Benadryl For Dogs: Uses Dosage And Side Effects
Does your canine companion suffer from seasonal allergies or motion sickness? The solution to this problem might be closer than you think: in your personal medicine cabinet! Unlike most other human medication, Benadryl can be safe for dogs as long as its used appropriately.
In this article, were discussing the uses of Benadryl for dogs, including the proper dosage and potential side-effects.
Will 2 Benadryl Hurt My Dog
Benadryl is historically very safe but as with anything, too much can be bad. If your pet receives too much Benadryl it may be extremely lethargic or very excited. Occasionally it may get dry mouth, have respiratory depression, seizures, go into a coma, or even be fatal if a large enough amount is administered.
Using Benadryl For Dogs Safely
How much Benadryl is safe for a dog depends upon the dogs weight and any pre-existing medical conditions. For a dog in otherwise good health we calculate the dosage by weight.
1mg per pound in weight of Benadryl is the formula that is normally used. Benadryl usually comes in 25mg tablets, but you must check the packet carefully. Again, we must stress that the best thing you can do is to consult your vet before administering any medicine.
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Can You Give Dogs Benadryl Made For Human Consumption
There are currently no products of this nature made specifically for dogs, so if your vet does recommend it, the medication made for humans is the only available over the counter option.
Currently, the FDA have not approved the use of Benadryl for dogs. However, it is commonly recommended by vets because of its ability to help relieve a range of issues with very few significant side effects.
Make sure you only administer the type of product advised by your vet the time-release capsules, for example, are a very popular form of the medication for humans, but for dogs they can because a health risk.
If you do give your dog a capsule, theyre likely to receive a dose thats too high if they chew it, and if swallowed whole, its unlikely it will be properly digested which could result in another trip to the vet!
What Are The Best Alternatives For Managing Pet Allergies
It may not be a surprise, but the best alternative for managing pet allergies is to prevent symptoms by avoiding exposure to pets.
When this isnt possible, you can minimize exposure by limiting the pet to certain rooms, keeping pets off of furniture and carpets, washing your hands after you touch the pet, and vacuuming regularly to remove pet hair. A HEPA air cleaner can also help prevent dust and dander from sticking to surfaces like curtains, furniture, and carpet.
While there are certain dog breeds that have been said to be less likely to cause allergies, theres no evidence of an allergy-free dog or cat. This is because pet allergens can be found just about anywhere, including in their fur, skin, and saliva. Even shorter fur can still carry dust and pollen.
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Make Sure It Is Allergies
First thing you want to do is to talk to your vet to confirm that your pet has allergies, and not something else. The symptoms are broad and can look like other diseases. Allergies can also be made worse by a number of underlying conditions, so lets just cross everything else off. We also want to be sure that your pet hasnt developed infections from all the itching and licking, or developed other allergy-related health conditions. Depending on the severity of allergies, your vet may recommend a visit to a veterinary dermatologist.
Is Benadryl Safe For Dogs
Benadryl given in the right dose should not cause an otherwise healthy dog any serious problems. However, if your dog has an existing medical condition, it can be dangerous. For example, you should not give Benadryl to a dog already suffering from glaucoma, high pressure, prostatic disease, hyperthyroidism or cardiovascular disease. As with any other medication, its always good to have a chat with your veterinarian before you give your dog Benadryl.
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Uses Of Benadryl For Dogs
Benadryl, or diphenhydramine, is a common over-the-counter medication that helps relieve itching, swelling, and other allergy symptoms.
Because of this, you can give it to your dog for conditions like:
- Allergies: Benadryl works to treat several different types of canine allergies, including food allergies, seasonal allergies, skin allergies, and allergic reactions to triggers like a bee sting. It can help calm symptoms like:
- Runny nose and eyes
- Itchy skin
- Anxiety: “A common side effect of Benadryl is drowsiness, so it may also be used to temporarily calm anxious dogs,” says Tierra Price, DVM, MPH, a veterinarian and founder of the BlackDVM Network.
- Motion sickness: Benadryl’s sedating effect may also help fight off motion sickness during car or airplane rides with your dog.
- Vaccine reactions: “Puppies receive vaccinations early in life and can have a reaction to these vaccines,” Price says. To calm reactions like swelling or fatigue, veterinarians often recommend giving your puppy Benadryl two to four hours before the vaccine appointment, says Price.
Is Benadryl Safe For Dogs With Anxiety
Dogs experience and express anxiety in any number of scenarios, from to adversely reacting to meeting new people and dogs. Whether its protracted noises from construction, thunderstorms or fireworks displays, or the restriction of movement that comes with being put in a crate when guests arrive, some dogs have extreme reactions to anxiety.
The answer to, Is Benadryl safe for dogs with anxiety? depends. One of Benadryls more interesting, as well as risky, off-label uses, is as a very mild sedative in dogs. Certain drugs that are capable of quickly moving from the blood into the brain, like Benadryls active ingredient diphenhydramine, have calming, even mildly sedative properties. Because it can pass into the brain so rapidly, usually taking effect within 30 minutes after ingestion, Benadryls fast-acting nature might be useful to treat occasional and anticipated episodes of anxiousness.
