Most people have taken Benadryl, which is helpful for various allergies, but many dog owners want to know if it’s a medication they can safely give their dogs.
What Is Benadryl?
Benadryl is an antihistamine that’s commonly used for hay fever and other types of allergies. Histamine is a type of compound that the body releases to respond to an inflammatory or allergic reaction. Scientists and doctors consider antihistamines to be a class of drugs that neutralize histamine receptor activity. The ingredient in Benadryl is diphenhydramine which is found in some other allergy medications. However, Benylin, Nytol, Panadol, and similar allergy medications contain different ingredients and should never be given to dogs.
A variety of Benadryl-type products sold over-the-counter contains acetaminophen, which is not safe for dogs. Cetirizine and pseudoephedrine are the ingredients in many generic allergy products. Cetirizine can cause liver or kidney damage in dogs and should never be given to them. The bottom line is that acetaminophen, cetirizine, and pseudoephedrine are toxic to dogs. If you use Benadryl for your dog, you should read the ingredients label carefully.
What Is Benadryl Used For?
Since Benadryl is an antihistamine, people use it for various allergy symptoms like hay fever or to minimize signs of allergies. Some people that have pet allergies or are sensitive to pet dander use the drug. Complaints or symptoms that people take Benadryl for include:
- Anxiety and Stress
- Motion or Travel Sickness
How Does It Work?
When a human or dog suffers the effects of allergies or inflammation, the body’s natural defense releases the chemical Histamine. The function of Histamine is to help the body to recover from the problem. However, Histamine can cause a variety of reactions that may include:
- Increased Heart Rate
These symptoms are the result of H1 receptors being released into the body. Some people experience an increase in the secretion of stomach acid, but this isn’t as common. Problems with excessive stomach acid are the result of the release of H2 receptors.
Can Dogs Take Benadryl? Is It Safe?
Veterinarians frequently recommend Benadryl for dogs. Generally speaking, the medication is safe for dogs. There are specific things to check before you administer Benadryl to your dog. The most important thing to remember is that you should only give your dog a Benadryl product that contains diphenhydramine and nothing else. One of the active ingredients in generic Benadryl-type products is Cetirizine. Even though this ingredient is safe for humans, it’s not safe for dogs.
Can Dogs Take Benadryl Made For Humans?
There isn’t currently a Benadryl product specifically for dogs, even though some suppliers market canine Benadryl. The FDA hasn’t approved a product for canine use. However, this is the same product veterinarians recommend and only contains diphenhydramine, which is safe. Time-release capsules should not be given to dogs. Veterinarians recommend Benadryl since it relieves a variety of symptoms with minimal side effects. If you’re going to give your dog Benadryl, consult your veterinarian and follow their recommendations.
What Specific Conditions Can Benadryl Treat In Dogs?
- To Relax Before Boarding A Plane
- Calm Dogs During Fireworks And Thunderstorms
- Food Allergies
- Insect Bites And Bee Stings
- Motion Sickness
- Reactions To Vaccinations
Before you board your flight, you can give your dog Benadryl to relax and stay calm on the trip. A lot of dogs panic during thunderstorms and when fireworks are set off. If there’s a holiday or special occasion approaching and fireworks will be part of the festivities, stock up on Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) before the event.
Benadryl can be taken for food allergies. You should check with your veterinarian to ensure there are no serious issues other than food sensitivity. Hives won’t go away faster if you give your dog Benadryl, but it will be more comfortable until the symptoms subside. If your dog is having a severe reaction to an insect bite or bee sting, it’s wise to contact your vet. For minor irritations like ant or flea bites, Benadryl can relieve the symptoms.
If you and your dog are going for a ride in the car, a dose of Benadryl can be relaxing and help prevent motion sickness. A dose of Benadryl before your dog has any vaccines or injections can reduce the severity of any side effects. It’s advisable to talk to your vet before use. When you’re flying or driving, and your dog is going along, you should administer a dose of Benadryl at least 30 minutes before you begin your trip. If you already use Benadryl for your dog, know how long it takes to have the desired effect. In some dogs, it take an hour or two before the impact of the medication sets in.
Dosage Of Dog Benadryl
Different circumstances can determine the dosage of Benadryl to give a dog. The drug is administered to a dog based on body weight. Veterinarians usually recommend 1 mg for each pound. If your dog weighs 25 pounds, you give one 25 mg tablet. If your dog doesn’t take medication easily, the pill can be placed in a dog treat or a tiny bit of wet dog food.
