Can you use Benadryl for cats? Yes, Benadryl is one of the rare few human medicines that can be used for felines. Many people don’t know that this “human med” has long become a “pet med” and it surprises them when their veterinarian prescribes Benadryl to their feline friend.
Benadryl is an antihistamine medicine primarily used for allergic symptoms. Cats are a lot more sensitive to allergens than us humans, so they tend to suffer with reactions more often. This med is also used for stings and bites, and motion sickness. Benadryl for cats is a wonderful medication that can make your favorite feline feel good again.
Dose of Benadryl for Cats
There are different doses stated online for Benadryl for cats. Some people advise to use half a tablet (tablets usually have between 12.5mg and 25mg of Diphenhydramine HCI), others – one quarter of a capsule (capsules usually have 25mg of Diphenhydramine HCl), etc. I find this advice vague and quite confusing.
There is a better formula, which is conventional and is used as a rule of thumb by many vets: 1 mg of plain liquid Benadryl for every one pound your cat weighs. So, if you have a 10 pound cat, your veterinarian will probably prescribe 10 mg of the medicine. Some vets set the upper limit at 24 mg of Benadryl, even if the cat weighs more. Usually, Benadryl for cats is given 3 times a day, every 8 hours.
Consult with your vet prior to giving Benadryl to your cat. Cats are very sensitive, and a vet will take the guesswork out of giving this medicine to a cat safely.
How to Give Benadryl to Cats
It is advised that this med isn’t given on an empty stomach, so make sure that your cat eats around 30 minutes before taking Benadryl.
Your cat may foam at the mouth after ingesting Diphenhydramine. This is normal – it’s just how Benadryl reacts with feline saliva. Don’t worry; just soothe her by talking and caressing her. Some cats can even vomit, because Benadryl is quite bitter. You can avoid foaming and vomiting by inserting the med deep into your cat’s mouth (such as using a needleless syringe), using food to disguise it or using PillPockets.
A cat given Benadryl is very likely to become drowsy and sleepy; this is normal and is nothing to worry about. If you read the pamphlet inside the Benadryl packaging you will note that this is the same side affects seen in humans, and it is perfectly normal.
If you find that your cat is still suffering with symptoms a few days after administering Benadryl, then it is important to seek medical advice from a veterinarian as they can give further diagnosis on your cat’s problem.
Finally it is important that the Benadryl used is the plain kind with the only active ingredient being Diphenhydramine. For example, BENADRYL-D Allergy Plus Sinus for decongestion also has Phenylephrine as the second active ingredient. Phenylephrine may not be safe for cats.
Before using any human medicine on your family cat speak to your veterinarian. Each cat is different (younger, older, overweight, with underlying conditions, etc.) and only a vet can tell you the exact dosage to use in your case. Even though Benadryl is safe for human children, if you have a kitten do ask for a prescription from a vet because kittens are not fully developed and cannot handle medicines in the same manner as adult cats.