter (ml) and 125-, 250-mg/5 ml bottles. This means your 22-pound dog would receive 1 ml of the 100-mg/ml version or 2 mls of the 250-mg/5 ml cephalexin.

Vets use cephalexin to treat dogs with skin infections.

Veterinarians prescribe cephalexin (trade name Keflex) as a treatment for dogs with skin infections, urinary tract infections, wound infections and respiratory infections. A human drug that is commonly used off-label in veterinary practice, cephalexin functions by destroying the cell walls of the offending bacterium—effectively killing it. Closely related to penicillin, cephalexin works best against fast-growing bacterial colonies, states Dr. Robert Bill in "Pharmacology for Veterinary Technicians." Veterinarians typically recommend administering this medication over a period of a week to 10 days, so learning how to give cephalexin to your dog at home can improve your dog's health and save you money on a clinic visit.

Tablets/Capsules

Step 1

Stand next to or in front of your dog and open his mouth with one hand.

Step 2

Place the cephalexin pill or capsule on the back of the tongue and gently push it down the back of the mouth.

Step 3

Hold your pet's muzzle closed and stroke his neck while he swallows the medication. Insert the cephalexin into a doggy treat or dog food meatball if your pet spits up the tablet, and allow him to eat the treat on his own.

Step 4

Continue these steps twice a day for the duration of the prescribed treatment.

Liquid Suspension

Step 1

Draw the prescribed amount of liquid cephalexin up into the dropper or syringe provided for this purpose.

Step 2

Hold your dog's muzzle in one hand while pointing his nose toward the ceiling at a 45-degree angle.

Step 3

Place the tip of the syringe into the corner pouch of your dog's mouth next to the cheek and slowly press down on the plunger. This releases the liquid cephalexin to flow into your dog's throat and allows her to swallow without choking.

Step 4

Continue these steps twice a day for the duration of the prescribed treatment.