Benadryl, a brand name for diphenhydramine, is is an over-the-counter antihistamine drug that is commonly prescribed to people like you and I by our doctors.
But, you will often hear about people giving Benadryl to their dogs, and you may wonder about exactly how safe that is to do.
Can You Give A Dog Benadryl? Is Benadryl Safe For Dogs?
YES, Benadryl is often prescribed as medicine for dogs by veterinarians just like it’s prescribed to you and I by our doctors!
Some of the most common reasons veterinarians prescribe Benadryl for dogs are:
- Environmental and seasonal allergies (helping relieve problems that come along allergies such as watery eyes and runny noses)
- Insect bites or stings that cause allergic reactions
- Loss of appetite
- Motion sickness
- Treatment of Cushing’s disease
- Insomnia and sleep difficulty
- Vaccine reactions
Benadryl Dosage For Dogs: How Much Benadryl Can I Give My Dog?
First thing’s first, you should only administer Benadryl to your dog under the instructions of your veterinarian or an animal health care professional.
You should not try to determine the dosage your dog requires by yourself as there are way too many variables that come into play.
Generally, the recommended dosage for oral Benadryl is 1 mg for every 1 lb of your dog’s body weight, given to your dog 2-3 times per day, 8 hours apart.
This is the most common dosage of Benadryl for dogs, however your veterinarian may determine that your dog needs a higher dosage, such as 2 mg for every 1 lb of their body weight, which is why you should always consult with your veterinarian about the Benadryl dosage first.
If you realise you missed a dosage of Benadryl for your dog one day, try to make up for it as soon as possible.
If, however, it’s a bit too late and it’s almost time for you to give the next dosage of Benadryl for your dog, then forget about the missed dose and carry on with your regular schedule as if nothing happened.
The last thing you want to do is give your dog 2 doses of Benadryl in a very short time span.
Always keep in mind that diphenhydramine needs around 30 minutes to kick in your dog’s system, which is important because you’ll want to make sure to give your dog Benadryl at least 30 minutes before a stressful event is anticipated.
Dogs Overdosing On Benadryl
Even though your dog overdosing on Benadryl is a somewhat rare event, as it would require your dog to ingest huge amounts of Benadryl at once, it’s still possible because as we all know, dogs are curious creatures and if given the freedom to access things they shouldn’t be around, bad things happen.
Some of the symptoms of dogs overdosing on Benadryl are:
- Muscle tremors
- Fast and irregularities in heart beats
- Difficulty breathing and panting
- Confusion, drowsiness and incoherence
- Increase in body temperature
- Increase in blood pressure
- Behavioral changes
If you see any of the above symptoms in your dog, or you suspect that your dog has ingested more Benadryl than they should have, you should immediately seek veterinary care.
When Is Benadryl Bad For Dogs?
In certain conditions, Benadryl can be very bad for your dog and would require you to refrain from giving this medication to your dog.
Such common situations are if your dog:
- Is suffering from glaucoma
- Has high blood pressure
- Suffers from cardiovascular disease.
- Has bladder problems
- Has hyperthyroidism
- Is pregnant
You should also be very careful if your dog is already taking other medications, because Benadryl may or may not contradict in your dog’s system with these medications, and that will lead to nothing but problems.
So, ask your veterinarian if it’s safe for your dog to take Benadryl with any medication they are currently on first.
A Note About Benadryl With Different Active Ingredients
Generally speaking, you almost always want to look for Benadryl products that contain the active ingredient diphenhydramine, because some Benadryl products out there contain other active ingredients.
You can also give your dog Benadryl that contains cetirizine as the active ingredient, however note that cetirizine is mostly used to treat dogs suffering from itching and dermatitis.
Read the packaging as the information about the active ingredient is always displayed on the box.
Moreover, some Benadryl products contain Acrivastine as the active ingredients, and these Benadryl products are the ones you want to keep as far away as possible from your dog.
Why? Because they contain pseudoephedrine, which can be deadly for dogs.
Side Effects Of Benadryl For Dogs
Benadryl may lead to certain side effects in your dog, which include:
- Dryness around the mouth area
- Decreased urination
- Confusion and light-headidness
- Allergic reactions
- Excessive salivation and drooling
- Decrease in appetite
You can notice any of these side effects after about an hour from the time you give Benadryl to your dog, however in most cases these side effects will only be mildly present.
If you notice any strong side effects in your dog, then they need immediate veterinary care.
If you dog suffers from insomnia or difficulty sleep you might be interested in our article on Can Dogs Take Melatonin.