📊 Cephalexin for Dogs: Dosage Chart and Calculator

Cephalexin, marketed under the brand name RILEXINE®, is a chewable, broad-spectrum antibiotic specifically designed for dogs. It’s a member of the cephalosporin, beta-lactam antibiotic family, primarily used to treat secondary superficial bacterial pyoderma in dogs caused by susceptible strains of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius.

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Dosage and Administration

The recommended dosage of RILEXINE® is 22 mg/kg (10 mg/lb) of body weight, administered twice daily for 28 days. It’s crucial to conduct appropriate culture and susceptibility tests before starting treatment to identify the causative organism and its susceptibility to cephalexin. The medication can be initiated before test results are available, but therapy should be adjusted accordingly once results are known.

Key Precautions and Contraindications

  • RILEXINE® is contraindicated in dogs with known allergies to cephalexin or β-lactam antibiotics.
  • It’s exclusively for veterinary use and should be kept out of reach of children.
  • The safety of RILEXINE® in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs has not been established.

Adverse Reactions and Safety

Common adverse reactions in dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia, and lethargy. In a field study, 34% of dogs treated with RILEXINE® experienced adverse reactions. It’s important to store the tablets securely as dogs may consume more than the recommended dosage, leading to overdose and adverse reactions.

Clinical Pharmacology

Cephalexin is well-absorbed after oral administration, with blood concentrations proportional to the dose. Its effectiveness is time-dependent, and it works by interfering with bacterial cell wall synthesis.

Palatability and Storage

RILEXINE® Chewable Tablets are designed to be palatable for dogs. They should be stored at 20°C-25°C (68°F-77°F), with permissible excursions between 15°C-30°C (59°F-86°F).

Creating a Dosage Chart for Cephalexin (RILEXINE®)

To assist dog owners and veterinarians, here’s a simplified dosage chart for Cephalexin (RILEXINE®), based on the dog’s weight:

Dog’s Weight (lbs) Dosage (mg) Frequency Duration
10 100 Twice daily 28 days
20 200 Twice daily 28 days
30 300 Twice daily 28 days
40 400 Twice daily 28 days
50 500 Twice daily 28 days
60 600 Twice daily 28 days

🐾 Note: This chart is a general guide. Always consult with a veterinarian for the precise dosage.

Key Takeaways

Cephalexin for Dogs: A broad-spectrum antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.

Dosage: Administered based on the dog’s weight, with a typical dosage of 22 mg/kg twice daily for 28 days.

Safety Measures: Store securely and keep out of reach of pets and children to prevent accidental overdose.

Consultation with Veterinarian: Essential for determining the correct dosage and to adjust treatment based on susceptibility tests.


Cephalexin (RILEXINE®) is a vital medication in the treatment of bacterial infections in dogs. Its effectiveness, coupled with the need for careful dosage and administration, underscores the importance of veterinary guidance in its use. Always consult a veterinarian for the best care of your furry friend.

FAQs about Cephalexin (RILEXINE®) for Dogs

Q1: Can Cephalexin be used for any breed of dog?

A1: Cephalexin is generally safe for all breeds. However, individual sensitivities, including allergies to β-lactam antibiotics, can vary. It’s crucial to have a veterinarian assess your dog’s health history before starting any new medication.

Q2: How does Cephalexin work in treating bacterial infections in dogs?

A2: Cephalexin functions by disrupting the synthesis of the bacterial cell wall. This disruption is lethal to bacteria, particularly those causing skin infections like pyoderma. Its effectiveness is time-dependent, meaning its concentration in the bloodstream over time is critical for its success.

Q3: What should I do if I miss a dose of Cephalexin for my dog?

A3: If a dose is missed, administer it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s nearly time for the next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume the regular dosing schedule. Avoid giving two doses at once as this can increase the risk of adverse reactions.

Q4: Are there any specific storage instructions for Cephalexin?

A4: Store Cephalexin in a cool, dry place, ideally at room temperature between 20°C-25°C (68°F-77°F). Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures and keep the medication in its original container, away from moisture and direct sunlight.

Q5: How long does it take to see improvement in my dog’s condition after starting Cephalexin?

