If you have a cat who grows anxious when it comes time for veterinarian or groomer visits, sedating your cat using Benadryl just might be a good option! Read on to find out how and when to sedate your cat using Benadryl.
Disclaimer: While this has been a generally safe method used on cats by their owners and vets alike, it is a good idea to check with your vet before giving any kind of medication to your cat.
Checking with a medical professional can ensure that the medication is safe for your cat and prevent any illness that may occur as a result.
According to Canna-Pet, Just like with any other medication, there is always a risk of side effects, and the best way to make sure your cat is safe is to consult with their veterinarian, not sites you find on the internet.
Besides checking with a vet, the most important thing to consider when giving Benadryl to your cat is the size of your cat.
Just like humans, the size, and body weight of a cat influence how a drug will act in their system. For average sized cats, you can use either half of a 25-milligram tablet or about four milliliters of liquid.
For more information on what dose you should be giving your cat, check out the tables on Cat World’s website.
Using liquid is generally easier with animals because you can stick the syringe in their mouth and shoot the medication in, but some cats will refuse to take medication if they do not like the taste or smell of it.
According to PetMD, you can go to a compounding pharmacy and have the liquid flavored like chicken or fish, which will increase the chances of your cat actually taking the Benadryl. You can also get flavored pills to make the process easier.
To administer the Benadryl to your cat, fill the syringe with the proper amount of liquid.
You will want to hold your cat’s head still using one hand to prevent them from refusing the medication while actually giving them the medication with the other hand.
Insert the syringe into the corner of your cat’s mouth so that the tip is between the teeth and the cheek and is facing the back of the head.
As you are holding your cat in this way, they might become anxious. It can help if you have another person around to help hold or pet your cat and keep them calm.
Additionally, you should talk to your cat in soothing and reassuring tones throughout this process to help keep their anxiety levels low.
If you do not have another person around to help with this step, a large towel can be used.
Wrap your cat in the towel so only the head is free, and hold the wrapped cat against your body. Be careful not to wrap the cat too tightly.
If your cat becomes too agitated while you are administering the Benadryl, you may want to stop and try again later.
This will give your cat a chance to calm down so you can start the process up again at a later time.
A common mistake here is to tip the cat’s head back to make the process easier.
According to Vet Street, This is actually a dangerous thing to do because it can cause your cat to inhale the medication rather than swallowing it.
Instead, hold their head steadily facing forward as you inject the medication from the syringe into their mouth.
After you have injected the medication into your cat’s mouth, you will want to hold their head shut to prevent them from spitting out the Benadryl before they have swallowed.
You can also promote swallowing by rubbing your cat’s throat or gently blowing on their nose. It is important to make sure your cat swallows the liquid before releasing them.
If you are using a Benadryl tablet instead of liquid, this process will be a little different.
You will still want to hold your cat close to your body in a towel or have another person around to help keep anxiety levels, but the actual administering of the drug is slightly different.
Once you have your cat contained, place your thumb and middle finger where the jaw hinges. Then, begin to pry your cat’s mouth open gently.
You will want to tip their head back slightly without yanking on their neck or holding their head too tightly.
When you have your cat’s head tilted back to an angle where you can see the back of their throat, you can drop the pill in the center of the mouth and then quickly close their mouth to prevent them from spitting the pill out.
In the same way, you would if you were administering liquid, gently rub your cat’s throat to encourage them to swallow. You will know that your cat has swallowed when they lick their lips.
After they have swallowed the pill, give them a small amount of water via a syringe. This will help the pill dissolve in their stomach.
After all this, you can give them a treat as a reward for putting up with the process.
Make sure you are giving them treats that will not cause a negative reaction when mixed with Benadryl.
You can do this by checking with your vet when you consult them about using Benadryl in the first place.
If you need a visual for how this process will play out, the first part of this YouTube video gives a good overview of how to best administer liquid medication to a cat.
There are other techniques for sedation later on in the video if you are interested in exploring options other than Benadryl for sedating your feline friend.
If you are having problems giving your cat a pill, you can try methods like a pill shooter or be disguising it in a treat pocket.
More information on tricking your cat into taking pills can be found on Animal Planet’s website.