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    Can You Give Benadryl To Cats?

    As a cat owner, you would do anything for your furry friend. This includes giving them medicines to help when they are sick or providing them with cat insurance.

    Here we will examine a particular medicine called Benadryl. We will dive into its uses, understanding how it works, what it’s used for in cats, cat allergies, and more. By understanding these, it is our hope that you can rest easy knowing your pets are safe and you have another way of helping them when needed. 

    However, we must understand more about the medicine.

    What Is Benadryl?

    Benadryl is an antihistamine that contains diphenhydramine, which is the generic name of the drug. Its uses include relieving allergies, hay fever, colds, and motion sickness symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. It is safe for animals to take in the proper doses. 

    Understanding How Benadryl Works

    Benadryl blocks histamines, a substance created by your body when it experiences an allergic reaction. It soothes muscles, helping your body to relax, hence why it can also be used as a sedative. For a runny nose and watery eyes, it blocks another substance called acetylcholine.

    Can You Give A Cat Benadryl?

    Benadryl is safe for cats if they are given the proper dosage. It is often used to treat for itchy skin reactions due to allergies, vaccine reactions, bug bites, nausea, and can be used as a mild sedative for cats going on car rides. 

    What Is Benadryl For Cats Used For?

    Cat Allergies

    Cats can develop allergies over time to different things such as food, vaccines, environmental toxins. Allergy symptoms include: sneezing more than usual, coughing, wheezing, constant itching, irritated skin, red eyes with more discharge, ear infections, diarrhea, vomiting, snoring, and swollen paws. 

    A severe allergic reaction can cause your cat to go into an anaphylactic shock. This could have devasting effects for your feline, including death. Before this happens, though, giving Benadryl to ease allergy symptoms could be lifesaving. 

    Benadryl can help ease these symptoms. However, it is essential to make sure you are not masking a more significant issue. This could include a cat cold, fleas, and other possible underlying problems.

    Skin Allergies

    Skin allergies can be caused by bug bites, vaccines, and infected scratches. Different things cause different parts of the skin to be itchy. For example, flea allergies appear in the form of your cat constantly scratching or biting their tail and back, while food allergies will generally make their head and neck itchy. Cats can develop allergies over time, so be sure to check their skin after every vaccination in case they have developed an allergy to the medication.

    Other medications can be prescribed for skin allergies. However, Benadryl is often used for treatment.

    Bug Bites

    Cats that spend time outdoors are often exposed to many insects, such as fleas, ticks, mosquitos, bees, and more. Bites can cause weeks of constant scratching and itching, often leading to an infection. Specific bugs and parasites can cause a fever in cats, which can be very dangerous.

    A good rule of thumb is if you are experiencing bug bites, such as from mosquitos, your cat is most likely being bitten too. Examining their skin can be extremely helpful in finding and treating bug bites. 

    Mild Sedative

    When taking your pet for a long car ride, it is recommended to use Benadryl. It will act as a mild sedative, allowing your cat to travel in peace. Crates often cause anxiety, meaning Benadryl is a must for these situations.

    It is vitally important to follow the dosage instructions accurately. Since Benadryl acts as a sedative, giving too much to a small animal such as a cat can be extremely harmful. Using a syringe can help to measure the medicine dosage accurately, allowing little room for error. 

    Reactions to Vaccines

    Many cats have allergic reactions due to vaccines and new medications being administered. They can develop symptoms such as red eyes with discharge, swollen lips, hives, itchiness, and a mild fever. Benadryl can help reduce the irritations as it does with other skin reactions by relieving the symptoms. 

    New allergies can develop over time, meaning your cat could develop an allergy to a vaccine they’ve received before. Therefore it is crucial to check and monitor your pet’s skin after every vaccine they receive to make sure they are not suffering such a reaction.

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    How To Give Benadryl To A Cat

    Benadryl is always given orally in a tablet or liquid form. Many veterinarians recommend the liquid form because it is more convenient to administer by using a syringe. It is vitally important to only give pure Benadryl, checking the box the make sure no other medications are present.

    By using a syringe to administer the Benadryl, it ensures that you give the exact dose. Going over the recommended dose can have irreversible effects on your cat or even cause death. You can buy a 1 mL or 3 mL syringe for your local pharmacy. 

    Benadryl Precautions

    Always check with your veterinarian first to make sure your pet can handle Benadryl or that it won’t interfere with other medications your cat is taking.

    Medications that interfere with Benadryl:

    • Amitraz: tick prevention
    • Central Nervous System Depressants: treat anxiety
    • Epinephrine: treats anaphylaxis
    • Furazolidone: an antibacterial agent
    • Selegiline: for cognitive dysfunction
    • Heparin Sodium/Calcium: treats diseases with blood clotting
    • Warfarin Sodium: treats and prevents blood clots

    You should always make sure you have the proper dosage of Benadryl based on your cat’s weight, medical history, and current medications. There are alternatives to Benadryl as well to keep in mind.

    For food allergies, try doing an elimination diet to determine the food that is irritating. Once the food is identified, eliminate it from your cat’s diet. Keep in mind that cats can suddenly develop allergies to the food they’ve been eating their entire lives.

    For environmental allergens, veterinarians may recommend cortisone or steroids. IN the case that the allergies are unpreventable, they will prescribe antihistamines to help slow the irritations.

    For insect allergies, medicated shampoos, topical ointments, or antibiotics can be used to help resolve the issue. Antihistamines or steroids cal help in severe cases.

    Benadryl Dosage

    The dosage for an average-sized cat is typically 2-4 mg. Many vets recommend liquid Benadryl, which is sold in 12.5 mg per 5 mL of liquid suspension. Benadryl tablets or capsules can also be administered, coming in 12.5 mg or 25 mg tablets.

    Bottom Line

    Benadryl is safe for your feline friends in the proper dosage. It can be used to treat allergy symptoms, vaccine reactions, cat fevers, and be used as a mild sedative. Always check with your veterinarian before administering any medication!