How to Dose Dogs With Cephalexin

By Cate Burnette

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.


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

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

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.

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

Liquid Suspension

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

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

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.

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