Can I Give My Dog Prednisone?

Can I Give My Dog Prednisone?Prednisone is a strong synthetic corticosteroid steroid used to treat a variety of issues not exclusive to us humans. It turns out that vets prescribe this drug to treat many different conditions in dogs.

If your four-legged friend has been recommended for a prescription dose of Prednisone it could very well save their life. Veterinarians will use this effective treatment when a dog is suffering from a systemic disease or condition.

It’s true that Prednisone often works wonders. Your job is to know more about this powerful drug which could one day save your pet dog’s life.

Can I Give My Dog Prednisone? Answer: Yes, as prescribed by a vet

Prednisone comes in topical, injectable and most popularly oral tablet form as a prescription but only from your vet.

This steroid acts by suppressing the immune system and blocking certain responses produced in the body. Allergies resulting in inflammation, Addison’s disease, nervous system disorders, Cushing’s disease, certain autoimmune diseases, brain swelling, spinal cord trauma and some cancers are problems some dogs face which are often treated with Prednisone.

It will affect every organ in your dog’s body, because of its strong properties, but Prednisone may be necessary.

Know What to Expect

Expect your dog to show some negative effects. The most obvious is that they’ll tend to drink more water because it dehydrates them. This will get your attention when they have to urinate frequently. It’s normal. Many people also report stomachs problems in their pets. Ask your vet if you should give it to your dog in their food in order to avoid a stomachache.

Other side effects can occur when your dog is being treated with Prednisone. Monitor your canine for abnormal behavior or adverse reactions. Fatigue, hair loss, diarrhea, weight gain, vomiting and possibly a change in behavior including slight increased aggression are all possible.

If you think a particular symptom could be very serious then take your dog back to the veterinarian for close observation.

When Not to Take Prednisone

There are certain drugs that cannot interact well with Prednisone. They are listed below so you can be sure not to make a fatal mistake:

All other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory meds, Rifampin, Phenobarbital, Salicylate, Mitotane, Phenytoin, Diuretics, Anticholinesterase, Amphotericin B, Erythromycin and some vaccines.

The above is not an extensive list. Inform your vet of any drugs that you are giving to your dog to avoid complications. Also, if your canine is diabetic or pregnant tell your veterinarian before they prescribe this glucocorticoid. Inform them if you know that your dog has a bad or weak liver because this organ plays a key role in the use of Prednisone.

Prednisone Dosage & Duration

Allow your vet to determine the proper dose when it comes to such a powerful drug. The generally accepted dosage is 0.1 to 0.3 milligrams per pound of your dog’s body weight. Confirm it with your vet beforehand.

There’s some confusion about the duration of Prednisone treatment. It really depends on what condition is being treated and because there are so many uses for the drug it’s difficult to speculate. Depending on the response to the drug and the treatment objective, duration can vary significantly. Your veterinarian may have you administer the drug by starting with a high dose and gradually reducing it over time.

Trust Your Veterinarian

Follow your vet’s instructions closely for your dog’s sake. Do not miss a dose and even the time of day, pill time, should be closely adhered to for best results. Long term use can cause serious problems in the immune system, as well as metabolic and hormonal disturbances. Trust that your vet knows when to take your dog off Prednisone.

Conclusion on Prednisone

Prednisone can work wonders for certain canine conditions but this is a controlled substance for good reason. Never attempt to administer the drug without consulting with a veterinary professional. If this drug is abused there can be very serious negative side effects. Your dog is prone to accidental death from strong medications so know the risks. Never confuse an over-the-counter medicine with a powerful prescription drug such as this.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise January, 2016

Two doses of 5mg killed my Cocker Spaniel. He had been sick and lost 5 of his 26 pounds. The vet said it was a kidney issue. I put him on renal dog food and he started eating, gaining weight and was back in a good mood, even jumping and playing. After a month or so I decided to take him back to the vet. He would shake for about 10 minutes after coming in from outside, so I took him to the vet just to see if there was anything we could do to make him feel even better.

Prednisone was prescribed for him. I gave him the first dose the following morning and by afternoon, I had him back to the vet because he wasn’t acting right, was just laying there. She gave him a shot to make him eat but did not say to discontinue the Prednisone. After hearing all wonderful things about it, I force fed him another pill. This decision will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I basically poisoned him. Within hours, his playful little body did not move. He had no strength, refused any attempt of food (even his favorite treat) and water. We were back at the vet the next morning, only this time she said that he was suffering so badly that our only choice was to put him to sleep. She gave no explanation for what happened but I know it was the Prednisone. My heart is breaking. My advice, be very careful with Prednisone. It is not the miracle drug that you are told it is and can kill.


Thomas Wilson January, 2016

My dog is going to be on this stuff for life now. She is a Westie/Jack Russel cross with a terrible skin condition. She would often scratch herself raw. I decided that the side effects will be better than that and it has given her a new lease of life in my opinion.


