Is It Safe To Use Benadryl For Dogs? 10 Queries Answered

    Benadryl for dogs is something that has been the topic of discussion amongst several pet owners, or dog owners to be specific, for a long time. The idea of trying to use medicines that work for you on your pets might be tempting because after all, they are living beings too right?

    But this is not something that is recommended. Well, in certain cases, some mild medicines might be recommended to get rid of or reduce certain symptoms in animals like skin rashes or dizziness, etc. But it is not something that the vets will prescribe you but in certain cases, it might be allowed.

    Benadryl for dogs is something that falls under this category of things that are allowed to be used on dogs sometimes. Using certain medicines like antibiotics or other things that cure issues like stomach aches or fever in humans, on dogs might lead to very serious health issues.

    Some medicines might prove to be very toxic for your pets whereas some might actually help, so it would be better if you took advice from your vet as to what medicines you can use on them.

    Also, keep in mind that when you go to the vet to ask about which human medicines you can give to your pet, ask the vet for very detailed instructions and then follow those instructions.

    Ask them how much medicine you can give to your pet, how many doses are okay as well as the concentration of the medicine. Administer the medicine to your pet only after you know these things.

    In this article, I am going to be talking about Benadryl for dogs, how you can administer Benadryl to your pet, what things you should keep in mind, and some other things to help you out.


    How Safe Is It To Use Benadryl For Dogs?

    benadryl for dogs

    I am sure it hurts you to see your pet dog in pain and you would want nothing more than to relieve them from that pain but keep in mind that using human painkillers on your dogs without being given permission by your vet to do so might end up very badly for your dog.

    You should keep in mind that the symptoms of something bad happening in their bodies might not show until much later, so be on alert after you administer any human medicine on them.

    There are certain medicines like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or in common words, medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen, that are used for arthritis or other such things and relieve you from pain but might even be fatal for your pets.

    There are medicines like meloxicam, deracoxib, etc that can be given to the dogs but you should ask your vet about them first. Benadryl for dogs is another such medicine that is used by a lot of dog owners to help their dogs through various things that I will be mentioning later in this article.

    Other common medicines like aspirin or Tylenol should not be used on your pets either because they can have very adverse side effects and even be fatal to your pet. Some medicines that are useful other than Benadryl for dogs are Tagamet, Pepcid AC, Zantac, etc.

    So to sum up the usage of medicine on dogs, in short, see the following table, where I have listed a few medicines that you can and cannot use on dogs.


    Common Medicines To Be Used And Not To Be Used:

    Medicines That You Can Use On Your Pets Medicines You Can’t Use On Your Pets
    Carprofen, meloxicam, deracoxib, etc NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, naproxen
    Benadryl for dogs Aspirin
    Tagamet HB, Pepcid AC, zantac for dogs Tylenol
    Glucosamine, Neosporin Loperamide


    There are a lot of other medicines that can be used on dogs like :

    • Meclizine
    • Dimenhydrinate
    • Neosporin
    • Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol)
    • Clomipramine (clomicalm)
    • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
    • Sileo (dexmedetomidine), etc.

    I cannot stress it enough that before you start giving medicines to your dogs that you use on your own, consult your vet first even if it is some medicine as minor as Benadryl for dogs. You do not know what kind of reaction your dog might have to what kind of medicine, so it is essential to get an expert to look over your dog and then make a decision.

    Even if you might have the best interest of your dog at heart, the medicine might react badly to the body of your dog because it is built differently from you. If a medicine as common and harmless as aspirin can result in the death of certain animals, you can imagine how things can go if not monitored properly.

    That is the reason why I am going to be telling you everything about Benadryl for dogs, how you can use them on your pets, what risks it poses, reactive symptoms that the medicine will cause, what other alternative you can have for Benadryl for dogs when to go to the pet if you feel something is wrong, things it will help with and a lot more.

    Benadryl for dogs is something that can be very useful for your pet if it is used properly and under the recommendation of your vet, so read ahead to find out everything about it.


    What Is Benadryl For Dogs?

    benadryl for dogs

    Now that I’ve given you some background on Benadryl for dogs, let’s find out what Benadryl actually is. Benadryl is the name of a brand that uses diphenhydramine HCl as an active ingredient in its medicines. Diphenhydramine is a 1st generation ethanolamine-derivative antihistamine.

