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Prednisone for Dogs

Prednisone for Dogs
Prednisone is used for treating various medical conditions in both humans and animals. This article outlines the usage of prednisone for dogs, which includes its dosage, possible side effects and some precautions to exercise during its use.
Rajib Singha
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
If you suspect an overdose of prednisone in your pet, then contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435 or a veterinarian.

Prednisone is placed under a class of drugs called corticosteroids. These drugs help manage symptoms of inflammatory conditions and suppress an overactive immune system. In canines, prednisone is commonly prescribed for the treatment of autoimmune conditions. The rest of the article tells you about the proper use of this drug in canines, its common side effects, and a few precautions you must exercise as a pet owner.

Use of Prednisone in Dogs

Prednisone is commonly used to treat the following medical conditions in canines:
• Lupus
• Cancer
• Anemia
• Asthma
• Arthritis
• Severe itching
• Brain swelling
• Kidney disease
• Addison's disease
• Anaphylactic shock
• Spinal cord trauma
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Autoimmune hemolytic anemia


Prednisone dosage for dogs depends on the condition that is being treated. The dosage also depends on the response of the sick animal to the treatment process. Available prednisone strengths include 1 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg.

While administering prednisone to your dog, follow the exact dose and schedule as directed by the vet. Sometimes you may happen to miss a dose. If you remember that you have missed it, then give the medicine immediately. However, if it is already time for the next scheduled dose, then simply continue with the regular schedule; never double dose to make up for the missed dose. Marking the dosing schedule on a calendar comes in handy, if your pet is supposed to take the medicine on a different schedule instead of a daily one.

Stopping Prednisone

Prednisone is not like drugs which can be stopped cold turkey or abruptly. With prednisone, such actions may result in severe complications. The drug needs to be carefully tapered off. The vet would lower the doses depending on the disease your dog has, the initial doses of the drug and its duration. This process may take over several days to weeks.

Why is tapering important? - The body of humans and animals produces its own natural steroid called cortisol. Prednisone is similar to cortisol. So, when your pet starts taking this drug in large doses or for a prolonged period of time, its adrenal glands reduce cortisol production or may stop making it altogether. That is the reason why, drugs like prednisone are tapered off instead of stopping abruptly, so that the body has enough time to recover and resume its normal production of cortisol.

Prednisone Side Effects

Mostly, prednisone may trigger side effects when it is part of a long-term treatment plan. Also, the higher the doses, the greater the risks of side effects.
• Nausea
• Fatigue
• Panting
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Hair loss
• Cataracts
• Lethargy
• Joint pain
• Infections
• Glaucoma
• Weight gain
• Poor hair coat
• Eye diseases
• Increased thirst
• Increased urination
• Thinning of skin
• Liver impairment
• Muscle weakness
• Diabetes mellitus
• Cushing's Disease
• Pancreatitis
• Overly aggressive
• Abnormal changes in behavior


» Do not give prednisone to your dog if he has a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection.

» If your pet has any of the following problems, then discuss them with its vet before administering prednisone.
• Stomach ulcers
• Kidney problems
• Underactive thyroid
• Diabetes mellitus
• Hypersensitivity to prednisone
» Prednisone is not recommended for pregnant or lactating animals.

» Prednisone may interact with medicines such as salicylates, diuretics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). So, if your pet is already on these or some other medicines, then ensure to review them with the veterinarian.

» Understand that, prednisone is not an over-the-counter drug. It should be administered only after consulting a medical expert; in this case, a qualified veterinarian.

» Keep the drug away from light or moisture. Avoid storing it in the bathroom. Equally important is to follow proper methods while disposing the drug.

Short-term and controlled use of prednisone for dogs is less likely to cause any adverse side effects. In case you suspect an overdose, get immediate medical help. Keep the container of the drug and the prescription handy; it might be useful in diagnosing your pet's condition.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.
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