Prednisone for Dogs (With Dosage and Safety Guide)

So, you are interested in knowing more about prednisone for dogs?

In this post, we are going to discuss a lot of topics about this drug that every dog owner should know. This is more crucial if your dog has a condition that needs a steroid like prednisone.

Below are the topics we will see in this post. Feel free to click the relevant one if you don’t have the time for all of them.

What is Prednisone?

Prednisone Dosage for Dogs

Side Effects of Prednisone in Dogs

Long-Term Side Effects of Prednisone in Dogs

Is Prednisone Safe for Dogs?

Overdose Dangers!

If you are reading this, we are going to assume that you want to read the entire thing. Great job, Master! Your dog is lucky to have you. Now, let’s dive in.

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What is Prednisone?

Prednisones are corticosteroids that are known as glucocorticoids.

They are used to suppress the immune system and bring down the inflammation reactions. These corticosteroids find uses in many places and are used effectively by Vets.

Some of the conditions treated are Addison’s disease, Poor liver function, Cancer and even nervous system disorders. They are available in the form of tablets, topical solutions, and also in the form of injections.

It is to be noted that it is approved by the FDA for use in dogs. So, there is nothing’s sneaky here.

Prednisone Dosage for Dogs

Prednisone is a drug that is sold only with a prescription from your vet. This also tells us that you shouldn’t be deciding how much to give to your four-legged friend.

But we need a general guideline which is exactly what you’ll find below.

Different conditions require different dosage and different dosage durations of prednisone. So we are not going to give you anything specific as that totally depends on your dog and what your vet thinks.

But the general dosage practice is to give 0.1 to 0.3 mg per pound of your dog’s weight. This should also be administered only after consulting with your veterinarian.

Also do not extend the dosage duration for more than 7 days if your vet doesn’t say so.

What if I Miss a Dose?

We all do that. But it is important to take good care in this area. If you missed a dose, and it’s only an hour or so, give it as soon as you remember it.

If you missed a dose, and it is already time for the next dose, then don’t add dosages. Just skip the missed dose and continue with the medication as prescribed.

Side Effects of Prednisone in Dogs

There are several side effects you will observe in your dog once you give him prednisone.

Some of the very common side effects are

  1. Excessive urination
  2. Excessive thirst (as a result of frequent urination)
  3. Increased appetite.

The following are some side effects that might arise due to a slightly higher dose.

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Lethargic behavior

If there are more than one of the above three side effects, immediately call your vet.

These are some of the expected side effects. Below are some side effects that are not desirable. If your dog experiences one or more of these effects, immediately rush to the vet’s office.

  1. Blood in coughs
  2. Panting
  3. Blood in the stools
  4. Cushing’s disease
  5. Addison’s disease

If you observe any of these effects or something else that you really aren’t sure about, call your veterinarian as this can be very crucial for the health of your buddy.

Long-Term Side Effects of Prednisone in Dogs

Yes, there can be side effects when your dog takes prednisone for a longer period of time. It can also be due to the sudden stopping of prednisone intake after continuing the medication for a long time.

The following are some of the long-term effects.

Heart attack

Yes, you read that right.

If you are treating your dog with a high dose of prednisone and suddenly stop it, there are chances that your dog can get a heart attack.

Addison’s disease

Wait, didn’t you say that prednisone cures Addison’s disease? Yes. It does.

Addison’s disease is caused by the deficiency of hormones produced by the adrenal glands. In some cases, the corticosteroids shut the adrenal glands down resulting in zero production of the required hormone.


The usual prednisone dosage that is prescribed for dogs is about 0.1 to 0.3 mg/pound of body weight.

But there are some cases where the dosage is a lot more than that (even 1mg/pound of body weight). When this dosage is taken for a longer period, the blood sugar level rises, and this can lead to diabetes.

Digestive System Issues

There are instances where the protective mucous layer in the stomach is ruptured by prednisone. This causes issues like Irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcer and other digestive system related problems.

Suppressed Immune system

This is one of the main uses of using a corticosteroid like prednisone. But when you administer this drug to your dog for an extended period, this benefit is overdone.

What happens is that the immune system is suppressed and, as a result, there are only minor symptoms (of allergies) shown by the body. This leaves the dog prone to infections, and the worst part is that you won’t even know it.

Is Prednisone Safe for Dogs?

Can I give my dog prednisone? If yes, what’s the safe way of doing it?

These are two questions that are around for some time. You can understand these questions as people love their dogs.

Prednisone is completely safe for your dogs when given in the right amount. It is even approved by the FDA for dogs.

But, prednisone is not for all the dogs. If your dog is pregnant or diabetic, then avoid prednisone like the plague.

Prednisone is also known to react with drugs like antacids, some antibiotics, Rimadyl, and even some vaccines. Be sure to consult the current medications with your vet before he prescribes prednisone.

Some Safety Tips
  1. Avoid if your dog is diabetic or pregnant.
  2. Tell your vet about all the current medications and medical conditions.
  3. Do not use them for puppies less than six months old.
  4. Do not give a dosage of your own before the vet diagnoses the problem.
  5. In the case of long-term treatment, do not suddenly stop the medication as it could lead to adverse effects discussed in the long-term effects sections (like Addison’s disease). Reduce the medication gradually.

Overdose Dangers!

It is very important to follow the prednisone dosages to the letter. If you feel that you may have given more than necessary, then call your vet and immediately ask for advice.

In case you didn’t realize the overdose, you can find it if you see these behaviors in your dog.

  1. Itching
  2. Loss of hearing
  3. Depression
  4. Weakness
  5. Heart problems
  6. Anxiety
  7. Seizures

Seek help from your vet if you see any of these in your dog. Never try to play the vet when it comes to deciding the dosages of the drug.

And that brings this post to an end. We think we covered pretty much everything on this topic. If you have anything to ask, please use the comment section below. We would be glad to help.

Also, if you have any stories to share with us, let us know as well. Thanks for reading and do share this with your friends if you think it is relevant.

Featured photo credit: KelkoNiki/depositphotos