    All that sounds very complicated right? Well, it’s the scientific way that classifies the antihistamines that’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Being able to do that just makes them more effective. But it should be kept in mind that even if its effectiveness is increased, there are still a lot of side effects.

    As I said before, it’s essential that you consult your vet before using Benadryl for dogs. One of the reasons behind that is Benadryl is not approved to be used on dogs by the FDA. But even though it has not been approved by the FDA, the vets know how to make use of it, so they can prescribe the use of Benadryl for dogs and it is a common medicine for dogs in the US.

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    Using Benadryl for dogs might help your pets with certain allergies but you should keep in mind that Benadryl is a brand name and not the name of the drug that treats allergies. A lot of other brands manufacture similar kinds of medicines as well so Benadryl can have other drugs used for making its medicines.

    That is the reason I stress that you should take advice from your vet before you give it to your pet. You should have a look at the ingredients of the medicine before you give it to your dog because if you are not careful, it might be disastrous for the dog.

    Some Benadryl products might have acetaminophen, cetirizine, pseudoephedrine, etc that may or may not be safe for your dog.


    How Does Benadryl Work?

    As I said, using Benadryl for dogs can prove to be very useful and that will be because it helps in reducing certain symptoms in your dog. Benadryl is basically diphenhydramine and it is an antihistamine that helps in reducing symptoms of allergy, hay fever, common cold in humans, and some similar things in dogs too.

    Benadryl works in a rather simple way, it blocks a natural substance that is called histamine. Histamine is made by the body when an allergic reaction is happening. What Benadryl actually does is that it blocks the receptors that receive histamines in the body.

    Because of this, a lot of symptoms like itching, sneezing, hives, etc, go away. Keep in mind that the body does not stop producing histamines, rather it just blocks the receptors which register that the histamines exist.

    Talking about humans, when it comes to the drying effects of Benadryl, it affects symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, etc. That is done by blocking away another natural substance that your body makes. This natural substance is called acetylcholine.

    I am writing this article to tell you about Benadryl for dogs but it does not hurt to get some additional information on things, does it? Benadryl is usually made for adults unless it is not specifically specified on the product.

    That’s one of the reasons why using Benadryl on kids under the age of 6 is not advisable. Children with cold symptoms and other things should not be given this medicine. There are some medicines that are made to be long-lasting which are not to be used for children under the age of 12.

    When it comes to using medicines, you should always ask the professional and let them make the decision of whether you should administer the medicine or not.


    In What Ways Does Benadryl For Dogs Help?

    Using Benadryl for dogs can be a good idea for a lot of reasons after it has been approved by the vet. They can help with a lot of allergies and even with travel anxiety. Let us discuss this in detail.



    Benadryl can be used to treat a lot of allergies in dogs that are not severe. That means if the allergies are mild or moderate, then they can be used. As I have mentioned several times by now, Benadryl is an antihistamine that blocks the H-1 receptors that are present on smooth muscles as well as on blood vessels.

    Benadryl, when consumed orally, can also treat most allergies that are seasonal or food allergies, environmental allergies, and allergies that happen because of snakes or insect bites. Most commonly, using Benadryl for dogs is done when the dog is experiencing itchiness which is caused by skin allergies.

    You should note that if your pet is experiencing acute allergies which have symptoms like swelling of the face or having difficulty in breathing then you should go to the vet as soon as possible. Some of the allergies will need to be treated with allergy medicines along with being treated for any infections that might be present on your dog.

    Using Benadryl for dogs can reduce a lot of symptoms of allergies which include:

    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Inflammation
    • Runny nose
    • Sneezing
    • Coughing
    • Runny eyes
    • Anaphylactic reaction
    benadryl for dogs


    Benadryl also helps with travel anxiety in dogs. This is actually a side effect of the medicine which causes drowsiness which you must have experienced sometimes as well. It has been found in some studies that using Benadryl for dogs will reduce the anxiety that is in the mild to moderate range.

    Even though Benadryl is known to reduce anxiety, it will be best to talk to your vet about the best medication for anxiety in your pet dog and find out what is the cause or reason for this anxiety. Anxiety in dogs might be caused due to:

    • Traveling
    • Fireworks
    • Lightning and thunderstorms

    Benadryl can be used to prevent travel anxiety as it reduces motion sickness as it acts as a mild sedative because it makes the dogs somewhat drowsy. Although, you should keep in mind that Benadryl does not affect dogs like it affects humans.

