Benadryl for Cats: Is It Safe? (Everything You Should Know)

Many of us have heard the name Benadryl for its massive application in an allergic reactions. Moreover, it is a good remedy for the common cold, runny nose, insomnia, runny nose as well as motion sickness. Even, some people use Benadryl on their dogs too! I know what you are thinking.

“Can I give Benadryl to my cat”, right? Well, in this article, I’ll answer the question in detail. So, keep on reading.

Generally, medicines that are produced for human consumption is not safe for cats. Especially, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and similar types of medicines are not safe at all for cats. However, there are a number of medicines which is safe for human as well as cats. Fortunately, Benadryl is one of these medicines.

What is Benadryl?

Well, this section may seem to you some scientific mumbo-jumbo. But, I am explaining as simply as I can. Generally, Benadryl is an antihistamine whose jobs are to reduce the amount of histamine in the body. Histamine in our body is responsible for all kinds of common cold, runny nose, itching and motion sickness.

Thus, by reducing the amount of natural histamine in our body, Benadryl treats these common colds, runny nose, itchy eyes and motion sickness. Some doctors also prescribe Benadryl to make children sleepy.

Like I said earlier, you can also use Benadryl on pets such as cats and dogs to treat various health problems.

Can you give Benadryl to cats?

In short, Yes. You can give Benadryl to cats. Benadryl is a widely used medicine for humans that treats the common colds, runny nose, itching, and motion sickness. Generally, vets don’t prescribe medicines that are formulated for human consumption to cats. But, Benadryl is an exception.

It is perfectly safe to use Benadryl on cats for specific situations like when you are traveling with your cat or when she is suffering from motion sickness. You can also treat the anxiety and allergic reaction of cats with it. However, always consult with a specialized vet before applying Benadryl to your furry friend.

When do cats need Benadryl?

The most common use of Benadryl on cats is when they are traveling with you or suffering from motion sickness. Benadryl works as a mild sedative for cats. Benadryl is most used on nervous or skittish cats.

Suppose, you need to visit the vet or go to a distant place with your cat. If your cat is very skittish, then it might be a nightmare to get her to the vet. In such cases, Benadryl comes in handy.

Also, cat owners use Benadryl when transferring their cat to a new home, when noisy guests are coming to house and on many other occasions which can make a cat nervous. Benadryl calms down the nerve of cat and thus, reduces the nervousness.

Another use of Benadryl is against an allergic reaction. You may know, that cats from all around the globe suffer from various types of allergic reactions.

If your cat is suffering from one, you can use Benadryl on her.

However, for this purpose, you must consult with a specialized vet beforehand as your cat may need other types of medications too depending on the type and severity of the allergic reaction.

These symptoms may suggest that you can use Benadryl on your cats:

  • Excessive scratching which indicates an allergic reaction
  • Motion sickness during traveling
  • Being extremely restless or anxious

It is always recommended to consult with the vet before applying Benadryl to your cat. It is better safe than to be sorry, right?

How to give Benadryl to cats?

Benadryl can only be administrated to cats orally.

However, you can administrate Benadryl in different forms such as the liquid, solid pill or crushed pill, depending on what your cat prefers.

Many cat owners use the liquid form of Benadryl on their cats as this is by far the easiest method.

According to Dr. Faught, the quickest and less stressful way to administrate Benadryl on your cat is using liquid Benadryl in a syringe. However, your cat might not like it because of the weird taste or odor.

If you find it hard to make your cat take Benadryl, you can talk to the staffs of local pharmaceuticals and they may infuse a cat-approved flavor such as chicken liver, fish etc. to the Benadryl. It might make your cat drink the liquid Benadryl.

If you prefer to choose a solid pill over liquid Benadryl, it is perfectly safe too. But keep in mind that, your cat might not like the taste of it.

So, you may need to infuse cat-approved flavor with it too. It increases the success rate of your cat taking the medicine. Whatever method you choose, always ensure your own and your cat’s safety first.

Here are a couple of factors you need to look out for when administrating Benadryl to your cat:

  • Before even trying to administrate Benadryl, make your cat as calm as possible. It will prevent any possible accidents. Make her comfortable with your soothing voice, pet her, and gently hug her. Don’t let her guess that something unpleasant might be coming on the way. Before applying for the medicine, take your cat’s favorite blanket and wrap her down firmly. it will ensure your cat can’t move around and scratch someone when applying for the medicine. Ensure that your cat is not in any kind of pain.
  • If you find that your cat is not taking the Benadryl in either liquid or solid pill form, there is another way you can administrate it. Take the solid Benadryl pill and crush it completely to powder. Now, take your cat’s favorite treat or food and mix the treat with Benadryl powder. Now, give the treat to your cat. The strong smell of the treat should overcome the odor of the Benadryl and it might trick your cat into taking the medicine. You can also hide the pill in her food.

This is how you should apply Benadryl to your beloved cat.

Safe dosages of Benadryl to cats

There is no magic formula of dosing the right amount of Benadryl to your cat because each cat is different on its own. Even being the same breed, some cat may need a larger amount of medicine while some may do well with smaller portions.

