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Benadryl for Dogs: Use, Dosage, and Alternatives

Is Benadryl Safe for Dogs?


If your dog suffers from allergies or has an allergy, the solution can be found in your medicine cabinet or your neighborhood drugstore. We’re talking about Benadryl. While other human drugs should NOT be used on our canine companions, Benadryl is safe to use with the right dosage.

What is Benadryl

Benadryl, also known by its active ingredient diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine that alleviates both human and dog allergy symptoms.

Benadryl has a variety of uses when it comes to your dog's health. In this article, we explain how to give your dog Benadryl, the proper dosage according to body weight, and its potential side effects. We also have suggestions for natural alternatives to Benadryl.

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl? 

Yes, you can give your dog Benadryl. Veterinarians approve using Benadryl for dogs for a number of reasons. Antihistamines like Benadryl can help ease motion sickness, inflammatory and allergic reactions from insect bites and seasonal allergies.

Benadryl tablets work by blocking H1 receptors to keep histamines at bay, reducing symptoms of allergies. PetMD's Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Jessica Vogelsang assures dog parents that the drug is "well tolerated and has a wide safety margin" for use on dogs.

Benadryl Usage for Dogs

Veterinarians recommend Benadryl - and its generic diphenhydramine - for dogs for a range of symptoms. These include environmental allergies, food allergies, anxiety, hives, motion sickness and more.

Because Benadryl can cause drowsiness, it is sometimes used for dogs with mild to moderate anxiety issues. Many dog parents give their dogs Benadryl during high-stress situations like thunderstorms or fireworks. Veterinarians will recommend its use in conjunction with heartworm treatment as it prevents allergic reactions associated with it. 

Benadryl Dosage for Dogs

Most drugstore diphenhydramine tablets, whether generic or brand name Benadryl, are 25 milligrams. As with any drug, the correct dosage of Benadryl for dogs depends on the dog's weight.

Benadryl Dosage for Medium-to-Large Dogs

The standard dosage for a dog is 1 milligram per pound of body weight, so one tablet is perfect for a 25-pound dog. Veterinarians suggest giving a dose every 8-12 hours (about 2-3 times a day).

Benadryl Dosage for Small Dogs

Small dogs under 25 pounds can take the children's formula of liquid Benadryl. Liquid children's formula is easier for measuring the proper dosage for smaller dogs than the tablets. Stick to the children's formula of liquid Benadryl as the adult version contains alcohol, which is toxic to dogs.

Benadryl Dosage Chart for Dogs

Benadryl Dosage for Dogs

Additional Guidelines

Never give a dog too much Benadryl — an overdose is possible. Abuse of the drug can result in fatal diphenhydramine poisoning, so always consult your veterinarian if you are unsure of proper dosage. Signs of overdose include constipation, agitation, dilated pupils, seizures, and rapid heart rate.

If your dog is suffering from an onset of a severe allergic reaction, use your best judgment to determine if it would be best to opt for an emergency trip to your veterinarian. There are cases where a veterinarian may need to inject an antihistamine under your dog’s skin in order for the medicine to act more quickly.

Also, avoid using time-release capsules for dogs. Time release capsules are absorbed differently in humans vs dogs, and may affect your dog’s dosage.

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.

In order to avoid some of these side effects it is important to remember to administer the proper dosage for your dog as recommended by your veterinarian. 

When to Avoid Using 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.

Benadryl Alternatives

Benadryl is not the only solution for treating your beloved pet's condition. If you would rather not use over-the-counter drugs for your dog, there are natural alternatives for controlling allergy symptoms and motion sickness.

The following natural remedies are great options for providing the same kind of relief you can get from Benadryl.

Quercetin

When it comes to allergy symptoms like itchy red eyes, inflammation, sneezing, and runny noses in dogs, turn to nature's Benadryl: quercetin.

Three strawberries on blue background

Quercetin is a flavonoid found in the peels of fruits and vegetables that contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-histamine properties.

To determine how much quercetin to give your dog, we’ll look at the recommended dosage for humans weighing 150 pounds: 1,000 milligrams. To convert this into the right dose for your dog, take your pet's weight, multiply it by 1,000, then divide it by 150 to get the milligram dosage your pet needs. Viola! Quercetin occurs naturally in foods your dog can eat, too, like blueberries, strawberries, and spinach.

Fun fact for dog parents: Quercetin occurs naturally in red wine as well. Drink up and cheers to your health, bipeds!

CBD

CBD (cannabidol) is another natural alternative to Benadryl that is particularly great for dogs with adverse skin conditions. Yes, the word, "canna" is in "cannabidol," but CBD has absolutely no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in it, or any psychoactive properties that get marijuana users high.

CBD for medicinal use is not derived from marijuana, but from agricultural hemp that possesses health benefits for humans and pets alike. Studies have shown that CBD can help relieve itchy and dry skin due to daily allergies or allergic reactions. It also works wonders for dogs that suffer from motion sickness and is worth giving a try before your next car ride with Fido. CBD comes in tablet form as well as oils, lotions, and balms that can be applied topically to the affected area.

All in all, CBD is a reliable natural solution for a variety of medical conditions in addition to symptoms of allergies. CBD is incredibly versatile and can also be used in dogs and people for medical conditions like anxiety, pain, nausea, and cancer.

Baking Soda

Need an easy and immediate solution for calming your dog's red, itchy, and inflamed skin? Look no further than your kitchen. You can use it by making a paste or a spray solution. Make a paste by mixing baking soda with a little bit of water, then place it on the affected area for a few hours before washing off. To make a spray, use more water to baking soda, pour into a spray bottle, and shake before each use. If your dog is a licker, try covering the spot with a sock if it's on their foot, or have them wear a cone while the paste treats the area. 

Dog Allergies: Causes and Treatment

Believe it or not, your dog’s allergy symptoms might be from the food they're eating. The animal-based ingredients in dog food (beef, dairy, chicken, lamb, egg, pork, fish, and rabbit) are responsible for over 3 times as many food allergy cases as the plant-based ingredients. According to a study on PubMed.gov, after five weeks of their dog patients “starting an elimination diet, more than 80% of patients had achieved a remission of clinical signs of CAFR [Cutaneous Adverse Food Reactions].”

That means your dog’s allergies could be eliminated just by changing what they eat. So before you give your dog any Benadryl, consider switching their dog food. 86% of customers reported a positive health benefit for their dog after switching to Wild Earth dog food!

We have a number of reviews from customers whose dogs no longer suffer from chronic itching, licking, inflammation, or gastrointestinal problems because of switching to Wild Earth dog food. Check out one of them in the video below!

  

Ease Your Pup’s 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 dog’s 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.



What Is Actually In Your Dog's Food?

WAIT! BEFORE YOU GO on about your day, ask yourself: Is the dog food you're feeding your best friend really the best food out there? At its core, there’s an unhealthy meat dependency in pet food. Most of the time, meat in your pet food means: Bad ingredients. Bad practices. And bad health. Learn more about clean protein dog food...

 





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