You don’t think twice about taking Benadryl for an allergic reaction, but is it safe to give your cat?
Cats should have Benadryl in small amounts and under a vet’s care. Benadryl is given to cats to help with motion sickness and allergic reactions. Most cats should not have more than half of a 25-milligram tablet.
You should always consult with your vet before administering Benadryl. While it can help with certain situations, they may advise a different method or medication. In this article, I’ll go over why your cat could use it, how to administer it properly, and signs of a potential Benadryl overdose.
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Reasons Your Cat Would Need Benadryl
If you’ve ever gotten a terrible bug bite or reaction to something unpleasant, you probably reached for the bottle of Benadryl in your medicine cabinet.
Benadryl is an antihistamine used to help the side effects of an allergic reaction. It can also help with nausea and vomiting brought on by excessive motion. You may not have realized it can help our feline friends, too.
Cats use Benadryl for the following reasons:
- Bug Bites
- Allergic Reactions
- Motion Sickness
- Vaccine Reactions
Benadryl can help your furry friend make it without getting sick if you have a long car trip ahead. The medicine can tire your cat, so you want to watch them.
Finally, if your cat has a severe allergic reaction, you should seek medical attention immediately. Unfortunately, Benadryl may not work in extreme situations.
How Much Can Benadryl Cats Have?
According to PetMd, you can give 1 mg of Benadryl per 1 lb. of your cat’s weight. For example, a ten lb. cat could receive 10 mg of the medicine. As a note, Benadryl tablets usually come in 25 mg.
However, it’s always advisable to check with your vet first. Giving the medicine in liquid form is also possible and sometimes easier to administer and measure.
Also, you want to wait 8 hours between doses to prevent a potential overdose of Benadryl in your cat. So, for those doing the math, that comes out to 3 doses in 24 hours.
Keep in mind that your cat’s weight will change the amount of Benadryl they can take. In addition, you want to be cautious about giving Benadryl to cats with health issues like glaucoma or heart problems. You also want to be mindful about giving it to pregnant or nursing cats.
How to Administer Benadryl
Now to the tricky part. How do you get your cat to take Benadryl? As you now know, you can either go the liquid or tablet route, but which way is best?
It comes down to a personal preference, especially on how easily your cat takes medication. If your cat doesn’t take a total dose, don’t try to replace it with any additional medicine. However, since you don’t have a way to know exactly how much they took in, it’s better to wait until the next dosage opportunity.
For tablets, you will want to lay your cat on your lap, carefully open their mouth, and place the tablet as far back as you can.
While this sounds challenging, you want to ensure they swallow the pill. So, you may have to hold your cat’s mouth closed. You can also put the tablet in their food, but they may not immediately eat it, which is not what you want in an emergency.
As a tip, don’t crush the Benadryl as a way to get your cat to take it. Crushed-up Benadryl takes on a bitter taste, and your cat will likely reject it.
If you offer them the liquid medicine, you will want to put the Benadryl in a syringe. Unfortunately, they probably aren’t going to drink it out of a bowl.
Place the syringe on the inside of your cat’s mouth and aim it as far back as you can reach without your cat getting too angry at you. Gently squirt the medicine into their mouth, being careful not to make them choke.
You can try to mix liquid into wet food, but again, if they aren’t eating right away, the medicine won’t be helpful for allergic reactions.
Benadryl Overdose Signs in Cats
As long as you give the proper dose, you should not see any side effects in your cat. However, if your cat has recently ingested Benadryl without your care, you want to look for any signs of illness.
The below symptoms warrant an immediate call to the vet. Unfortunately, a high level of Benadryl can have fatal consequences, so you don’t want to second guess your feline intuition.
- Excessive lethargy
- Agitated State
- Difficulty urinating
Any unusual side effects usually appear within one hour of your cat taking Benadryl. However, if you are concerned about an overdose, you will want to monitor your cat for longer.
Why Benadryl Can Be Harmful to Cats
In small doses, Benadryl can help your cat feel better in certain situations. However, like with humans, too much of anything is never good.
A cat’s body can’t handle a high dose of Benadryl and will react accordingly. In addition, you want to ensure you are treating the correct problem. There may be an underlying health condition that isn’t going to be solved by Benadryl.
While symptoms may ease, it’s not going to heal the issue. So, for example, if your cat has fleas or ticks, Benadryl isn’t going to get rid of the problem.
If the problem persists and you haven’t already, it’s best to contact your vet. A professional can run appropriate tests to ensure your kitty isn’t experiencing another ailment.
Cats can have Benadryl, but it’s best to administer it under a vet’s supervision to ensure they receive the proper dose. The antihistamine can help treat allergic reactions, motion sickness, and bug bites.
Remember, this article is to give you helpful information but should not take the place of your vet’s professional recommendation.