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Cephalexin – What it is and why it’s for your dog

Cephalexin – What it is and why it’s for your dog

Do you know what Cephalexin is and what it’s for? If not, that’s okay too. In today’s article, we’re going to explain to you what it’s for and if dogs can use it too!

Let us first start by saying that Cephalexin is also called Rilexine®, Keflex®, Vetolexin®. These are all brand names for the same antibiotic.

It is generally used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections in people, dogs, and other animals.

Also read: Ciprofloxacin side effects for dogs

For dogs, it’s mostly used to treat pyoderma and other bacterial skin infections. It is also sometimes used to treat urinary tract infections in cats and dogs.

Cephalexin – The antibiotic for humans and animals

Cephalexin can be bought in form of chewable tablets, capsules, oral suspension and even as an oral paste. Generally speaking, this medication takes effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours. However, visible effects may take a few days to be recognized.

What is treated with Cephalexin?

We’ve mentioned briefly what diseases are treated with Cephalexin, but the list is longer. This antibiotic is actually effective against several infections in dogs, including:

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  • Urinary tract (UTI)
  • Skin and soft tissue, such as hotspots and pyoderma
  • Bone
  • Respiratory tract
  • Ear (otitis)

Besides being used for fighting infections, it’s also effective against several bacteria:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus pneumonia
  • Haemophilus influenza
  • E. coli
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Klebsiella pneumonia
  • Proteus mirabilis

Even though it is not that common, but sometimes vets will prescribe cephalexin as a prevention against heart valve infection.

Besides this, vets sometimes use it for certain wounds or abscesses. For example, to treat injuries received during a fight with another dog or animal. In these cases, Cephalexin is given to prevent infection.

Also read: Can dogs get fevers? Signs your dog has a fever

Picture of an sick dog in order to answer the question can dogs get fevers
Cephalexin can be used in treating several infections

Dosage of Cephalexin

The dosage of Cephalexin that is usually given to dogs is between 10 to 15 mg for each pound of body weight. However, just like any other drug with Cephalexin you must always rely on your vet’s dosage instructions!

Veterinarians recommend owners to give their dogs the drug every eight to twelve hours, This means two to three times per day.

Dog parents can provide it to their pooches with or without food. However, it’s important to state that giving the medication to dogs with food can reduce potential side effects.

Also read: Dog constipation – Causes and what to do

Side effects of Cephalexin

Cephalexin is a drug, which means that is comes with side effects. It’s simply inevitable. Every drug, no matter how safe it is does have certain side effects.

The side effects of this drug are usually very mild and rare. However, we do need to inform you about all the possible side effects.

Possible side effects to look out for are:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Skin rashes

Also read: Tramadol For Dogs – Everything you need to know before giving it to your dog

In very, very rare cases some dogs might experience kidney damage or decreased motor control. So, please, if you notice any of these side effects immediately contact your vet!

Cephalexin should never be mixed with other drugs. This is why you should inform your vet about any medication your dog is taking.

Besides this please also let your vet know about any history of medical conditions. This goes especially for kidney disease, and any bad reactions your dog has had to medications in the past. Especially if they had any reaction to penicillin or cephalosporins.

Also read: Dog Eye Infection – Possible causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


In conclusion, Cephalexin is generally speaking a very safe antibiotic with mild side effects. It is great for fighting several infections and bacteria in dogs and humans.

This drug is quite safe, but it is still a drug after all. This is why you should always listen to your vet about dosage.

Also, make sure you let your vet know about all the medication your dog uses. Let your vet know if your dog has any health issues, especially kidney disease.

Besides this we need to state something else. Even though it’s a generally safe drug, a large overdose can cause serious complications. So please, if you suspect an overdose or you notice an adverse reaction in your dog, call your veterinarian immediately!