Allergies are terrible to suffer through and Benadryl jumps to the mind as a solution for your cat. But is it safe?
The itching, the sneezing, the runny eyes and noses are a constant frustration to those that suffer them. Some of the allergens are with us constantly such as mold, mildew, and dust mites. Others are seasonal, such as tree pollens, grass pollens, and weed pollens. We aren’t the only ones that suffer.
Cats are subject to the same allergens that affect people. The most common symptom of allergies among cats is itching of the skin. They may also have coughing, sneezing, and wheezing, sometimes accompanied by discharge from the nose or eyes.
It can be disconcerting and heartbreaking to see your cat in this state. There are plenty of over-the-counter medicines to help us deal with allergies, is it possible that these could be used to relieve your cat’s allergies?
Can I Give My Cat Benadryl? Answer: Check with Your Vet First.
Medication should never be administered without first consulting a veterinarian. The active ingredient in Benadryl is diphenhydramine, an antihistamine that works on cats and dogs as well. Antihistamines work by blocking the allergic reactions. It should be noted, however, that there are several formulations of Benadryl available with additional ingredients that could be harmful to the cat. Find out from your veterinarian which formulation he approves and the dosage he feels is safe. As with people, tolerance levels to drugs are different for each individual and no risks should be taken with dosage.
Precautions and Side Effects
The symptoms of allergies may overlap with many other conditions. For example, feline viral respiratory complex is also accompanied by coughing, sneezing and watery eyes. Eye discharge can result from viral infections such as conjunctivitis, injuries to the cornea or even glaucoma.
Particularly, if your cat has glaucoma administering diphenhydramine could be dangerous, highlighting the importance of a professional diagnosis. In addition to animals with glaucoma, animals with other conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, an overactive thyroid, high blood pressure and prostate enlargement should not be given Benadryl.
The active ingredient in Benadryl also interacts with other medication, so consult with your veterinarian to determine whether other drugs that your cat is receiving could interact with diphenhydramine. If cats are administered Benadryl orally it can cause them to drool profusely. Other side effects are sedation, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and lack of appetite.
Cats get bitten and stung by insects just like the rest of us. Depending on the exact nature of the bite it could result in an emergency situation. Benadryl is effective as an emergency drug to combat the allergic reactions of insect bites and stings because it is readily available and relatively safe. Therefore, it can be used to calm and avert dangerous swelling caused by allergic reactions. Nevertheless, always consult with a veterinarian if you have the possibility to do so because even though it is a fairly safe drug, it does have adverse side effects, it does interact with other drugs, and it is possible to overdose.
Use as a Tranquillizer
Most cats hate traveling and are not shy when it comes to expressing it. Their dislike is understandable considering how keen their senses are. Their ears are designed to lead sound into the ear canal and are therefore more sensitive to higher amplitude of sound. Engines and machinery are simply deafening to them and even if they designed cat-sized ear muffs, good luck keeping those on. As Benadryl’s common side effects include sedation and lethargy, some might consider administering it as a sedative during travel or even the less pleasant aspects of grooming.
However, its performance as a sedative is unreliable and a veterinarian could prescribe a more effective and safer sedative. There are also products available that mimic a cat’s natural facial pheromones creating a state of familiarity and security for the cat that should reduce the stress of grooming or being in a new environment.
Always Consult with Your Veterinarian
The active ingredient in Benadryl, which blocks allergic reactions in humans, also has the same effect for cats. Due to the additional ingredients present in some formulations of the drug and the individual variation in dosage you should always consult a veterinarian before administering Benadryl to your pet. Although Benadryl may cause drowsiness, there are more effective and safer ways to sedate or relax your cat.