Giving your cat Benadryl

Giving your cat Benadryl

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Is Benadryl Safe For Your Cat?

If you have an allergic reaction, it is easy for you to down some Benadryl to make your symptoms go away. As a matter of fact, a number of dogs are given Benadryl to fend off any allergic reactions. But the question is, “Is it safe to use on cats?” The answer is, “Yes, it is.” Benadryl is just the trade name for diphenhydramine hydrochloride, which is safe for use on both dogs and cats. Benadryl for cats can be an effective treatment for various conditions. You can buy it directly if you are looking for a generic form of the drug. Whether you buy it at the vet's office, at the local grocery, or online, it is the same drug, although you are more likely to find better deals online.

How to Administer Benadryl for Cat

The easiest and most effective way to dose kitty is to give him liquid Benadryl in a syringe. But a lot of cats refuse to take it as they are not too fond of the taste and odor. If that's the case with yours, then visit a compounding pharmacy and ask them whether they can flavor the drug with fish or chicken. Flavored pills are also an option. Alternatively, you can try mixing it with his food to see if he'll consume it that way. The recommended Benadryl dosage for cats is approximately one milligram per pound. If you do not have a weighing scale and your cat is average-sized, then a 25mg tablet should more than suffice. There are various oral formulations available, so you can choose the one that works best for your cat.

What is Benadryl Most Commonly Used For?

Benadryl is mostly used for allergic reactions or itchy skin, bug bites, and vaccine reactions. Occasionally, it also works as a mild sedative. So, if you are planning to go with your hyperactive cat on a long road trip, it would be a good idea to give your cat a mild dose before you start the journey. Last but not least, it can also be used as a motion sickness or anti-nausea medication. However, if that is the only symptom you are trying to treat, then you are better off going the route of anti-emetics. Benadryl works effectively to reduce nausea in cats, making it a useful medication for long trips.


Just like in humans, Benadryl can have a number of side effects in cats. Drowsiness is the most commonly observed side effect. In rare cases, it can cause your cat to get all amped up. If your cat overdoses on Benadryl, it can cause seizures, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death. As is the case with any medication, it is better to talk it over with a vet and find out whether it is suitable for your cat. You don't want to prescribe medication for your cat's symptoms on your own and then find out during the vet visit that the symptoms were part of a larger underlying condition. The vet recommends always consulting before starting any new medication to ensure safety. Always consult your veterinarian before giving Benadryl to ensure it is safe for your cat.

Benadryl is an effective antihistamine medication for cats and is often used to treat cat allergies, including food allergies and environmental allergies. It can help with allergy symptoms such as facial swelling and itchiness. The active ingredient, diphenhydramine, works well in reducing these symptoms. Always consult your vet immediately if you notice any adverse reactions or if your cat’s condition does not improve.

Additional Tips

When considering Benadryl for your cat, always discuss it with your vet to ensure it’s the right choice for your feline friend. Sometimes natural alternatives or different over-the-counter medications might be recommended depending on the situation. It’s also essential to understand the correct dosage and potential drug interactions with other pain medications or veterinary medicine your cat may be taking. In case of a bee sting or other insect bites, having Benadryl tablets or gel capsules at home can be handy to treat symptoms quickly. However, always keep a close eye on your cat after administering any new medication.

Benadryl can be a helpful over-the-counter medication to treat your cat's allergies and motion sickness when used correctly and under the guidance of your vet. Make sure you know how much Benadryl to give and always start with the lowest recommended doses to see how your cat responds. Benadryl works best when used as directed, ensuring your cat remains safe and comfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much Benadryl can I give my cat?

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is commonly used in cats as an antihistamine to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as itching and hives. Dr. Paola Cuevas, MVZ (Veterinarian), says that Benadryl can be given to cats at doses ranging from 0.45 mg/kg to 2.2 mg/kg of body weight. The prescribed frequency for Benadryl administration can vary depending on the specific case, ranging from every 12 hours to twice a day, with a maximum frequency of every 8 hours, so it’s necessary to consult a veterinarian for accurate case-specific treatment. Identifying the allergen causing the problem is also required for successful treatment. Merely treating symptoms with Benadryl may not solve the underlying issue. For example, flea saliva allergies can cause itchy skin in cats, requiring proper flea management in addition to Benadryl. Also, secondary bacterial infections from scratching may require antibiotic treatment for 2 to 4 weeks. Veterinarians often take a multi-approach approach to treat the problem's cause and any secondary issues. Dr. John, DVM, says that antihistamines like Benadryl are usually not effective in controlling skin allergies in cats. Prednisolone, a steroid, is often required to effectively manage skin allergies in cats. Allergic reactions to specific pollens may require periodic Benadryl treatment during certain seasons, as the veterinarian advises.

What happens if you give a cat Benadryl?

If you give a cat the appropriate dose of Benadryl (diphenhydramine), it can be a safe and effective way to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as itching, hives, and runny nose. The drug works by blocking the effects of histamine, a chemical released in response to an allergen that causes allergic symptoms. However, giving your cat too much Benadryl can lead to toxicity and serious side effects, including sedation, dry mouth, urinary retention, decreased heart rate, decreased respiratory rate, vomiting, or diarrhea. In severe cases, Benadryl toxicity can lead to coma or even death.

Why does Benadryl make my cat foam at the mouth?

Dr. Chyrle Bonk, DVM, says that foaming at the mouth or drooling after taking Benadryl is not uncommon in cats, especially with liquid formulations flavored with sweeteners or bitter-tasting tablets. The duration of Benadryl's intended and side effects in a cat's system is typically six to 12 hours. The recommended dosage of Benadryl for cats is not more than 1 milligram per pound of body weight, and it should not be administered more frequently than every eight hours within a 24-hour period. Exceeding the recommended dose or frequency increases the risk of Benadryl overdose in cats. Benadryl should be used cautiously and only under the guidance of a veterinarian, like all medications. Signs of Benadryl overdose in cats may include rapid breathing, slow breathing, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, seizures, unconsciousness, or death.

How long before Benadryl takes effect in cats?

According to Dr. Stephanie Howe, DVM, Benadryl (diphenhydramine) usually takes effect within 30 minutes to an hour in cats after it is given orally. The duration of action of the medication varies, but it typically lasts for 4 to 8 hours.

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