8 Tips for Dogs on Prednisone

Here are some tips for caring for dogs on prednisone:

Is 20 mg Prednisone a High Dose for Dogs
  1. Monitor their appetite: Prednisone can cause increased appetite, so make sure your dog is eating a balanced diet and not overeating.
  2. Keep an eye on their weight: Prednisone can also cause weight gain, so regularly monitor your dog’s weight and adjust their diet accordingly.
  3. Watch for side effects: Prednisone can cause a number of side effects, such as panting, increased thirst, and changes in behavior. If you notice any of these, contact your vet.
  4. Maintain proper hygiene: Prednisone can make dogs more susceptible to infections, so it’s important to keep their ears, eyes, and skin clean.
  5. Provide a calm environment: Prednisone can cause increased anxiety, so try to provide a calm, stress-free environment for your dog.
  6. Be mindful of the dosage: Follow your vet’s instructions carefully when giving your dog prednisone, and never give them more or less than prescribed.
  7. Regular check-up: It is important to keep regular check-ups with your vet to monitor your dog’s health and adjust the dosage as needed.
  8. Gradually wean off: When it comes time to stop giving your dog prednisone, do so gradually to avoid any potential withdrawal symptoms.

How can you reduce the side effects of prednisone in dogs?

Here are some ways to reduce the side effects of prednisone in dogs:

  1. Gradual dose reduction: One of the most effective ways to reduce the side effects of prednisone is to gradually decrease the dosage over time. This is known as tapering, and it allows the body to adjust to the lower dosage without experiencing a sudden withdrawal. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate tapering schedule for your dog.
  2. Supplementation: Certain supplements can help reduce the side effects of prednisone. For example, omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, can help reduce inflammation and improve the overall health of the skin and coat. Probiotics can also help to support the gut microbiome and alleviate stomach issues.
  3. Exercise: Regular exercise can help to reduce the side effects of prednisone by improving the overall health and well-being of your dog. It can also help to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of obesity, which can be a side effect of prednisone.
  4. Monitoring: Regular monitoring by a veterinarian can help to detect any potential side effects early on and adjust the dosage or treatment plan accordingly. Regular blood work, physical exams, and monitoring of any symptoms can help to ensure that the treatment is effective and safe.
  5. Diet: A healthy diet can also help to reduce the side effects of prednisone. A diet that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and rich in antioxidants can help to support the overall health of your dog.

In conclusion, reducing the side effects of prednisone in dogs can be achieved through gradual dose reduction, supplementation, exercise, monitoring, and a healthy diet. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate treatment plan for your dog.

Does prednisone make dogs act weird?

Here are some potential side effects of prednisone in dogs that may cause them to act differently:

  • Increased thirst and urination: Prednisone can cause an increase in thirst and urination in dogs. This may lead to your dog drinking more water and needing to go outside more frequently to urinate.
  • Appetite changes: Prednisone may also cause an increase or decrease in appetite in dogs. Some dogs may become ravenous and eat more, while others may lose interest in food altogether.
  • Behavioral changes: Prednisone can also cause behavioral changes in dogs. Some dogs may become more lethargic or drowsy, while others may become more hyperactive or agitated. Some dogs may also become more aggressive or more easily excited.
  • Panting: Prednisone can also cause panting in dogs. This may be due to the dog’s body trying to cool down as a result of the increased metabolism caused by prednisone.
  • Increased susceptibility to infection: Prednisone can also suppress the immune system, making dogs more susceptible to infections. This means that dogs on prednisone may be more prone to getting sick or developing infections.
  • Gastrointestinal upset: Prednisone can also cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. This may include vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

Not all dogs will experience these side effects, and the severity of the side effects can vary. Additionally, these side effects may be temporary and may disappear once the prednisone is discontinued. However, if you notice any unusual or concerning changes in your dog’s behavior or health, it is important to contact your veterinarian for further evaluation. They may recommend adjusting the prednisone dosage or switching to a different medication to alleviate these side effects.

Does prednisone cause hind leg weakness in dogs?

One potential side effect of prednisone use in dogs is hind leg weakness. This can range from mild stiffness or difficulty getting up from a lying position to a complete inability to stand or walk.