    When you go to the vet to talk about your dog’s anxiety, they will tell you about various treatment methods. The treatment might sometimes include making changes to things like:

    • The environment the dog is living in
    • The behavioral training that the dog is undergoing

    There are other things that can be done as well by using tools like anxiety vests and pheromones. There is another important thing that you should know about and that is that certain dogs and cat species can get the opposite reaction by taking this medicine.

    Benadryl is supposed to sedate the dogs but instead, it will cause hyperactivity in your pets and that might just increase their stress and anxiety as well.

    So you should try out the medicine at home and see if your pet is having normal reactions to it or something odd is happening with it before you use it during a traveling to someplace. If something odd happens, you should consult your vet.


    Other Things Using Benadryl For Dogs Can Help With

    Sometimes, the vet might even advise you to use Benadryl for dogs if the dog has mast cell tumors which will help mitigate the effects of the massive histamine release which is a result of mast cell degradation.

    The usage of Benadryl for dogs might also be advised for the treatment of heartworm. The diphenhydramine will help reduce the risk of an allergic reaction that can happen in your dog’s body while the heartworm treatment is being carried out. Benadryl is even used in many pet first aid kits but again, before adding it to the kit, take advice from the vet.


    When Is It Okay To Ask Your Vet For Benadryl For Dogs?

    benadryl for dogs

    Like I have been saying so much, using Benadryl for dogs may or may not help your dog. To find out if it is going to be safe to be using Benadryl, you should consult the vet unless you yourself are a professional in the field and know how the medicine is going to react with your pet.

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    There are a lot of things that can be symptoms of something severe. Allergy symptoms may include itching, red eyes and they can be signifying a problem that goes deeper than the surface. There are a lot of things that might just escalate and get worse when Benadryl is administered.

    As I have said, red and goopy eyes could indicate allergies or they could indicate that your dog is going through glaucoma or dry eye on which Benadryl will have no effect. Itching is another sign of allergies and other conditions of the skin.

    When you go to the vet, they will tell you if Benadryl will affect any other medical conditions that your dog might have. You might know that medicines can have things that might interfere with the treatment or working or any other medication that you might be taking.

    It all is just basic chemistry that tells you to not mix two random chemicals together because you do not know what they are and hence cannot predict the end result. So if unfortunately, your dog does have some other disease or condition, do not put them at risk by being arrogant that you know what is going to happen when you use Benadryl for dogs.

    Using Benadryl for dogs would be a good thing but you should never do it randomly without any prior knowledge because that can even lead to you losing your lovely pet.


    Which Dogs Cannot Have Benadryl?

    I already mentioned in the last sub-topic that using Benadryl for dogs would be a bad idea if your dog has some other physical health condition that it is already taking medications for. Giving Benadryl to your dog with some other medicine might create a bad reaction when both these medicines mix so it would be better if you asked the vet before doing it.

    Even if you are not using Benadryl for dogs with some other medication, there are just simple things in your dog’s body that will take badly to the medicine and create a very bad allergic sign. You never know what your dog body might be allergic to, so it would be best to be cautious in that case, lest you make your dog suffer for a silly mistake.

    What I mentioned above happens only in rare cases, it is not that common but that should become a reason for you to become reckless and compromise with the safety of your dog. Most dogs tolerate the drug present in Benadryl very nicely even though there are a few side effects but they are not that major. I will talk about the side effects in the next sub-topic.

    Using Benadryl for dogs is highly recommended for small allergies like redness, hives, etc. Benadryl can even be proclaimed as one of the safest over-the-counter drugs for the canine patient. The medical conditions that do not allow the use of Benadryl for dogs are:

    • Low blood pressure
    • Cardiac conditions i.e. cardiovascular diseases
    • Glaucoma
    • If your dog is pregnant

    So if your dog has low blood pressure or is suffering from glaucoma or cardiovascular diseases, then you should refrain from using Benadryl. You shouldn’t use Benadryl for dogs if they are pregnant because that can harm the mother.


    Risks And Side Effects Of Benadryl For Dogs

    Now that I have mentioned that using Benadryl for dogs can pose serious risks to your pets and that it has a lot of side effects, it is time I explained myself and helped take your knowledge a bit higher.

