Prednisone For a Pet Dog? Read This First!

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Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid that vets prescribe to dogs for various illnesses.

Can I Give My Dog Prednisone?Sometimes this drug is a life saver. Dogs with certain systemic diseases or other chronic conditions may greatly benefit from taking Prednisone.

That said, administering this strong pharmaceutical is a big responsibility. Misuse can be deadly.

Keep reading to learn more…

Prednisone Has Uses For Dogs

But it should never be provided without your veterinarian’s guidance.

Make no mistake:

It is too dangerous to give your dog leftover Prednisone.

When used correctly, this steroid suppresses the immune system and blocks certain responses.

In particular, Prednisone helps with:

  • Allergies
  • Inflammation
  • Addison’s disease
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Brain swelling
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Cancer

Side Effects Are Common

Don’t be surprised if your dog experiences some side effects from taking Prednisone.

For one, pets tend to drink more water because the drug has a dehydrating effect. Fido may also urinate frequently which would be normal.

Unfortunately, stomach problems are also commonplace.

For this reason, a specialist may advise mixing Prednisone in with your dog’s food as a way to avoid a stomachache.

Unfortunately hair loss, fatigue, diarrhea, weight gain, vomiting and even behavioral changes (including aggression) are possible as well.

Closely watch for adverse reactions. And do not hesitate to return to your vet if a symptom seems serious.

Prednisone Pet Precautions

The fact is some drugs do not interact well with Prednisone.

The following is not an extensive list:

  • All other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Rifampin
  • Phenobarbital
  • Salicylate
  • Mitotane
  • Phenytoin
  • Diuretics
  • Anticholinesterase
  • Amphotericin B
  • Erythromycin
  • Some vaccines

To avoid complications, make your vet aware of any drugs that your dog is currently taking.

Diabetic or pregnant pups probably should not take this glucocorticoid.

Prednisone For The Liver

Prednisone is metabolized in the liver. Extra care must be taken for dogs with existing liver problems.

The good news is that Prednisone can help to limit fibrosis, improve blood’s ability to coagulate and reduce inflammation.

Head over to the retrospective study of 36 prednisolone-treated dogs for more information.

Dog Dosing And Duration

A professional must determine a correct Prednisone dose for your dog.

Looking for a general guideline?

A typical amount is 0.1 to 0.3 milligrams per pound of body weight, but your veterinarian must sign off.

There is confusion about treatment duration when it comes to dogs. It really depends on the condition being treated. With many uses for the drug, it is difficult to say.

The vet may have you administer Prednisone by starting with a high dose and gradually reduce it over time.

FYI: This steroid comes in topical, injectable and oral form. They all require a prescription.

Trust Your Veterinarian

Follow the instructions to the tee.

Do not miss a dose!

Even the time of day should be consistent for best results. Your dog is depending on you!

Long term use can cause serious problems for the immune system. Metabolic and hormonal disturbances are possible.

Trust that your vet knows when to take your dog off Prednisone.

The Bottom Line

Prednisone is a treatment option for dogs for several different medical problems.

But this corticosteroid cannot be given without a professional’s help.

Do not go it alone. Quite serious side effects can occur and your dog would be prone to all sorts of dangers, including accidental death.

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

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58 thoughts on “Prednisone For a Pet Dog? Read This First!”

  1. I have a 80 pound Chocolate Lab who suffers from chronic ear infections, mostly seasonal. I have given her prednisone in the past but am out of it. I have Rayos, which is a steroid, 5mg. Can I give that to my dog to help for ears?

  2. My 9 pound Chihuahua grabbed her son’s 1/2 of 5mg Prednisone. She is not on it but she is on heart meds. Will this hurt her?

  3. The vet gave my 30 kilogram (66 pounds) dog 20mg once a day for inflammation of her hip dysplasia. He did tests before and said she could be diabetic and her liver is swollen. She drinks a lot even before the meds. I’m worried this drug makes her drink even more. I feel it’s making her uncomfortable because of the increased thirst. Is there a different anti-inflammatory without this side effect?

  4. My vet said he was 90% sure my Brittany has a brain tumor. Her left eye was red and bulging out some. 5mg Prednisone twice a day was prescribed, but she is starting to be restless with teeth chattering. Should I stop the meds?

