For both humans and cats, the over-the-counter medication Benadryl can treat more than just allergies. The side effects of Benadryl can help ease other conditions. Even in humans, the active ingredient in Benadryl is used to calm the nerves. As always, consult your veterinarian before giving your cat human medication.
Benadryl for Kitty Nerves
Humans who have taken Benadryl know that one of its side effects is a sedative one. In fact, the active ingredient in Benadryl, diphenhydramine, is sometimes prescribed to both humans and cats for this effect. It also has an anti-nausea effect, which can be useful in preventing nervous cats from getting sick. Benadryl is often recommended for traveling cats for these reasons. It helps calm them and prevent motion sickness. The recommended dosage is 0.5 to 2 mg per pound of your cat's weight every 8 to 12 hours. For example, if your kitty weighs 10 pounds, a low dose would be 5 mg and a high dose would be 20 mg.
Potential Side Effects
Besides sedation and an antinausea effect, Benadryl can have other side effects in kitties. These include lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea and possible vomiting. Diphenhydramine tastes bitter to cats and may cause profuse drooling temporarily.
Tell your vet about any health conditions your cat has before giving him Benadryl. Even if you are not aware of any health problem, you should have your cat examined by his vet just to make certain that nothing has developed since his last exam. If he gets a clean bill of health, be sure to get his exact weight and double-check with your vet about the right dose for him. Cats who have glaucoma, high blood pressure, trouble urinating, heart or lung disease or an overactive thyroid should not be given Benadryl. Males who have prostate problems and females who are pregnant or nursing should not be given Benadryl.
Allergies and Drug Interactons
Obviously, if you know your cat is hypersensitive or allergic to Benadryl, it should not be given to him again. Benadryl can also interact with certain other drugs. These include epinephrine, tranquilizers, heparin and barbiturates. Check with your vet before giving your kitty Benadryl if he is on any other medication, whether prescription or over-the-counter.
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