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Ease Your Pups Allergy Symptoms With Benadryl
Benadryl is safe for your pet and will help with their allergies or other symptoms. If you are considering Benadryl for your dog, it is vital that you make sure to give them the right dose.
If you are wary of giving your dog Benadryl, you have options. Natural alternatives to Benadryl for alleviating your dogs allergy symptoms include quercetin, CBD, and baking soda.
If you are still unsure about which method is best for you and your pet, consult your veterinarian.
References And Further Reading
- T. R. Sherrod, Earl R. Loew and H. F. Schloemer, Pharmacological properties of antihistamine drugs, benadryl, pyribenzamine and neoantergan. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 1947,
- John P. Buchweitz, Stephen A. Raverty, Margaret B. Johnson, and Andreas F. Lehner Fatal diphenhydramine poisoning in a dog, The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 2014
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When To Avoid Giving Your Dog Benadryl
Benadryl may negatively interact with other medications. Do not use Benadryl with any central nervous system depressants, or on a pet with high blood pressure, seizures, bladder issues, lung disease, or glaucoma. If your dog is having difficulty breathing or swelling in the facial area, take them to the vet ASAP. It is always important to monitor how your dog reacts to medicine or supplements to make sure that your dog is reacting well to the ingredients. This is especially important if your dog has a known health history or if it is the first time you are giving this medication to your dog.
For Dogs & Cats: Start Good Health Habits
A good monthly parasite prevention is critical for managing allergies in dogs and cats. Bites from fleas, mites, and ticks can make allergic skin disease worse. You also want to be sure your pet is eating high-quality foods, and that a food allergy isnt contributing to their symptoms. Daily use of probiotics can also help mitigate allergic conditions. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory effects and are a great addition to improve skin and coat health. These work especially well in combination with antihistamines . Fish oil is an excellent source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. For dogs, the daily addition of a small amount of local honey exposes your pet to a very small amount of local pollens. The goal is to desensitize the immune system. Keep in mind this is a long-term treatment and wont work for every pet. Dont do this if your pet is diabetic or has other metabolic diseases!
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Benadryl Dos And Donts
- Do ask your vet before administering Benadryl.
- Do watch your dog closely for at least an hour after giving them Benadryl.
- Do give your dog the correct dosage based on their size.
- Dont give Benadryl if your dog is having a severe allergic reaction go straight to the vet.
- Dont give Benadryl if your dog has glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, seizures or epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, or is pregnant.
Allergies were the 8th most frequent reason for dog parents visiting the vet last year, according to the 2018 Cost of Pet Health Care report.
Precautions To Take When Giving Benadryl To Cats
Just like in people, Benadryl can cause a wide range of symptoms. Your cat may act drowsy. The drug, sometimes, may also cause a cat to get amped up or hyper. Overdoses can lead to seizures, coma, difficulties breathing, and even death.
As with giving any new medication, its best to talk it over with your vet to see if Benadryl might be right for your cat and ensure that the dosage wont interfere with any other medications your cat may be taking.
Its also best to ensure that the medication is not masking a larger issue, says Faught.
Oftentimes, you can have mites or infection or something else that’s going on that might be the underlying component, he says. Benadryl treats a symptom it doesn’t necessarily take away an underlying problem.
If your cat is having a severe allergic reactionwith problems such as trouble breathingits best to contact your vet to discuss the issue instead of just giving Benadryl to see if the symptom disappears.
Image: iamreal-kobzeva via Shutterstock
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What Not To Use Benadryl For
Benadryl may help with allergic reactions, motion sickness, and sleepiness, but that doesn’t mean it is always appropriate to use. Some reasons why you may not want to use Benadryl include:
- If you have a highly stressed or anxious dog and want to make it sleepy. Its anxiety and stress need to be addressed and treated instead of just sedating it with Benadryl.
- If your dog has heart disease.
- If your dog has high blood pressure.
- If your dog has glaucoma.
- If your dog is taking specific medications, you should discuss the safety of Benadryl with your veterinarian prior to administering it.
- As a sole remedy after a venomous bite. Your dog needs immediate veterinary attention.
Your veterinarian is the best source of guidance and information for your dog’s health. If you are considering giving your dog Benadryl then ask your vet first to ensure you don’t do more harm than good.
Benadryl For Dogs Side Effects
As with any medication, there is a range of side effects that may affect your dog.
Every animal can respond to drugs differently, so your pet may experience none, some or all of these symptoms:
- Sleepiness / sedation
- Lack of interest in food
- Producing less urine than usual
- Dry mouth
If your dog seems to be having a strong reaction to Benadryl, it may be that theyre very sensitive to it, so speak to your vet again for recommendations of different forms of medication to try.
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Dog Benadryl Dosage Chart
For dogs, the common dosage of Benadryl is 1 mg/lb to be given every 8 to 12 hours. For special cases like snake bites a single dose can be doubled to 2mg/lb. Do note that this Benadryl is for the variant with the Diphenhydramine active ingredient. Benadryl sold in the United Kingdom has a different active ingredient called cetirizine and it may require a different dosage.