  5. My dog has a collapsed trachea. Surgery was too expensive. I used to take prednisone for COPD so I gave them to her. I’m waiting on a call from vet to find out what he wants to do.

    1. I have an 8 year old Yorkie with a collapsed trachea. He’s had it since he was little, but it seems to be getting worse.

      He is on Hydromet (1ml) by mouth every 12 hours. We have to keep him calm when he gets excited. He makes a sound like he is coughing. Does anyone have ideas about what to do for this? Thanks

  6. My dog Labradoodle is on 10mg every 3 days. He has T-Cell Lymphoma. Is is harming him? Do I keep him on forever?

  7. Our Yorkiepoo has Addison’s disease and was put on a daily dose of Prednisone and monthly injection of Percorten. She has gained weight and is sometimes aggressive with our Silky Terrier. Will she have to be on Prednisone for life and what long term effects might we expect? She is eight years old and much loved.

  8. Can I give my dog Prednisolone and Milk Thistle at the same time?

  9. My 10 pound Maltese has itchy skin. He bites to the point where it bleeds. The doctor prescribed Prednisone in the past and it helped him. I can’t afford going to the vet every time. However, I have some Prednisone at home. Can I give it to him?

  10. I have a 20 pound Cavalier King Charles and the vet prescribed the following:

    2 tablets of 5mg in the morning and 2 tablets at night for 14 days. Then, reduce to 1 1/2 tabs for another 14 days. Does anyone think this is high? He most likely has an autoimmune problem.

    1. That does seems high. Our vet gives 0.5mg every other day and that seems to do the trick.

    2. Yes Gail that is high. When my dog had an allergic reaction to flea saliva she was given an injection and 4 pills total to get over it. I think all were 5mg.

      My dog has dry skin and scratches and bites as well. I check the spots that I call “hot spots” because that’s how she acts when scratching or biting. I spray apple cider vinegar on the spot and rub it in. You might try that.

      1. That is high. My vet said 10 mil twice a day for a week. Then 10 mil just once a day. My puppy is about 35 pounds and 15 years old.

        It’s night and day with this regiment. I’m still giving bathes, good food, clean water and lots of love!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. Eventually that protocol won’t work. Your dog most likely has yeast issues from the type of food she is fed. Most dog foods have too much sugar in them and it feeds yeast.

      Please read up on yeast in dogs. I deal with this problem every day in my business. For some reason, most vets are not familiar with yeast and they say it is an allergy.

  13. 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?

  14. 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?

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. 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?

    1. 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.

  17. Charlotte says:

    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.

    1. Some types of cancer will lower the red count and cause a fever. Just a thought!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

  20. Geraldine says:

    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.

  21. 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?

  22. 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?

    1. 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.

  23. 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?

  24. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. Although I am not a vet tech or in medical field I have done lots of research and my pup has been prescribed this medicine in the past. He weighs 15 pounds and was only prescribed 2.0mg and it made him constantly hungry! I would look into the dosage amount. It seems like too much for such a little pup. Hope he is doing okay!

  25. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. Yeah, could be a bit too high. Prednisone is basically a mild steroid that helps with swelling and pain. I just started my 16 year old on it about a month ago. The regimen is helping her.

        1. I give my 15 year old Shih Tzu Predisone for his hips and he’s doing great.

          1. WS – can you tell me the dosage you were/are giving your 15 pound Shih Tzu? I have a 10 year old, 14 pound Shih Tzu that is on prednisone for pain. This is the second round, as he went straight back to being in pain about 3-4 days after the first round.

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

  27. 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.

    1. Where do you find those items you mentioned? The milk thistle, apple cider vinegar and reiki? How does that help dogs?

  28. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. Our dogs were suffering just as yours. As a last resort we stopped all commercial dog foods as well as home-cooked meals and instead 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.

      1. 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!

    3. My dog was on Metacam due to a tumor in her uterus. After a few days on it she went blind. I took her off and her vision came back. Be very careful with Metacam.

  29. 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.

    1. 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.

  30. Is Prednisone effective in dogs for pain?

    1. 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.

  31. 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.

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

  32. 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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