Benadryl for Cats


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Can Benadryl be given to cats?

Benadryl is a drug that is sometimes recommended for use in cats. While it is generally safe to administer, it is important to know what exactly Benadryl is, how much to give your cat, and when to know if your cat needs Benadryl or if it is safe to administer. Benadryl for cats with underlying treatment or existing pre-medical conditions.

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl is the brand name for a medicine called diphenhydramine hydrochloride. Benadryl is an over-the-counter antihistamine, so it does not require a prescription.

This antihistamine can be purchased in tablets, capsules, liquid gels, and even liquids in various concentrations or milligrams, depending on your needs.

Sometimes Benadryl is used in combination with other medications that can be harmful to a cat. For this reason, you will need to be sure to read the packaging carefully when purchasing the medication to ensure that diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, is the only medication in the product that you are purchasing for your cat.

Generic diphenhydramine is also available, along with a faster-acting injectable form that your vet will have available. If you are considering using Benadryl to treat your cat's symptoms, consult your veterinarian first.

How does Benadryl work?

Since it is an antihistamine, Benadryl blocks the release of histamine and acetylcholine in the body. These chemicals are released into the body in response to an allergic reaction not only in cats, but also in humans, dogs, and other animals. Benadryl treats the symptoms of an allergic or allergic response by drying watery eyes and runny nose and decreasing swelling, sneezing, itching, etc.

What to treat with Benadryl

Cats that may need Benadryl are usually those with allergies to vaccines or who travel by car or plane, but there are other reasons why your cat may be advised to take it. Here are some specific examples of the use of Benadryl:

  • When a cat is stung or bitten by an insect, such as a bee or a scorpion.
  • When a cat is bitten by a poisonous reptile, such as a snake.
  • When a cat has an itchy or scratchy rash from environmental or food allergies. Flea allergy dermatitis is a common problem in cats and Benadryl is often recommended.
  • When a cat is traveling and may have dizziness. This will help prevent your cat from vomiting.
  • When a cat needs something to make it a little sleepy, such as during a trip, so it doesn't get impatient, bored, or cry when it needs to be calm and quiet
  • When pretreatment with an antihistamine is necessary before a vaccine is known to cause an allergic reaction in this cat. Reactions to the vaccine are not common, but if they occur or have happened to your cat in the past, Benadryl will be administered.

You should have Benadryl on hand in your pet's first aid kit if you have a cat, even if you never intend to travel with it or if it has no known allergies. It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict when an insect will bite your cat and cause an allergic reaction.

If Benadryl is available, you may be able to lessen the allergic response your cat would experience by giving it a dose. However, before using Benadryl or any over-the-counter medication, consult your veterinarian first.


Some allergic reactions can be fatal. Some cats react so severely to poisonous insects or reptiles that they cannot breathe without immediate veterinary attention. This is especially true for brachycephalic or "flat-faced" breeds, such as Persians, who have already naturally compromised the airways without the additional constriction of the airways that an allergic reaction can cause.

When not to use Benadryl

Benadryl is not safe for all cats. Here are some examples of situations in which a cat should not take Benadryl:

  • If you have a very stressed or anxious cat and you want it to be sleepy. Your anxiety and stress need to be addressed and treated rather than just sedating you with Benadryl.
  • If your cat has heart disease, consult your vet before giving Benadryl.
  • If your cat has high blood pressure, consult your veterinarian before administering Benadryl.
  • If your cat has glaucoma, consult your vet before giving him Benadryl.
  • If your cat is taking specific medications, you should discuss the safety of giving your cat Benadryl with your veterinarian before administering it.
  • Benadryl is not the only remedy for a poisonous reptile or insect bite. Your cat needs immediate veterinary attention.

Benadryl dosage for cats

Generally, cats take 1 mg of Benadryl for every pound of body weight two to three times a day. This means that a 12.5-pound cat will take half a 25-mg tablet of Benadryl up to three times a day, as recommended by her veterinarian. Cats weighing less than 12.5 pounds can be more easily dosed with Children's Benadryl Liquid because it can be dosed more accurately.

Possible side effects and risks of Benadryl

Benadryl can cause drowsiness, dry mouth, or urinary retention and potentially cause gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea and/or vomiting. In cats, it can also cause the opposite of what is used. This is called the paradox effect and a very excited or nervous cat is usually the result of this effect.

Benadryl overdose

Giving your cat too much Benadryl can cause lethargy or excitement. Sometimes a cat can also develop dry mouth, respiratory depression, seizures, go into a coma, or even die if given enough.

Before giving your cat any type of medication, supplement, or over-the-counter medication, you should always discuss it with your veterinarian.


Before giving your cat any type of medication, supplement, or over-the-counter medication, you should always discuss it with your veterinarian.

Enjoy The Video Tutorial about How to Sedate a Cat With Benadryl

Source: Traveling With Your Cat

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