Can You Give Cats Benadryl?

Spring has sprung and with it brings all sorts of allergens. And not just for us humans, but sometimes they affect our cats, too. However, allergies in the feline species don't just have to be environmentally-related, anything can affect your cat's health in terms of this itchy condition.

When humans suffer from a reaction to something, we may reach for the Benadryl. But what about our pets? Can you give cats Benadryl?

In this post we are going to answer that question, look at some of the reasons you may want to use this medication and how to go about doing so. Plus, there are also some precautions, so check those out before using this drug.

What is Benadryl?

According to PetMD, it is safe to give our feline friends Benadryl. But what exactly is this "miracle itch eraser?" Benadryl is actually the name brand for the drug with the active ingredient called, diphenhydramine.

This antihistamine can be purchased from your veterinarian's office or found in those generic brands of Benadryl at your local drugstore.

What is Benadryl Used for In Cats?

Benadryl is mostly used to fight off the itchy and sneezing symptoms produced by a reaction to an allergen. This could be a bug bite or something else that made contact with your pet's skin.

Diphenhydramine is also used for cats that react to vaccinations and as a mild sedative to help calm stressed or anxious cats (usually for long trips). If you are in a bind, you can also use Benadryl for your cat's motion sickness, but it's always best to get an anti-nausea drug for this purpose.

How Do I Give Benadryl to My Cat?

This drug comes in both liquid and pill form, but as any pet parent will attest to, giving a cat something that smells or tastes bad is almost impossible. If your cat won't take the normal Benadryl, you can ask a compounding pharmacy to flavor the diphenhydramine with a flavor more palatable to the feline species like fish or chicken, then use a syringe to administer it to your cat.

Another way is to hide the pill form of this drug in your cat's favorite soft treat, a piece of fresh chicken or fish or canned food.

Dosage of Benadryl Used in Cats

According to Dr. John Faught, DVM and medical director (Firehouse Animal Health Center, Austin, Texas) his office use of diphenhydramine is the one milligram per pound of body weight guide. For an average-size cat (about 10 pounds) you can give half a 25-milligram tablet or about four milligrams of the liquid form that has a concentration of 12.5mg/5ml.

If you are not sure about the correct dosage for your cat, always err on the side of too little. You can give your cat a bit more if the symptoms persist; however, overdosing your cat on diphenhydramine can lead to seizures, coma, difficulty breathing and even death.

Precautions When Using Benadryl in Cats

As with humans, Benadryl can either make your cat very drowsy or hyperactive. Before using Benadryl speak with your veterinarian, especially if your feline friend is on any other medication.

Also be aware that Benadryl will only take away the symptoms of the allergen, not necessarily the cause itself. For example, if your cat is suffering from a flea or mite infestation or is reacting to a food additive, you will have to treat the underlying problem in order to stop the reactions once-and-for-all.

Additionally, if your cat is having a severe allergic reaction that is causing him to have trouble breathing, get to a veterinarian immediately for emergency treatment.

Yes, Cats Can Have Benadryl!

Using Benadryl for mild or moderate reactions to histamines is a good way to bring your cat some immediate relief from the problem. However, be sure to treat the underlying issue. You don't want to have your best furry friend "living" on diphenhydramine unless your veterinarian has instructed you to do so. Most often, finding the source of the allergic reaction and treating it will stop your cat from experiencing those itchy and sneezing symptoms.

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