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Pet Medication – Cephalexin For Dogs and Cats – Common Uses and Side Effects

Updated on November 7, 2011

Most people consider their pets to be members of their family. When your dog or cat gets sick, it's only natural to want the very best veterinary care, the best pet pharmacy, and to want to know exactly what pet medication is being prescribed and why.

If your vet has prescribed Cephalexin, your pet probably has some type of bacterial infection, as this is a commonly prescribed antibiotic pet medication for cats and dogs. This article should answer many of your questions about the drug, but you should always ask your vet about the specific needs of your pet.

General Pet Medication Information

This article is intended to be used for information purposes only. While it applies to most situations, your pet may have it's own individual needs. You should always see your veterinarian before administering any pet medication to your dog or cat.

Cephalexin is considered a safe and effective pet medication for most cats and dogs.
Cephalexin is considered a safe and effective pet medication for most cats and dogs.

What Is Cephalexin

Cephalexin is one of the most commonly prescribed pet medications. Veterinarians usually prescribe Cephalexin for dogs and cats with bacterial infections including:

  • Infected wounds
  • Skin infections
  • Bone infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Bladder or urinary tract infections

While it is not FDA approved for use on animals, Cephalexin has has proven to be a safe and effective antibiotic pet medicine for cats and dogs. It has been safely used for humans for years.You probably know it better by the trade name Keflex. Of course, as with all pet medications, it is only considered safe when used exactly as prescribed by your veterinarian.

Cephalexin Dosing Information

This pet medication is generally available as 250 mg and 500 mg capsules or tablets, and 25 mg/ml and 50 mg/ml liquid. Cephalexin is normally given in dosages of 10 to 15 mg per pound (22 to 30 mg/kg) of your cat or dog, and every 8-12 hours.

The duration of treatment varies depending on what your pet is being treated for, and their reaction to the medication. Your pet may seem to be feeling better partway through the course of treatment but, as with all antibiotic pet medicines, you should always complete the full prescribed treatment to prevent the condition from returning.

Cephalexin Pet Medication Side Effects

Possible side effects of Cephalexin include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Allergic reactions (itching, rash, or difficulty breathing)
  • Drooling, excitability and rapid breathing in dogs
  • Fever and vomiting in cats

Most of these side effects are rare, but if your pet develops any of these symptoms, you should see your veterinarian right away. Vomiting and diarrhea are also possible symptoms of overdose.

You should avoid using Cephalexin if your dog or cat is allergic to penicillin or other similar pet medications. Cephalexin can also react badly with other drugs, especially those that are known to affect the kidneys. Always be sure that your veterinarian and pet pharmacy are aware of any other pet medication or supplement that you are giving your dog or cat.

Proper Storage of Cephalexin

Do not store Cephalexin in the bathroom. Tablets and capsules should be kept in a dry environment, at room temperature, and in their original container. Cephalexin oral suspension (liquid) should be kept in the refrigerator, and any unused portion should be discarded after two weeks. As with all drugs, Cephalexin should be kept out of the reach of children, and in a place where your pets can't get to them.


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    • Paulart profile image


      7 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      Nice on information is given on hub. I am glad to read it.

    • rmr profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Livonia, MI

      Hi Elizabeth. Warnings indicate that you should use this medication with caution for pregnant or nursing pets. This would be a great question to ask your vet, as he is familiar with your dog's health, drug allergies, etc.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Can Cephalexin be given to a nursing mother without it harming the puppies?

    • arun125 profile image


      8 years ago from chandigarh


      this is good hubs i like this content pet medications

    • profile image

      pet meds 

      8 years ago

      I like this hubs because more info in this hubs

    • rmr profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Livonia, MI

      Hi Zsuzsy! Thanks for sharing your experience. Pet medications have come a long way over the years. Seems like there's a pet equivalent for just about every human medication you can think of.

      Thanks for coming by. Hope you're well too!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great hub as always RMR, thank you for sharing this info. My poor old Missy had been on a variation of Cephalexin 3-4 times in her last couple of years and as you said it's a safe and effective pet medication. It worked well each time.

      hope you're well

      regards Zsuzsy


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