How Often Can Dogs Take Benadryl?
The recommended dosage of Benadryl for dogs is one mg per pound every 8 to 12 hours, or three times a day. Dogs shouldn’t be given Benadryl any less than 8 hours apart. The drug shouldn’t be given to dogs any more than three times each day. The critical point is that if your veterinarian has prescribed Benadryl for a specific number of days, you should finish the medication.
Your dog may feel better after a few doses, but veterinarians prescribe antihistamines for a set time to make sure the adverse side effects are out of the dog’s system. If a dog has a condition that requires antihistamines for a more extended period, the vet may alternate Benadryl and another medication.
Side Effects of Benadryl For Dogs
Animals and humans respond to medications differently. Your dog may experience some side effects from taking Benadryl. The most common side effects are:
- Dry Mouth
- Less Interest in Food
- Sleepiness or Sedation
- Urinating Less
If your dog is experiencing one or more severe reactions, you should contact your veterinarian. The vet may prescribe a different type of medication to alleviate the symptoms.
What Dogs Should Not Get Benadryl?
If a dog is currently on medication for an existing medical problem, your veterinarian may prescribe a drug other than Benadryl. Dogs with pre-existing medical conditions or dogs that have had past issues may not be able to take the medication. If your dog has any of the following medical problems, you shouldn’t use Benadryl:
- Enlarged prostate
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Lung disease
- Diphenhydramine sensitivity
If your dog is pregnant, any medication, including Benadryl that’s not a necessity, should be avoided. Pregnancy complications from drugs can have the same effect on unborn puppies as human babies. It’s essential to keep the puppies and the mother as healthy as possible.
Can Dogs Take Liquid Benadryl?
Benadryl also produces its medicine in a liquid form. The liquid is alcohol-free and is primarily for children. If you give your dog the liquid, you have to figure out the correct dosage. Every 5 ml of liquid Benadryl for children contains 12.5 mg of diphenhydramine. The dosage for dogs should be 0.4 ml of medication for each pound of the dog’s weight.
Can Dogs Take Benadryl Pills?
Dogs can safely take Benadryl pills as long as it isn’t a slow-release capsule. You should check the label to make sure you have the product that’s safe for your pet.
How To Give Benadryl To A Dog
Giving pills to a dog can be tricky. It’s sometimes easier to get your pup to swallow a pill if it’s placed in a tiny bit of wet food. An effective way to get the medication into your dog is to give them a bit of one of their favorite foods. Then offer the dog a little more food with the tablet mixed in.
Giving your dog a snack of one of their favorite treats is an excellent way to hide medication. Give your dog a few pieces of his favorite food, then hide the medicine in one piece. An alternative is to use a pill pocket. The pockets can be purchased by pet product suppliers and are in the form of a tasty treat.
If you prefer to give your dog the liquid variety of Benadryl, a syringe is an excellent way to get the medicine into them. Some dogs will take the drug if it’s mixed in with their favorite canned food.
Can Dogs Overdose On Benadryl?
Benadryl dosage for dogs must be followed accordingly. Dogs can overdose on Benadryl, and it can have serious consequences. Signs of an overdose include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme fatigue
- High temperature
- Muscle spasms
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
High blood pressure can be a sign of an overdose, but this is less common than some of the other side effects. If a dog’s blood pressure gets exceptionally high, it can be life-threatening. High blood pressure can lead to seizures and serious medical issues.
What Should You Do?
If you suspect that your dog has had an overdose of Benadryl or any drug, it’s essential to seek immediate medical help. You should get your dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible. In any cases, it would be an excellent idea to keep your veterinarian’s phone number and the nearest emergency vet clinic posted in a prominent place.
The ASPCA has a poison control hotline that pet owners can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline is available to pet owners on holidays and weekends. If you think your pet may have ingested a poisonous or toxic substance, including a medication, you can call for immediate assistance. The toll-free number is 888-426-4435.
If you think it would benefit your dog to take Benadryl, you should first discuss it with your veterinarian. The vet can determine if the medicine will help your dog based on the symptoms. The best course of action is to discuss your dog’s symptoms and any medical conditions that are current. If it’s your first visit to the vet, they’ll want to get your dog’s complete medical history, including any current or previous medical problems your dog has had.
It’s advisable not to make the decision yourself. Your vet is the one qualified to determine if Benadryl is an appropriate medication for your pet. If you aren’t sure about the correct dosage, you should always consult your veterinarian.