A5: Improvement can typically be observed within a few days of starting treatment. However, the full course should be completed to prevent relapse or resistance, even if your dog appears to be better. Consult your veterinarian if there’s no noticeable improvement within a reasonable timeframe.

Q6: Can Cephalexin cause any interactions with other medications my dog might be taking?

A6: Cephalexin can interact with other medications, potentially altering their effectiveness or increasing the risk of adverse effects. Always inform your veterinarian about all medications and supplements your dog is taking before starting Cephalexin.

Q7: Is Cephalexin safe for pregnant or lactating dogs?

A7: The safety of Cephalexin in pregnant or lactating dogs has not been conclusively established. Use in these cases should be based on a risk-benefit assessment by a veterinarian.

Q8: What are the signs of an allergic reaction to Cephalexin in dogs?

A8: Allergic reactions can include symptoms such as hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or severe gastrointestinal upset. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, seek immediate veterinary care.

Q9: Can human Cephalexin be given to dogs?

A9: While the active ingredient is similar, human medications often differ in concentration, formulation, and additives, which can be harmful to dogs. Always use veterinary-specific formulations and dosages prescribed by a veterinarian.

Q10: Is it necessary to complete the entire course of Cephalexin even if my dog seems better?

A10: Yes, completing the full course is crucial to ensure the infection is fully eradicated and to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance. Stopping the medication early can lead to a relapse or more severe infection.

Q11: How does body weight influence the dosage of Cephalexin for dogs?

A11: The dosage of Cephalexin is closely tied to the dog’s body weight to ensure efficacy while minimizing the risk of adverse effects. The standard dosage is 22 mg/kg, administered twice daily. This precise dosing helps achieve the optimal therapeutic level in the dog’s system, tailored to their size.

Q12: Can Cephalexin be used to treat other conditions besides bacterial skin infections?

A12: While Cephalexin is primarily prescribed for bacterial skin infections like pyoderma, it may also be effective against other bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections, bone infections, and respiratory tract infections, depending on the susceptibility of the bacteria involved.

Q13: What should I monitor in my dog while they are on Cephalexin?

A13: Monitor for signs of improvement in the infection, as well as any adverse reactions like diarrhea, vomiting, or changes in appetite or behavior. Regular monitoring helps in early detection of any issues, allowing for timely adjustments in treatment.

Q14: Are there dietary considerations while my dog is on Cephalexin?

A14: There are no specific dietary restrictions while a dog is on Cephalexin. However, maintaining a balanced diet is important for overall health and recovery. Some dogs might experience gastrointestinal upset, so feeding them a bland diet during treatment can be beneficial.

Q15: How quickly is Cephalexin absorbed and eliminated from a dog’s body?

A15: Cephalexin is rapidly absorbed after oral administration, with peak blood levels typically reached within 1 hour. It is primarily eliminated through the kidneys, with a significant portion excreted unchanged in the urine. This quick absorption and elimination underscore the need for consistent, timely dosing.

Q16: Can Cephalexin be used in conjunction with other antibiotics?

A16: In some cases, Cephalexin may be used alongside other antibiotics to treat complex or resistant infections. However, this should only be done under veterinary supervision to avoid adverse interactions and ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.

Q17: What are the signs of Cephalexin overdose in dogs?

A17: Signs of overdose may include severe vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, or signs of neurological distress like seizures. If you suspect an overdose, it is imperative to seek immediate veterinary attention.

Q18: How should I administer Cephalexin if my dog is resistant to taking pills?

A18: Cephalexin is available in chewable tablet form, which is often more palatable for dogs. If your dog is still resistant, you may hide the tablet in a small amount of food or a pill pocket. Never crush or break the tablet without consulting your veterinarian.

Q19: Can young puppies take Cephalexin?

A19: Cephalexin can be used in puppies, but the dosage might differ from adult dogs, and the risk of side effects could be higher. It’s essential to consult a veterinarian for the appropriate dosage and to monitor the puppy closely during treatment.

Q20: What should I do if I see no improvement in my dog’s condition while on Cephalexin?

A20: If there’s no improvement or the condition worsens, contact your veterinarian. They may need to reassess the diagnosis, adjust the dosage, or consider alternative treatments. It’s important not to change the treatment regimen without veterinary advice.

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