The quality of your dog’s health is paramount. You want to ensure that your favorite pooch enjoys all aspects of its life, starting from the dog food it eats to medication, grooming, and hygiene. Among the basic principles that you need to equip yourself with is the knowledge of how cephalexin can relieve your dog from a spectrum of illnesses and its effects on your canine’s health.
Dogs often get into fights with each other and experience allergies that can quickly increase their risks of attracting bacterial infections. That’s where cephalexin for dogs comes in handy. It’s a single drug that’s quite effective against several bacterial conditions and takes a shorter time to revive your favorite fur friend to its daily vibrancy.
What is Cephalexin for Dogs?
Cephalexin for dogs is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that helps in treating pyoderma and other bacterial skin complications in dogs (1). It falls in the first-generation cephalosporin and is used to treat many infections resulting from gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Cephalexin also comes with minimal side effects compared to other medications.
Cephalexin, sometimes spelled as cefalexin, sells under the trade names: Keftab, Sporidex, Rilexine, and Biocef. While it’s pretty effective, the FDA disapproves of its use on any animal, including dogs.
However, veterinarians have permission to prescribe cephalexin under provisions of “extra-label.”
What are the Uses of Cephalexin as a broad-spectrum antibiotic for Dogs?
Cephalexin for dogs helps in treating a broad spectrum of bacterial infections (especially Staphylococcus infections) and one of the essential antibiotics in a veterinarian’s toolbox (2), according to World Health Organization (WHO). It’s an effective drug for curing several skin infections and a sufficient remedy if your dog got involved in a fight and suffers bites.
Cephalexin for dogs gives you a powerful combination, making it a reliable relief in time of need. Alongside its effectiveness, the drug is also relatively inexpensive, a powerful combination that every dog-owner requires. Again, promptly treating the conditions using cephalexin for dogs may save your dog from the struggles of secondary infections. Here are other conditions that you can treat using cephalexin:
- Haemophilus Influenza
- Proteus mirabilis
- E. coli
- Klebsiella pneumonia
- Streptococcus pneumonia
- Streptococcus pyogenes
Your veterinarian may prescribe the drug for your dog if the diagnosis reveals respiratory tract, joint, ear, skin, or urinary tract infections. Similarly, cephalexin for dogs can be prescribed solely or alongside other medications, depending on the condition.
How to Administer Cephalexin for Dogs
Cephalexin is available in three primary forms: capsules, oral suspension, or chewable tablets. Similarly, the drug is available as an oral paste in Canada. You can administer the medication to your dog with or without meals. However, it’s advisable to give it alongside food if your pet tries to throw up or behaves sick after taking the drug.
Cephalexin for dogs takes effect almost immediately after administering a dose. Your pet should feel relieved within one to two hours.
However, you may have to wait for a few days to recognize significant changes.
Cephalexin is quite effective and doesn’t have severe side effects. However, it’s not safe to self-medicate your dog even when you’re sure of the signs. Sometimes different conditions exhibit related symptoms, and what you may take as an S. Aureus maybe something else.
Your vet will establish whether cephalexin is the proper medication for your dog and advise how to administer the drug. Yours is to follow the instructions thoroughly and set a consistent time for medication.
In most cases, cephalexin for dogs is administered two to three times a day, so choose what time is best for what dose, and stick to it till the last dosage.
Cephalexin for dogs typically goes at 10 to 15 mg per pound of body weight. In that case, a 50-pound dog will need cephalexin 500mg to 5550 mg of cephalexin. Most Labrador breeds typically weigh between 50 and 75 pounds. As a result, a Lab on the lowest scale will need cephalexin 500 mg while the largest may need cephalexin 500mg plus 250mg for a single dose.
Cephalexin for dogs’ treatment often runs from seven to fourteen days, so ensure your puppy completes the total dosage even if it starts to feel better after a few days.
What if Your Dog Doesn’t Complete Full Cephalexin Dose?
Failing to complete a total cephalexin dose may make the bacteria resistant to the drug. It may also make your dog suffer a relapse of the infection.
How it Works
Like many antibiotics, cephalexin functions by destroying the bacteria responsible for the infection. In this case, the medication causes a rapture in the cell wall, hence killing the bacteria.
What if It Doesn’t Help My Dog
Cephalexin is effective on a broad spectrum of infections but may not treat your dog’s condition. According to The Merck Veterinary Manual, the medication is “quite effective” in killing several gram-positive bacteria but “moderately effective” in eliminating gram-negative bacteria.
Similarly, the manual notes that penicillin is more effective against anaerobic bacteria (organisms that grow in the absence of oxygen) than cephalexin. Additionally, the medication can’t cure illnesses resulting from Enterobacter, a bacterium that causes skin, eye, and urinary tract infections in canines. Using cephalexin, in this case, will not relieve your pet from its pains and may also cause the dog to develop resistance. Thus, making it unable to respond to cephalexin when there’s a need.