However, Dr. Faught said that a general rule of thumb is to dose one milligram of Benadryl for one pound.

For an average-sized cat, it is better to dose only half of a 25 mg Benadryl pill. If your cat weighs 4 pounds, she might need only 4 mL of liquid Benadryl for the right dosage. If you are still confused, contact with a specialized vet. It is by far the safest method than assuming the right amount of dosage.

Never ever try to overdose Benadryl to your cat. Many owners get tempted to use extra Benadryl when the previous dose didn’t yet kick in.

It might cause serious consequences to your kitten, adult or even old cats too. If you don’t observe any significant effect with the previous dose of Benadryl, be patient. You can consult with the vet. But, don’t push your luck and dose extra amount of Benadryl.

Take these precautions when giving Benadryl to your cat

  • Similar to many other medicines, Benadryl has a series of side effects too. These side effects may appear on humans as well as on cats too. As one use of Benadryl is to make children sleepy, it can make your cat feel drowsy or sleepy. I also have heard stories of Benadryl making cats hyper or amped up. On a serious note, an overdose of Benadryl may cause serious problems like coma, seizure, difficulty in breathing and at worst, death.
  • Just like before administrating any new medicine, talk over to your vet about the medicine. Ask your vet if the medicine is safe for your cat and if there are any serious side effects. Also, if your cat is already taking any medication, ask the vet if Benadryl will cause any interference with it.
  • Always remember that Benadryl treats the symptoms only. It doesn’t get rid of the root problem.
  • If you see serious motion sickness or allergic reaction on your cat, it is better to take her to the vet right away than to administrate Benadryl on your own. You don’t know what might be the root problem your cat is facing. That’s why to leave it up to the professional vets.

Benadryl for cats’ side effects

Like all other medicines, Benadryl carries some side effects too. These side effects may appear on humans as well as on cats too. These are the general side effects of administrating Benadryl to cats:

  • Being extremely drowsy or sleepy
  • Being disoriented
  • The difficulty of breathing and excessive panting
  • Overdose may result in coma, seizure or many other serious problems.

Overdosing of Benadryl is lethal for cats. So, if you are not careful with the correct dosage of Benadryl to your cat, it might even lead her to death.

Dangers of giving Benadryl to cats

Benadryl may come with many dangers along with side effects. You have to be prepared and cautious about these dangers. Here are some of the dangers associated with Benadryl:

  • If your cat is already taking any medicine, the use of Benadryl may interfere with the previous medications. Ask your vet before applying Benadryl to your cat in such situations.
  • If you are not an experienced cat owner, it is very much possible that you are misreading the symptoms of your cat. The real problem may lie somewhere else and Benadryl will not cure the root problem. Moreover, the application of Benadryl may even worsen the health status of your cat if the problem us undiagnosed.
  • In case of a severe allergic reaction, don’t use Benadryl on your own. It is better to take your cat right to the vet immediately. The severe allergic reaction can be a symptom of many underlying problems and Benadryl might not be the solution to these.
  • Always be sure before applying Benadryl. Unnecessary medications may shorten the lifespan of your cat.

Benadryl for cats’ sedation

Sedation is the process of calming your cat’s nerves through the use of external medicines or also known as, sedatives. Many cat owners use Benadryl as a sedative. It works as a mild sedative very efficiently. The chemical elements of Benadryl react with the nervous system and make your cat calm and cool.

By dosing the right amount, you can sedate your cat with Benadryl. However, I would advise consulting with a vet prior to applying Benadryl. When it comes to medication, you can never be too safe.

Liquid Benadryl for Cats

Benadryl can be administrated to cats in many forms mainly such as a solid pill, crushing power, or a liquid.

The most popular way to apply Benadryl is the liquid form. All you need to do is take a syringe and fill it with the required amount of liquid Benadryl. Then, try to make your cat drink the liquid Benadryl.

If she doesn’t like the taste or odor of the medicine, ask the staff in the pharmacy to infuse the Benadryl with a cat-approved flavor such as chicken liver, fish etc.

Benadryl for cat allergy

One of the most popular uses of Benadryl is treating an allergic reaction. It can treat allergy to both humans and cats.

Cats from all over the globe can suffer from different types of allergic reaction. If you see excessive scratching in your cat, chances are she is suffering from an allergic reaction.

If the allergic reaction is in a mild or medium stage, you can cure it with applying Benadryl. However, if the reaction has gone too much, you should immediately take your cat to the vet.

Also, remember that allergic reactions can be a symptom of an underlying root problem. Benadryl can treat the symptom, but the root problem won’t go away. The smart thing to do is take your cat to the vet and let the vet examine her.

Can you give cat Benadryl for sneezing?

Sneezing can be a symptom of an allergic reaction or nasal infection. You can use Benadryl for sneezing as primary medicine.

But, if the sneezing continues, you need to visit the vet immediately. Remember that, sneezing can be a symptom of many underlying problems. So, it is better if a vet performs a full body check-up on your cat.

So, this is my full guide on Benadryl for cats. I hope the guide has succeeded to give you a basic idea on how to use Benadryl for cats. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment box below. I’ll reply as soon as I can.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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