Edgar December, 2015

Our crossbreed Staffordshire Bull Terrier suffers from severe skin allergies. Prenisone seems to work but he now has infections as well. Can I give him Amoxcillin at the same time?


Pam December, 2015

My dog has an infection which keeps coming back. He has had 3 lots of antibiotics and most of his teeth out because of it. It only affects his mouth and one eye. He has had blood tests and a biopsy showing only infection, otherwise a healthy dog. He has been prescribed steroids but I do not feel it is right to prescribe these as they do not know the root of the problem. Can you tell me if I should go ahead with these?


Nydia September, 2015

My vet put my English bulldog on 5mg of Prednisone for inflammation of the spinal cord. He was getting better until he jumped on the couch and now he’s getting worse. I don’t know what to do. Now he doesn’t have movement in his back legs. It breaks my heart.


Lauren November, 2015

Is there an update to the condition of your dog? We just lost our dog suddenly after one single day of him being treated with prednisone. I’m here seeking answers as to why. He also lost movement in his back legs shortly before he passed on. Thank you.


Kelsey August, 2015

I’m concerned about my Pomeranian’s weight gain on prednisone. I started giving him 1.5ml of it a year ago when he was diagnosed with chronic colitis (inflammation of the colon). I’ve taken him off several times but he just regresses back to bloody stool, lack of appetite, etc. My vet said he may be on it for the rest of his life. Throughout the year I’ve managed to get him on a very low effective dosage of .05ml a night. Just enough to work, but if I give him any less his body digresses. Even at this dosage he’s still gaining weight. He’s gained 2 pounds in the last year. I’m not sure how to keep his weight off. Any suggestions?


John September, 2015

Do everything possible to get him around a female that’s in heat but do not let him breed. Instead, allow him to pant and whine and drag himself along floor and drink lots of water. Keeping a male around a seasoning female, even for just a short time, will easily take off way more than the 2 pounds your dog gained last year.


Charlotte August, 2015

My Pomeranian, a little bigger 16 pounds, had white tongue and gums. It started very fast. He was not playing and looking so tired. The vet found a very low red blood cell count. He also had a low grade fever of 102 degrees. The doctor did some testing to make sure there were no internal injuries but I was never told what caused this. In the end, I was given pills for Lyme disease and also Prednisone.


Irene August, 2015

A family member has an 8 year old Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix that’s around 13 pounds. The vet prescribed a tapered dose of Prednisone which was inadvertently given incorrectly as the same dose everyday day until it was gone, two weeks later. When the last pill was given, they noticed the tapered dosage instructions.

By that time, the dog had been vomiting and wouldn’t eat. The vet was contacted again and informed of the circumstances. He called in more prednisone! Should we be worried? The dog won’t take any now due to being ill. Please help! The vet will be called again soon but I just wanted some possible help now.


Marian August, 2015

My dog has been prescribed Prednisone by my vet. It’s for rectal itching. The dose is 5mg twice daily for 5 days, with 2.5mg for the balance. A total of 20 5mg pills were prescribed. I have noticed that he is lethargic, has a great appetite and looks larger. I am concerned for him. I don’t feel comfortable continuing this medication. He has 19 2.5mg tablets remaining. Can you tell me if it’s okay to discontinue this drug at once, or should it be gradual? I will also let my vet know this.


Barb August, 2015

Your dog must be weaned of it. If you just stop suddenly, it can cause liver and kidney damage.


Geraldine July, 2015

My vet put my 13 pound 7 year old Pekingese on 2.5mg of Prednisone for a herniated disc. I’m in the process of cutting back every other day until it’s gone. I’ve worried about picking her up, afraid it will hurt her. She wears a harness and we’ve used that to pick her up.


Marion July, 2015

My 32 pound, 6 or 7 year old, mixed breed dog is taking 5mg of Prednisone daily. She had a fever and was very weak when the vet started her on it along with an antibiotic. The vet couldn’t determine what caused the fever. She’s gotten better and so the Predisone was cut to 5mg every other day. Unfortunately, she got weaker again so the veterinarian advised us to just give her whatever seems to keep her feeling okay. She’s back on 5mg per day. Can she take this amount indefinitely?


Eileen July, 2015

My 16 year old Shepherd-mix has been diagnosed with end stage Lymphoma and was prescribed Prednisone. I’m concerned the side effects will reduce the quality of her life in the short time she has left. Am I mistaken about Prednisone?


Bruce July, 2015

Since each dog reacts differently to Prednisone, I would give it a try. When your dog stops enjoying things like toys, meals and treats then you will know it’s time to discontinue the medical efforts.


Eileen July, 2015

Thanks Bruce.


J June, 2015

My 16 pound Welch Corgi has jaw chatter and does an extensive chewing-like motion, with intermittent licking of lips for about 6 weeks now. This behavior has slightly increased. Where can I buy Prednisone without a prescription?


Sonia May, 2015

I am giving my 7 pound Chihuahua 1/2 of a 5mg pill for a herniated disk. But his appetite has since decreased. Should I worry?


