Prednisone Toxicity in Dogs

Prednisone (also known as prednisolone) is a corticosteroid that acts as an immunosuppressant drug and is commonly used to treat inflammatory, severe allergic reactions, and autoimmune disorders. However, prednisone can have serious side effects and can be fatal to dogs.

Prednisone Killed My Dog

“My dog was on prednisone for a short time and it was a disaster. The last week he was on it he got this weird skin thing and started biting himself. I took him to the vet who told me to discontinue the prednisone, which I did. He kept biting himself and then stopped eating. I took him back to the vet who said he had a reaction to prednisone and gave him steroids and antibiotics for the infection from all the biting, but my dog died 2 days later. I really regret giving him that prednisone.”

“I am absolutely devastated. I have never felt such pain and there is nothing anyone can say or do to make it better. I had to put my 4-year-old Rottweiler, Chase, down today because of complications from Prednisone. Chase was the most amazing dog. He was so gentle and loving. He was my best friend and went everywhere with me. We were inseparable!”

“I have a big dog and I am using this med for an allergic skin condition. A few days after taking it, she started experiencing severe side effects like panting, shaking, pacing and nervousness. She also started to develop a skin rash that looked like hives. I stopped the medication immediately and we are now managing her condition with oatmeal baths and other remedies recommended by our vet. She is doing so much better without the prednisone!”

Prednisone killed my dog?

Using prednisone for a long period of time can cause adrenal glands to stop producing cortisol on their own. If your dog abruptly stops using this medication after taking it regularly for several weeks or more, he is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. If your dog does not taper off the prednisone slowly, his body can develop an adrenal crisis which can cause death if not treated properly.

In order to stop this from occurring, your veterinarian will have you taper off the prednisone after your dog has been on it for longer than two weeks. This prevents the dog’s body from becoming dependent on additional steroids and ensures that the adrenal glands continue to function properly.

Dogs taking prednisone may be at risk for side effects such as pancreatitis, Cushing’s disease, diabetes mellitus, increased blood pressure, increased susceptibility to infection, and gastrointestinal perforation.

All medications come with side effects, but there are things you can do to keep your dog as healthy as possible while taking them. Make sure you speak with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

How long can a dog stay on prednisone safely?

The medication is normally prescribed by a veterinarian for short-term use, although a dog can be on prednisone for as long as 6 months. However, any dog taking prednisone should be monitored carefully by a veterinarian.

If you miss giving your pet a dose, give it as soon as you remember. If it is time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with the regular schedule. Do not give the pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Once control has been established, two courses are available: (a) change to an alternate day regimen or (b) reduce gradually over a period of about one to three months until stopping completely if possible.

Because of the side effects associated with prednisone, veterinarians will try to wean their patients off the drug as soon as possible. This is done gradually over time so that the dog will not experience withdrawal symptoms from the medication.

What are the side effects of prednisone for dogs?

Side effects that have been seen with prednisone include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Panting
  • Excessive urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in behavior
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Worsening preexisting conditions

If you see any of these signs, talk to your vet. They’ll work with you to determine if the medication is causing the problem. If so, they can help you find an alternative treatment.

What are the symptoms of prednisone withdrawal in dogs?

Withdrawal symptoms may occur if prednisone is stopped suddenly after it has been taken for a long period of time. Stopping the drug or reducing the dose too quickly can make your condition worse or cause other serious side effects such as:

  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Vision problems
  • Seizures
  • Confusion

Should I limit my dog’s water intake while on prednisone?

There is no need to restrict your dog’s water intake while on prednisone. As long as your dog is eating and drinking normally, there is no need to be concerned.

No research supports limiting water intake as a way to reduce the risk of other adverse effects associated with prednisone usage. Therefore, if your dog is prescribed prednisone, you should not limit his water intake.

Prednisone reviews from dog owners

Pet owners say the medicine is quite effective and works fast. The main drawback of prednisone is that it has a number of side effects like weight gain, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and panting. Although it is relatively effective, prednisone is not meant to be a long-term treatment option.

“I’ve tried several different types of medicine for my dog’s skin allergies, and the one thing that works well for him is prednisone. He had really bad itching, dry flaky skin, and hair loss in certain areas. Within three days of taking prednisone, his symptoms were more than 80% gone and he was glad to have the itching stop!”

“I used prednisone for my dog, she was very sick for a time and the vet prescribed it for her. It worked great, but you have to watch out for side effects. She had some stomach issues and hair loss. I would give her yogurt in the morning and that seemed to help with that. My dog is a lot older now, but she’s in great health thanks to this medicine!”

“My very sick dog was saved by this medicine! My 6-year-old Cocker Spaniel had been vomiting and not eating for 5 days. He had lost 3 pounds and was dehydrated. He was diagnosed with autoimmune pancreatitis and was given 3 shots of prednisone over 3 days at our local veterinarian’s office. His symptoms improved immediately after the first shot. He has now been on prednisone for about 2 months and takes 1/2 tablet twice a day. He is now eating regularly again, has gained back his lost weight, his fur is shiny again, and he seems to have plenty of energy.”

“For two months, I gave my dog prednisone and the results were terrific. He gained weight, was full of energy, and ran around like a puppy. The downside? All the other side effects that prednisone causes. In the end, I chose to discontinue giving it to him because he had a hard time breathing and kept licking his back paws (a sign of discomfort).”

Conclusion of Prednisone for dogs

Prednisone is a drug used by veterinarians to treat cats and dogs with inflammatory conditions. It can be used as part of treatment for certain types of cancer and may be prescribed in cases where animals have experienced extreme trauma or are suffering from autoimmune disorders. Many drugs can interact with prednisone, making it less effective or increasing side effects.

Side effects of prednisone use in dogs include infections, and liver or kidney damage. Long-term use of prednisone or other corticosteroids is not recommended for dogs.

If you are giving your dog prednisone, do not stop suddenly without first consulting your veterinarian. The dosage should be tapered off gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Compared to other drugs in its class, prednisone is more preferred by pet owners due to its fewer side effects. But still, it should not be given without first consulting your vet.

When used correctly, prednisone can be given safely with minimal risk of adverse side effects and long-term damage.

Make sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your veterinarian before starting treatment.


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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