Benadryl for Dogs: Uses, Side Effects & Dosage

Benadryl for Dogs: Uses, Side Effects & Dosage

Author WDF Staff


One thing we share with our furry best friends is allergies. Humans and dogs alike can suffer from different types of allergies that can be treated by common medications such as Benadryl. It is never a good idea to use any medications intended for humans on your dog, especially without asking your vet beforehand.

Your vet will tell you if Benadryl is safe for your dog or the proper dosage depending on the size and breed of your dog. Before using it on your beloved dog, you should be aware of potential side-effects and other guidelines you should follow. One of the most popular uses of Benadryl for dogs is as a sedative. Things like fireworks or car rides can be stressful for your dog, so using Benadryl for your dog can help them get through that period.

Before you decide to self-medicate your dog, ask your vet for advice, and as a dog owner, here are a few things you should know before giving your dog Benadryl;

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl is actually the name of the brand, not the active ingredient helping humans and dogs. It is an allergy medication that can be bought in pharmacies with no special prescription or health examinations from your doctor. It is a drug that helps your body deal with different allergens like pollen, insect bites and stings, or even vaccination ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction.

Benadryl contains an active chemical by the name diphenhydramine that controls the histamine uptake. Histamine is responsible for the body’s allergy symptoms - in humans and dogs. Diphenhydramine is also one of the key ingredients or chemicals in sleep aids and medications, which means it can act as a sedative for your dog.

Remember, just because you can get Benadryl without a prescription doesn’t mean it is not a medication you can take as you like or medicate your dog as you wish. Ask your vet for proper dosage, side effects, and whether or not it is safe for your dog to take Benadryl.

Worried about your dog throwing up? Check out Dog Vomiting: Reasons, Symptoms, and Diagnose.

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What to look for in allergy medications for dogs?

Again, Benadryl is just a brand, but it became a synonym for the type of drugs that help us battle allergies. It is absolutely crucial that you read the list of ingredients and understand that not every allergy medication will be safe for your dog. Benadryl might be a safe option, but it is not the only option. There are two things you need to keep an eye on - diphenhydramine and cetirizine.

  • Diphenhydramine is the active chemical you should be looking for in allergy medication you intend to give to your dog.
  • Cetirizine might technically be safe for dogs, but there is no health benefit your dog is getting from it, and you should not expose your dog to this chemical.

Reading the list carefully is essential because you don’t want to give your dog medications containing substances like acetaminophen or pseudoephedrine. These two chemicals are incredibly toxic for your dog, and in larger doses, have fatal consequences.

How much Benadryl to give to your dog?

Benadryl’s exact dosage can be affected by different things such as weight, age, and sex of the dog, so you must ask your vet for precautions. There is an easy way to remember Benadryl’s proper dosage for dogs, and it is 1 milligram for 1 pound of the dog’s weight.

Basically, if you have a dog that weighs 25 pounds, you can give them one 25-milligram Benadryl tablet. And yes, Benadryl also comes in pill form, so the usage is even more comfortable.

This one tablet rule is only for pills that come in the 25-milligram versions. Make sure you read the instructions and packaging properly so you don’t end up accidentally poisoning your dog. Benadryl also comes in different forms so that you can end up with liquid or gel forms of this medication.

The best advice would be to avoid using these two variations of the medication because they could contain alcohol, which is very toxic for dogs. However, the gel is safer than liquid, and you should ask your vet for instructions on how to give your dog Benadryl in gel form safely.

Is your dog in pain? Check if Meloxicam for dogs might be a solution.

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Is it safe to give my dog Benadryl?

Generally speaking, your dog can safely take Benadryl 2 or 3 times a day, depending on what your vet says. That would mean that you should give your dog meds every 8 or 12 hours. If you are thinking about giving your dog Benadryl because of potential stress like fireworks, it would be best to give it to them before the stressful situation happens because it will take some time before the meds start kicking in.

Your dog can have a bad reaction to this drug, so it is vital that you know how to spot symptoms of Benadryl poisoning or overdose. You should react quickly and take your dog to the pet ER. Keep an eye on these symptoms;

  • Agitation and nervousness
  • Seizures
  • Dilated pupils
  • Constipation
  • Elevated heart rate

It is also possible that your dog has an allergic reaction to Benadryl itself, and you should keep a close eye on your dog the first time it has been medicated with Benadryl.

Like with most drugs, Benadryl has two sides to the medal. It can help you deal with different problems like allergies, inflammation, headaches, redness of the eyes, watery eyes, and itching or hay-fever. However, give your dog Benadryl with caution; the main ingredient, diphenhydramine, can cause an overdose if it is not dosed correctly. People have been known to euthanize their dogs accidentally. They got the dosage wrong, and their dog falls asleep and never wakes up.

This is the worst-case scenario, and it is clear to see why giving human medications to dogs is not always the best idea. It would be excruciating to live with that in your mind, and it is possible you won’t be able to forgive yourself for that.

If you advise your vet and be careful about the dosages, Benadryl can be a great ally in making your dog’s life easier.

World Dog Finder team

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