Benadryl For Dogs – 6 Things You Should Know

Benadryl For Dogs

Can You Give A Dog Benadryl?

The use of Benadryl for dogs is actually quite common.

Benadryl is one of the few over the counter drugs that veterinarians have pet owners administer at home.

However, before you give your dog benadryl there are 6 important things you need to know.

1. What is Benadryl?

Benadryl, also known as diphenhydramine is an antihistamine commonly used to treat symptoms of allergies, hives, hay fever, insomnia, and the common cold.

Although it’s only approved by the FDA for humans, Benadryl is perfectly safe to be used by dogs when approved by a vet.

How does it work?

During an allergic reaction your body produces a natural compound called histamine. Histamine receptors receive the histamine and produce what we know of as allergy symptoms.

Common allergy symptoms include rash, inflammation, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, itching, and cough.

However, when Benadryl (diphenhydramine) enters the body it blocks the histamine receptors, thus stopping histamine from attaching to the receptor sites. Histamine is still produced in the body but has no receptors to attach to.

It’s similar to people driving into a full parking lot to go shopping. People keep showing up in their cars but there are no open spaces for them to park.

2. Benadryl Uses For Dogs

Benadryl is effective for treating symptoms associated with mild to moderate food allergies, seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, and allergic reactions to insect and snake bites.

If your dog is having difficulty breathing or facial swelling you should take them to a vet immediately.

Note: Benadryl is most effective if given to your dog before allergy symptoms occur.

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl For Itching?

Yes, the most common use of Benadryl for dogs is for itchiness associated with skin allergies.

Can Dogs Have Benadryl For Anxiety?

Yes, Benadryl is safe to use for dogs with anxiety. It’s effective at relaxing anxious dogs due to its drowsy side effects.

Benadryl to be used for dogs that are anxious while traveling or that get motion sickness.

Commonly used to relieve:

  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Itching
  • Anaphylactic reaction
  • Rashes and hives
  • Redness
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Anxiety
  • Motion Sickness

It is worth noting that Benadryl only relieves the symptoms associated with an allergy and not the source of the allergy itself.

For example, if you think your dog may have a food allergy it is recommended that you try changing their diet rather than long term Benadryl use.

3. What Is The Benadryl Dosage For Dogs?

The correct dosage for dogs is 1 mg per pound of body weight every eight hours. This dosage can be given to them 2 to 3 times a day.

Be sure that the Benadryl tablets contain only diphenhydramine as many over the counter medications have multiple active ingredients.

Benadryl usually comes in a 25 mg tablet. Therefore a 12 pound dog would get half a tablet, while a 25 pound dog would get one tablet and a 75 pound dog would get three tablets.

  • For smaller dogs childrens Benadryl tablets can also be used.

When given to a dog for extended periods of time, such as for seasonal allergies, the proper dosage can change. If you feel that you need to increase the dosage you should consult with a vet first.

Note: Benadryl takes about 30 minutes to begin working. If you are intending to give it to your pup for motion sickness or anxiety you should plan ahead.

Avoid liquid Benadryl

We recommend tablets over liquid. Liquid Benadryl contains alcohol which can be harmful to your dog. With liquid it can also be harder to get the correct dosage.

Childrens Benadryl doesn’t contain alcohol but it often has sodium which can also be harmful to your dog. If you give your dog the liquid form it should not contain any alcohol or sodium.

Giving Dogs Benadryl- What’s The Best Way?

The easiest way to give your dog benadryl is to take the appropriate tablet dosage and put it in a treat or food you know your dog will eat. Luckily, most dogs don’t think twice about receiving a tasty treat

4. Can I Give My Dog Benadryl?

While it’s generally a safe antihistamine for dogs, there are a few exceptions:

It may not be safe for puppies

Just like human children we have to be careful what we give to puppies when they are young and still maturing. You should ask your vet before giving a puppy benadryl.

Dogs on other medications

Mixing Benadryl with other medications can be dangerous. If your dog is on any medications you should ask your vet if Benadryl is safe to combine with them.

Dogs with a history of diseases

Red eyes are a sign of allergies, but can also be a sign of something more serious like glaucoma, in which Benadryl can make worse.

You should ask your vet if it’s safe to give your dog Benadryl if they have a history of any of the following:

Pregnant or nursing dogs

Benadryl is not recommended for pregnant or nursing dogs. You should always ask a vet before giving it to your dog in this situation.

Benadryl Side Effects

Common side effects:

  • Drowsiness/ Sedation
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased salivation
  • Rapid breathing
  • Decreased urination
  • Increased heart rate

Less common side effects:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite

Will Benadryl Make My Dog Sleepy?

Yes, it is very likely. Drowsiness is the most common side effect of Benadryl. It has even been marketed as a sleep aid.

6. Benadryl Overdose For Dogs

Dogs can generally handle antihistamines like Benadryl pretty well. However, an overdose is possible and can cause central nervous system hyperexcitability that can be fatal.

Warning signs of an overdose are:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Constipation

If any of these signs occur you should contact your vet immediately. When giving your dog Benadryl you should pay attention to how they respond, particularly if it’s their first time taking it.

Conclusion: Benadryl For Dogs

Benadryl for dogs is perfectly safe as long as you ask your vet first. It’s great for relieving your furry friend’s allergy symptoms such as rashes and itching.

Just be sure to give your dog the appropriate dose for their weight and keep a close eye on how they react to it. Your pup’s health is the most important so never hesitate to call the vet.

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