Can You Give Your Cat Benadryl and if so How Much?

You probably don’t think about it much, but whenever you have an allergic reaction, you can just take a Benadryl for the symptoms. Sure, and you may have even heard of being able to give dogs Benadryl for the same reasons as well, but what about your cat? Can you give you cat Benadryl and if so, how much?

Well, first of all, yes, you can give your cat Benadryl; it’s safe. As the medication is a simple antihistamine, it’s not only relatively safe for humans and dogs, but also for cats, too. Benadryl is the brand name of the medication, but diphenhydramine is what the active ingredient is called, which can also be purchased in generic form as well. In addition, the allergy medicine your veterinarian may give you is the exact same medication you can pick up at your local grocery/drug/dollar store.

How to Give Benadryl to a Cat

Cats aren’t exactly easy to get them to do anything, especially take medicine. The best way to give your cat Benadryl is to use the liquid form, administering it via a mouth syringe. However, some cats may refuse to take the medicine due to not liking the smell or the way it tastes. If your cat is one of these which refuse to take it, you can see if your local pharmacy can flavor the liquid with something more cat-appealing, such as fish, chicken, or some other cat-approved flavor. Enhancing the flavor with something more cat-approved will increase your chances of getting your cat to take it. If you can camo a pill in food, then perhaps it would be easier for you to take that route. Some cats may gobble a favorite morsel of food without much thought as to what’s hiding in it.

As far as how much medicine you should give to your cat, most vets recommend 1 mg of active ingredient per pound of weight. An average sized cat would most likely take a half of pill, which generally contain 25 mg of the active ingredient. Liquid Benadryl can be adjusted accordingly.

Why Does a Cat Need Benadryl?

Most commonly this medication would be given to cats for allergic skin reactions which are itchy, bug bites, or reactions to vaccinations. It can also be used as a mild sedative that can be used during long car rides. It can also be used for motion sickness and nausea. However, if motion sickness is what needs to be treated, there are other medications better suited for that condition.

What to Watch Out For

Benadryl can cause a wide variety of symptoms in cats the same way it does in people, such as drowsiness, which is a common, harmless symptom. The active ingredient, however, may cause you cat to act hyper or amped up. Giving too much Benadryl can lead to an overdose, which can lead to another set of side effects, such as difficulty breathing, seizure, coma, and possibly death. Before giving your cat any new medication, consult with your vet first. Be sure the medication won’t interfere with other medications or conditions the cat may have. In addition, the symptoms for which you’re giving Benadryl for may be pointing to an underlying illness, so be aware. It’s always best to seek your vet’s advice before giving your cat any new medicine, including Benadryl.


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