    There are a lot of side effects of using Benadryl in dogs so it can affect many other conditions in your pet. You should ask your vet before using the medicine if your pet has the following conditions.

    benadryl for dogs

    Benadryl not to used without Vet’s advice if your dog has:

    • Hypothyroidism
    • Seizure disorders
    • Hypertension
    • Allergic lung disease

    If your dog has these four things along with the other things like cardiovascular diseases, glaucoma, pregnancy, etc, that I mentioned above, then you should not administer the medicine to your dog on your own as it might have very serious side effects.

    The common side effects that the dogs will experience after consuming Benadryl are not very different from what we human beings experience.


    Common Side Effects:

    • Drowsiness
    • Dry mouth
    • Urinary retention
    • Rapid breathing
    • Increased heart rate
    • Hypersalivation

    There are certain things that could give rise to these side effects. Read the following list to find out what they can be.


    Causes Of Common Side Effects:

    • Medication
    • Food
    • Pest control products
    • Yeast infection
    • Seasonal allergies
    • Environmental toxins
    • Autoimmune disease
    • Vaccination

    Determining the cause of these side effects might get a bit tricky. You might have to investigate and observe a lot before you come to a decision. If you are unable to determine what is causing the issues in your pet, you should go to your vet and they will help you with this issue and any other issue that your dog might be facing.

    The vet might ask you to give suppressive medicine like apoquel, cytopoint, and of course, Benadryl along with other antibiotics or steroids. When you have determined what the cause of the side effects are, you can start with the treatment of your dog.

    There are a lot of natural products available which you can use instead of Benadryl if your dog is facing some issues with Benadryl. These natural products include colostrum, quercetin, medicinal mushrooms, etc.

    • Medicinal mushrooms that can help your dog are those that have very high beta-glucan and those are: Reishi
    • Shiitake
    • Cordyceps
    • Turkey tail
    • Maitake

    There are a lot of other side effects that are not very common. These side effects are experienced by very few dogs.


    Rare Side Effects:

    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Decreased appetite
    • Increased appetite
    • Breathing issues
    • Very excessive increase in the heart rate
    • Cognitive issues
    • Confusion and dementia
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Nausea
    • Constipations
    • Gastrointestinal issues
    • Trembling
    • Heart palpitations

    There are certain risks that using Benadryl for dogs poses and those risks can be because your dog might be allergic to certain things. If your dog is allergic to diphenhydramine then the symptoms that you will see would be similar to any other allergy.


    Risks Of Using Benadryl If Your Dog Is Allergic To It:

    • Red rashes appearing on the skin
    • Experiencing some swelling on the face and even on the tongue
    • Experiencing diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Upset stomach
    • Chewing the skin or licking it

    All these things can be seen happening after an hour of consumption of the medicine by the dog. That is the reason you should keep an eye on your dog after you have administered Benadryl on it. Along with these symptoms, your dogs will experience the above-mentioned side effects as well.

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    If you feel like the symptoms or side effects are getting too severe then immediately take your pet to the vet and they will help ease any discomfort your dog might be feeling and then treat whatever problem your dog might have.

    Also, keep in mind that the minor symptoms that your dog will experience will go away once the medicine leaves the body of your dog.


    Other Times You Should Not Use Benadryl For Dogs

    There are some other cases when you should refrain from using Benadryl for dogs. The young dogs, i.e the puppies might not take this medicine very well. So it is necessary to ask your vet before you give it to a puppy. As I said, do not use Benadryl with other medicines unless you know for sure that the medicines will not interact with each other.

    If your dog is unable to take Benadryl for some reason like it vomits or spits out after consuming this medicine then contact your vet. There are a lot of alternatives available for Benadryl so you can use those as well. I have listed these alternatives in a sub-topic below. These alternatives have a lot of natural solutions as well.

    The Canadian Society Of Allergy And Clinical Immunology has told us in the past that using this drug on dogs can pose high risks and side effects to your dogs and overdosing should not be done in any case. CSACI said that this drug leads to a few intolerable and even potentially fatal effects.

    They explained that because this drug crosses the blood-brain barrier, it is highly risky. It might even lead to significant CNS suppression and toxicity that might even result in psychomotor impairment, coma, and eventually death.


    Is There Such A Thing As Benadryl Overdose?

    Is there such a thing as overdosing your dog with Benadryl? Yes, there absolutely is. Like any other medicine or even with literally anything, too much can be the cause of a problem, and Benadryl for dogs is no different.