One study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine found that 11% of dogs treated with prednisone for various conditions developed hind leg weakness. The study also found that dogs with pre-existing conditions such as arthritis or degenerative myelopathy were more likely to experience hind leg weakness as a side effect of prednisone use. Additionally, dogs that were treated with higher doses of prednisone for longer periods of time were more likely to develop hind leg weakness than those treated with lower doses for shorter periods.

Another study published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice found that prednisone-induced hind leg weakness in dogs is often reversible, with most dogs showing improvement within 1-2 weeks of discontinuing the medication. However, in some cases, hind leg weakness may persist even after prednisone is stopped, and may require additional treatment such as physical therapy or rehabilitation.

It is important to note that hind leg weakness is not the only potential side effect of prednisone use in dogs. Other possible side effects include increased thirst and urination, panting, weight gain, and increased risk of infection. Therefore, it is crucial for veterinarians to closely monitor dogs receiving prednisone, and to adjust dosages and treatment plans as needed to minimize potential side effects.

Is 20 mg of prednisone a high dose for dogs?

A 20 mg prednisone dose for a dog would be considered high, especially for long-term use. This is because high doses of prednisone can have serious side effects, including increased appetite and thirst, panting, and weight gain. In addition, high doses of prednisone can suppress the immune system, which can make dogs more prone to infections.

It is important to carefully monitor your dog if they are taking a high dose of prednisone and to discuss any concerns with your veterinarian. They will be able to determine if the benefits of the medication outweigh the potential risks, and will work with you to find the optimal dose for your dog’s specific needs.

How long does it take for prednisone to kick in for dogs?

When it comes to how long it takes for prednisone to kick in for dogs, the answer is not so straightforward. It can vary depending on the individual dog and the specific condition being treated.

In general, prednisone starts to take effect within a few hours of being administered. However, the full effects may not be fully realized until a few days or even a week after starting the medication.

One important factor to consider is the dose of prednisone being given. Higher doses may take longer to kick in, while lower doses may have quicker effects. It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s prescribed dosing schedule and not deviate from it without their guidance.

Additionally, the route of administration can also affect how quickly prednisone takes effect. For example, if the medication is given orally, it may take longer to be absorbed and start working compared to if it was given intravenously.

Prednisone is not a quick fix and may take some time to fully work. It’s also important to continue giving the medication as prescribed, even if your dog seems to be feeling better, as stopping the medication too soon can cause a relapse of the condition being treated.

If you have any concerns about how long it’s taking for the prednisone to kick in for your dog, be sure to discuss them with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance and adjust the treatment plan as needed.

Conclusion of prednisone for dogs


  • Prednisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drug, making it effective in treating a variety of conditions such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, and certain types of cancer.
  • It can also be used as a temporary treatment for conditions such as laryngeal paralysis or tracheal collapse, while a long-term treatment plan is being developed.
  • In some cases, prednisone can provide relief for dogs suffering from chronic pain or discomfort.


  • Long-term use of prednisone can lead to serious side effects, including weight gain, increased risk of infections, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs.
  • Prednisone can also cause behavioral changes in some dogs, such as increased aggression or restlessness.
  • It can also mask symptoms of underlying conditions, making it difficult to diagnose and treat the underlying cause.

Side effects:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Panting
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Insomnia
  • Behavioral changes
  • Diabetes


  • Overdose can lead to serious side effects including vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

Drug interactions:

  • Prednisone should not be used in conjunction with other immunosuppressive drugs, as this can increase the risk of side effects.
  • It can also interact with other medications, such as blood thinners, which can increase the risk of bleeding.


  • Prednisone should not be used in dogs with active infections or those who are pregnant or nursing.
  • It should also be used with caution in dogs with a history of liver or kidney disease, as these conditions can be exacerbated by the drug.

Research and study:

  • Studies have shown that prednisone can be an effective treatment for a variety of conditions in dogs.
  • However, long-term use of the drug can lead to serious side effects and should be used with caution.

Natural or OTC veterinary alternatives:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a natural alternative to prednisone.
  • Other natural options include turmeric, ginger, and quercetin.
  • There are also OTC veterinary alternatives such as glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, which can help to reduce inflammation and support joint health.

Overall, prednisone can be an effective treatment for certain conditions in dogs, but it is important to weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks of side effects and toxicity. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for your furry friend.


Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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