If youre looking for the correct Benadryl dosage for Bulldogs, you will have to determine the Bulldogs weight first. After weighing, you can check the chart below as a guide:
First What Is Benadryl
Is Benadryl safe for dogs? First, lets look at what Benadryl is. Giving dogs Benadryl, like any human medication, can be a dicey proposition. While it is among the most commonly prescribed over-the-counter medicines that veterinarians recommend for dogs, it is not without its risks.
The active ingredient in regular-strength Benadryl is diphenhydramine. Note the modifier, regular-strength, since, as we know, there are always a range of additional ingredients in common meds that help with a range of other human ailments. Even normal Benadryl can have unexpected benefits for dogs, and is used to treat a number of issues. These include:
So, the answer to, Is Benadryl safe for dogs? really depends. Lets look at dog health conditions that Benadryl may help with and ways it can be administered after consulting with your vet.
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Benadryl Overdose In Dogs
Always contact your veterinarian before administering any medication or supplement to your pet, including Benadryl. If your dog is showing signs of an acute allergic reaction , call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic, as this can result in anaphylaxis, which is an emergency.
One of the most common questions veterinarians get during warmer months is whether dogs can take the antihistamine Benadryl and whether it will help with things like bee stings, insect bites, or itchiness. It is also sometimes used for things like car sickness and anxiety, although there are more effective prescription medications for these conditions, which you can discuss with your veterinarian.
While Benadryl is generally considered a safe medication for pets, there can be unexpected side effects, and it is important that your dog receive the appropriate dose. You should always ask your veterinarian about the correct dose for your dog before administering this medication.
Even though its relatively safe, is it possible for dogs to overdose on Benadryl? Heres some important info on Benadryl overdose in dogs and possible negative side effects even at appropriate dosages.
For Dogs: Frequent Bathing
Bathing your dog 2-3 times weekly can help wash away pollens and soothe irritated skin. Colloidal oatmeal is great for calming some dogs itchy skin. If your pets skin is very irritated , there are medicated shampoos with antibiotic and anti-fungal properties that you can get through your vet. Always remember to wipe your pet down after a trip outdoors using grooming wipes or a damp washcloth to remove pollens on the skin. Focus on the areas your pet itches the most. Usually this means the paws , belly, groin, armpits, under the tail, and the muzzle. Keep those ears squeaky clean! Bacteria and yeast naturally live in your pets ears when allergies flare, inflammation increases risk of infection.
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Benadryl Benefits For Dogs
Benadryl may be a useful tool to have in your box. It can come in handy if your dog is experiencing itching. It may even be useful in a pinch when it comes to any anxious episodes he might have. However, its worth remembering that Benadryl is formulated for humans. As such, you need to exercise due diligence. Always read the label. Never give your dog any medication that has more than the active ingredient you require.
Its much easier to give your vet a call before you administer any medication than it is to rush your sick pooch to the emergency room. So, while Benadryl has its uses, there are plenty of medicine on the market that are specifically for dogs. They might be a better bet.
Giving Dogs Benadryl May Cause Sleepiness
As I alluded to above, one side effect of Benadryl is sleepiness. Sometimes dog owners will give their dogs Benadryl to creatively leverage this side effectfor car travel, during Fourth of July fireworks, or other occasions where the dog needs something to take the edge off.
While sleepiness is a side effect, Benadryl is not actually an effective sleep aid by any means. But sometimes that side effect can be used to a dogs benefit. Its important to note that Benadryl is the equivalent of taking a glass of milk before boarding a plane to calm your nerves if you have severe anxiety about flying. Think very mild efficacy as a sedative. Interestingly enough, the sedative impact may decrease with chronic Benadryl use because a dog may develop a tolerance to this effect.
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Before Starting A Benadryl Dose For Dogs
Just like consulting your doctor before starting a new medication, you should always talk to your vet before giving your dog Benadryl if they suffer from health conditions such as seizure disorders, hypertension, or problems with their lungs or bladder.
Additionally, if your dog is pregnant, you should be especially careful about consulting your vet before starting a dose.
If theres any question at all about your dogs health prior to starting medication, you should always consult your vet.
Benadryl Side Effects In Dogs
Just like any medication, Benadryl comes with potential side effects. Common side effects of Benadryl include drowsiness, dry mouth, urinary retention, hypersalivation, increased heart rate, and loss of appetite for some dogs. The side effects of Benadryl for dogs are typically thought to be minor as the medication is widely recommended for dogs. If you are worried about adverse reactions when you are trying to relieve symptoms, it is recommended that you monitor your dogs behavior when you give Benadryl to your dog for the first time.
You can find some peace in knowing that most veterinary practices will recommend Benadryl as a safe option for environmental allergens and other issues commonly found in dogs. In order to avoid some of these side effects it is important to remember to administer the proper Benadryl dosage for your dog as recommended by your veterinarian.
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