    There is a big possibility that you can overdose your dog on Benadryl by mistake. If you realize that you have accidentally let your dog overdose on Benadryl then you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

    There are signs or symptoms that can tell you that an overdose has happened and those are:

    • Constipation
    • Seizures
    • Dilated pupils
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Agitation


    Dosage Of Benadryl For Dogs

    Now you know what overdosing can do to your dog, but what is the correct amount of Benadryl that should be administered? The best way to determine how much Benadryl you should feed your dog would be to ask the vet.

    Many vets recommend that 2 to 4 milligrams of Benadryl per kilogram weight of the dog’s body should be ideal. This much Benadryl can be given 2 to 3 times a day but the dosage will depend on the condition of the dog.

    Young puppies are more often than not very sensitive to any kind of medication that is given to them and that is the reason why it becomes necessary to ask your vet for advice. This drug should not be given to dogs that are pregnant or nursing dogs.

    It is recommended that you should not use any time-release capsule for your dog and the capsules get absorbed in a different way by the dogs than in humans. These capsules might break open, be chewed upon, and could deliver too much medicine at once which might cause an overdose to happen.

    If Benadryl contains sodium, then it would be best if you did not use that medicine on your dogs because it has other side effects. Using Benadryl for dogs that have alcohol is not advisable either. You can use pills or tablets of Benadryl after consulting your vet. Benadryl is also known to solve the issue of insomnia in dogs.


    Other Alternative To Benadryl For Dogs To Provide Allergic Relief

    There are some dogs that might be allergic to Benadryl but if they need constant medication of some kind, what do you do? You would be happy to know that there are a lot of alternatives available for Benadryl.

    Zyrtec/Cetirizine and Loratadine/Claritin are very safe for dogs when given in the correct doses. These medicines get combined with other ingredients like decongestants which might hurt your dog and that is why the advice your vet gives you on this matter is to be followed.

    If your dog has acute allergic reactions, it would be good if you used fast-acting methods of reducing the symptoms like itching, these methods could include using cortisone creams or shots. These treatments start working within minutes of administration.

    Although you should keep in mind that cortisone treatment is best when used in the short term because it might have certain uncomfortable side effects on your dog. There are other things that you can use as an alternative to Benadryl as well.

    Quercetin can reduce allergy symptoms like itchy red eyes, inflammation, and sneezing as well as a runny nose. You can even call quercetin nature’s Benadryl. Quercetin is a flavonoid that is found in the peels of fruits and vegetables that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-histamine properties.

    Another alternative would be CBD which is cannabidiol. This can help your dog with adverse skin conditions. CBD for medical purposes is not taken from marijuana but from agricultural hemp that has health benefits for animals.

    Baking soda can help your dog with inflamed skin and other skin issues as well. You can make a paste of baking soda or a spray solution and then apply it to the infected area and cover the area with a cloth or something similar.


    Precautions To Be Taken

    Now that you know almost everything about using Benadryl for dogs, let me tell you about certain precautions you can take:

    • Every animal reacts differently to antihistamines and hence the dose of the diphenhydramine should depend on the particular animal.
    • Antihistamines have sedative side effects and hence should be used with caution.
    • If your pet has issues like prostatic hypertrophy, bladder neck obstruction, severe heart failure, glaucoma, etc, then this drug should be used cautiously if at all.
    • If the pet is old then a low dose of this drug should be used.
    • If the animal is pregnant then this should not be administered in large quantities.
    benadryl for dogs

    Closure | Benadryl For Dogs

    Using Benadryl for dogs can prove to be a very good thing when it is done under the guidance and supervision of the pet. Benadryl can help with a lot of allergies and even with travel anxiety.

    You should note that Benadryl can have a lot of side effects and if you accidentally overdose your pet on this drug, it might even be fatal.

    There are a lot of health conditions during which you should not feed your dog Benadryl and others in which you should not mix Benadryl with other medications as doing that might have adverse effects on your dog.

    When you use excessive Benadryl for dogs, you might overdose on it and that will have side effects of its own and can even be fatal for your dog, so you should try not to do that.

    There are a lot of alternatives to Benadryl and if your dog is not taking to this drug, well then you can use those alternate methods to help your dog. In the end, what matters is that your dog should feel comfortable and should not feel any kind of pain.

    If you are unable to help on your own, take it to the vet as soon as you can because delaying that might just put your dog at a greater risk. Keep all these points in mind and you or your dog will not have to suffer from anything bad.

    Keep your dog healthy!



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