Jason May, 2015

Sometimes a dog’s appetite will decrease due to discomfort. Although most pills for that will cause an increase in water intake, it is hard to fully know without knowing your dog’s age and the type of medication your pup is on.


Janice February, 2015

My vet just prescribed 5mg Prednisone for my 10 year old 13 pound Chihuahua for a heart murmur. He has had one pill and is drinking and peeing constantly. Does anyone have any suggestions for what else he can take? I don’t like the idea of this drug.


Mert Miller February, 2015

Prednisone typically makes dogs drink more and pee more. However, I think your dosage is too high for an older, small dog. I gave one 10mg split in half, twice a day to a 90 pound Lab for about ten days for a temporary condition. Heart murmur is probably permanent and long term, but treatable. Try cutting back and/or spread over 2 doses. I think 5mg is a lot for a little peanut. Good Luck!


Jill February, 2015

My 3.5 pound Maltese was put on Prednisone for possible meningitis. He is eating like crazy. They are going to lower his dose to just a minimal therapeutic amount. Does anyone know if this will decrease his appetite? He has gained a pound and is getting fat.


Eleanora June, 2015

Jill, you need to be strong. Cut the food down. A dog can only eat what you allow. My dog had Meningitis of the brain and spine and was given 3 days to 3 months to live. A specialist hospital put her on Prednisone and she had 5 rounds of Chemotherapy. It was painful watching her go through this but 3 years later she is still alive and well. The Prednisone made her very hungry but I watched her weight very carefully.


Lolita November, 2014

Within a week Prednisone made my dog worse and more sedated. It is a medicine that just helps the pain or inflammation but not the underlining issue. I got her off of it and started to use milk thistle, apple cider vinegar and Reiki. Then she was up and moving. I hope that helps.


Clare November, 2014

Our White Boxer has been on Prednisone (therapeutic 2.5mg) since the big itch started 3 years ago. She’s had blood tests, skin scrapings; the whole lot came up with no allergies. Just yesterday she had hives and was given 2.5mg of steroids, but then when evening came they were up again.

To make things worse, her vet is away. Hubby has just gone for the Piriton, she’s has been on it before. I didn’t think the Prednisone took pain away. It does take the itching away but I wouldn’t have thought it was for pain relief! Isn’t something like Metacam more for pain?


Janet December, 2014

I was told by a vet to never to give Metacam while taking Prednisone. She also said there should be a 5-day interval before starting the other drug. Metacam does contain pain inhibitors and takes inflammation down. Prednisone is a steroid and we have given it to our Labradoodle for his chronic ear infections. It seems to work for a time, but his allergies always come back.


Judy January, 2015

Just saw your post and wanted to pass this along. Our dogs were suffering just as yours. As a last resort we stopped all commercial dog foods and home cooked dog foods, and started feeding them only raw meats, eggs, poultry, fish, etc. It was a miracle turnaround for both of them. No more itching, sores, scratching and they are having the best lives ever. Best of luck to you.


Linda June, 2015

I agree with Judy on this one. My parent’s dog suffered with allergies for years, until they took him off regular dog food. He now eats the refrigerated tubes of raw food and with the addition of fish oil to every meal. No more allergies!


Alex November, 2014

I have recently started my 15 year old Lab/Collie cross on Prednisone. It’s given her a new lease of life. She gets up without crying in pain. I’ve decided at 15 it’s worth risking the side effects for her to be pain free and really enjoying life with our 16 week old puppy and us, her family.


Wanda May, 2015

What dosage do you give your Lab/Collie? I have a mixed but mostly lab, 12 years old and around 75 pounds. I’m sure there are heart worms and, from research, I gather pieces travel to the lungs resulting in bronchitis. Her cough and breathing were so bad so I tried .5mg Prednisone twice per day. After 2 days I saw a remarkable improvement. But I don’t know how long to treat and if following maintenance with low dosage is possible? Thanks for any input.


Suzanne October, 2014

Is Prednisone effective in dogs for pain?


James December, 2014

Hi Suzanne. It’s not typically used to treat pain directly. Of course, its effective use for some of the conditions mentioned in this article, such as inflammation, can reduce pain overall. I hope that helps.


Elaine August, 2014

I have had my dog since she was nine; she is 12 now. Most of her life she’s suffered from dermatitis. Sometimes her skin is raw. I cannot afford a vet’s services at the present time so my friend gave me 5mg of Prednisone that she gives to her dog for the same problem. My dog weighs about 8kg. My friend suggested 1/2 a tablet every second night but I’m not sure. I bathe her weekly in a quality medicated canine shampoo.


Anne February, 2016

Try Apoquel. It stops my dog from itching. Nothing else worked.


Terence March, 2014

There are a number of synthetically produced glucocoticoids available. They typically have names ending in “-sone” – names like Prednisone. The downside of synthetic steroid hormones is they can have a very long list of side effects which can create more serious health problems than the problem they were prescribed to treat.


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