As a result, you need a diagnosis to establish if cephalexin is the proper medication for your dog and if the strain causing the infection can respond to its treatment. That’s only possible through a specialist’s diagnosis.
Also, mark that antibiotics do not kill viruses or fungi; hence cephalexin isn’t ideal for fungal and viral infections.
If your veterinarian suspects that a bacteria is responsible for your dog’s predicament, they will run a blood test or take skin scrapings from the canine for examination. That will help establish if a bacterium is a cause and the kind of bacteria involved.
The results from the tests will determine whether the vet will prescribe cephalexin or penicillin. Again, the decision on dosage drug choice may also depend on your canine’s medical history.
What if You Miss a Dose?
It’s essential to complete the total dose that your veterinarian prescribes. It also helps to keep administering the medication at the same time daily.
But, if, for any reason, you miss a single dose during the day, consider giving it to the canine as soon as you get the chance. However, you may also wait and give the medication in the following dosage if its time is around the corner. Avoid administering two or more doses of cephalexin at the same time.
Cephalexin Overdose in Dogs
Overdosing cephalexin may not cause severe harm to your dog but will increase its chances of suffering side effects, especially gastrointestinal problems. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect any cases of an overdose.
Similarly, cephalexin doses should not exceed the recommendable period of seven to fourteen days. That’s because prolonged cephalexin dosage may cause liver or kidney disease or reduce the count of blood platelets in dogs.
Side Effects of Cephalexin
Cephalexin, like many antibiotics, does not have severe side effects (if any occurs). Your pup may experience a few mild complications that you can rectify by administering the drug alongside food. Cephalexin may cause gastrointestinal upsets, including:
- Lack of appetite
In more adverse situations, the canine may stop eating correctly. Your dog may also experience skin rashes, fever, or breathing complications if it’s allergic to the medication. Cephalexin may also cause severe skin reactions, though on rare occasions.
Your dog may also experience hyper-excitability or excess panting, and you may notice your dog drooling a lot. However, watch out to ensure that all the experiences are under acceptable range and no signs of other complications. For example, drooling may also be a sign of poisoning in dogs.
Most of these side effects will ease if you administer the drug alongside food or dog treats. However, promptly consult with your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual, the effects are severe, or they don’t disappear soon.
Cephalexin Interaction with Other Drugs
There are no assured drugs that may interact negatively with cephalexin. However, it’s still safe to inform your veterinarian of any form of medications, whether dog multivitamins, herbal therapies such as CBD oil for dogs, or any supplements your pet is taking.
That will help determine whether there is any risk with cephalexin administration since drugs like probenecid and Warfarin may sometimes interact with cephalexin.
Risk Factors of Cephalexin
Cephalexin is quite friendly for use in your dog but may not be ideal in some situations. For instance, do not use the drug on a pregnant or nursing pooch. Similarly, you need to be careful when giving it to any dog that is sensitive to antibiotics such as cepamycins, penicillin, or carbapenems.
Also, avoid using the drug on your dog if it’s hypersensitive or allergic to cephalosporins.
Additionally, cephalexin isn’t suitable for canines who have ever experienced seizures, been diagnosed with kidney failure, or epileptic dogs.
Extra large dog breeds (typically larger than Labrador retrievers) may experience motor problems or lameness by using the drug. As a result, you may consider asking your veterinarian if cephalexin is the proper medication for your dog, especially if it’s a larger breed.
Is Human Cephalexin Suitable for Dogs?
The short answer is no. The ingredients forming both medications may look the same, but human drugs aren’t suitable for use on your dog. First, the medicine composition in human medications isn’t the same as those designed for animals.
Similarly, the medication may contain additional ingredients, such as xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Consult with your veterinarian before administering any form of medicine to your pet.
How to Store Cephalexin
Keep cephalexin drugs in tightly sealed containers at room temperature and out of light exposure. For oral suspension, store in a refrigerator and get rid of the drug after 14 days.
What Is Cephalexin Used to Treat in Dogs?
Cephalexin helps in treating several bacterial infections, especially Staphylococcus complications, in dogs. It can also help in relieving E. coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Haemophilus influenza, Proteus mirabilis, streptococcus pneumonia, and streptococcus pyogenes.
What Are the Side Effects of Cephalexin in Dogs?
Cephalexin doesn’t have severe side effects on dogs. However, your pet may experience gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, nausea, or lack of appetite. You can ease the impact by administering the drug with food.
Similarly, the drug can cause hyper-excitability, drooling, or excessive panting in your dog. If your pooch is allergic to the treatment, it may develop breathing complications, fever, and rashes.
How Long Should a Dog Take Cephalexin?
Cephalexin dosages typically run from seven to fourteen days, depending on your dog’s condition, medical history, and type of bacterial infection.
How Many mg of Cephalexin Can a Dog Take?
Typically, cephalexin doses range from 10 to 15 mg per pound of dog weight. Most Lab dogs weigh between 50 and 75 pounds; the smallest on the scale will need 500 to 550 mg of cephalexin, while the largest will require 500mg plus 250mg for a total dose.