A lot of people worry...
Is it safe for Benadryl to be administered to my dog? One major concern is that it is not approved by the FDA. However, keep in mind that most OTC (over the counter) drugs are not reviewed or approved by the FDA. Although Benadryl can have some side effects, the benefit to your dog could outweigh any negative issues.
Benadryl is the brand name for the active ingredient (AI) diphenhydramine HCL. This active ingredient has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, making it very effective, though there could be adverse effects with its use.
Normally, they are mild and do not cause the need for major concern. So relax and read on to learn symptoms that Benadryl can help, proper dosage amounts, methods for successfully giving your pet Benadryl, and some more common side effects.
Symptoms Benadryl can treat in Dogs:
- Skin Allergies - Your dog could have very sensitive skin (just like some humans) and be sensitive to certain shampoos, soaps, and laundry detergents and could itch or break out in a rash.
- Environmental Allergies - Certain foods, dust, mold, mildew, or environmental elements could irritate your pet's respiratory system which could cause sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, or swelling.
- Allergic reactions to Snake and insect bites - This can happen anytime your pet goes out to potty. You should look for bite marks or a swollen area. A dead giveaway is if your dog is suddenly licking a new spot over and over. If you suspect that fleas are making your dog miserable, you will want to read our stellar post on flea bites too.
- Itching - Your pet could come into contact with an irritant that makes them itch or swell.
- Insomnia - If your pet is in new surroundings, they may not be able to sleep. Benadryl can take the "edge" off and help them relax and grow drowsy.
- Vaccine reactions - Some dogs, including our Gracie, has reactions to some vaccines. Giving them Benadryl 30 minutes to 1 hour before the shot should help their system counter any reactions to shots like swelling and itching.
- Vet Visits - This event can cause great stress for many dogs.
- Anxiety - Is your dog frightened from storms, fireworks, any loud noises, or new situations or environments? This is not unusual, especially for indoor dogs. The "drowsy" effect of Benadryl can help alleviate nervous times.
- Hives - A results of emotional and anxiety issues. Again, Benadryl can bring quick relief to swelling or itching.
- Motion Sickness - Can calm their stomach and ease vomiting and a queasy tummy. A normal car ride for you could be a nightmare for your dog's stomach.
How much Benadryl can you give a dog?
The amount of Benadryl a dog is administered depends on his or her size.
To be precise, 1mg per pound of body weight is the best prescription for dogs. Therefore, a 30-pound dog should be administered 30 mg of Benadryl. And a 24-pound dog should be administered 24mg. The dog should normally be administered three times daily, although consult your dog's veterinarian for a custom recommendation.
Benadryl Dosage = Your dog's weight in milligrams. Please don't guess, weigh your dog first!
You must ensure that dosage is followed strictly to avoid any complications.
However, in cases of overdose, look for side effects like:
- Intense heart rate
- Hyperexcitability Anxiety
If you suspect an overdose, stop giving Benadryl and contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not go on to administer any medications without professional advice at this point.
Tips for Proper Administration of Benadryl to your Dog
- Test the waters first - Instead of giving the full recommended dose, start out with smaller amounts of Benadryl and observe your dog for a few hours. Look out for any side effects or reactions your dog may exhibit.
- Always administer with food - This will help to avoid certain side effects of the drug such as lack of appetite and nausea. Dog food with high protein is best to use.
- If you are administering Benadryl tablets, you could break it up into chunks and place them inside a piece of meat or buried in peanut butter. Your dog will definitely munch on this without ever knowing there is a pill inside the "treat".
- If you are administering liquid gel Benadryl, you could mix it up with some wet food containing gravy (thick sauce). Your dog will enjoy the gravy without noticing the drug. You can also position a dropper in the back of your dog's mouth by gently opening his or her jaws. Squeeze the liquid from the dropper and then follow with their favorite treat!
Side effects of Benadryl:
Care should be taken when administering Benadryl for dogs as there are side effects.
**Note: If you are already administering any drugs prior to using Benadryl, you need to check with your veterinarian to see if there are any potential dangers or side effects that could arise by adding an additional drug to their system.
Common side effects of Benadryl include:
- Urinary retention
- Hyper salivation
- Faster breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Vomiting - If your dog is throwing up white foam or pooping blood, this could be a sign of a different or serious issue.
**Note: If you see a continuation of these common side effects where it is impacting your dog's quality of life, we recommend stopping the Benadryl and consulting a vet.
Rare side effects: (Please take your dog right away to the vet for any of these)
- Prostatic hypertrophy – A histologic diagnosis typified by the proliferation of the cellular elements of the prostate.
- Hypertension – abnormally high blood pressure and psychological stress
- Allergic lung disease – this could lead to obstruction of the airways
- Angle closure glaucoma – a continuous production of fluid draining out of a normal eye
- Heart failure
Frequently asked questions of dog owners include:
1 - How long does it take for Benadryl to start working?
- Benadryl takes about 30 minutes to start working. Pre-treatment should be considered in cases where the dog may undergo a stressful event. This will prevent motion sickness or anxiety.
2 - Should I administer the medicine by pill, injection or liquid form?
- If you must use the liquid form, the children’s liquid form is more preferable. However, dogs dislike the taste of liquid formula of Benadryl, so tablets would be better if possible. It may be necessary for the injectable form of Benadryl to be administered at times. This should be left for the veterinarian.
3 - Is Benadryl safe for puppies?
- Just as administration of drugs to babies cannot be the same with adults, care must be taken when dealing with puppies. Seek advice from your veterinarian to ensure they are given only the best medications as they are still developing.
- When used according to the instructions of a veterinarian, Benadryl is a safe and effective medication for your dog. It is always proper, as with any other medication, to look out for any adverse effects and reactions from the onset. This will greatly limit any complications that may arise.
Pet Hangout wants to remind you that there are many symptoms that Benadryl can effectively treat in your dog like allergies, anxiety, and insomnia to name a few. Understanding your dog's health BEFORE giving this drug will help you gain a sense of how helpful the drug is to your dog. It will also help you see any common or rare side effects that may occur. As with any drug, there are pros and cons to consider. Always balance the positive help that the drug is giving your dog against any negative side effects. The recommended daily dose is your dog's weight in milligrams. Always start conservative with the dose and observe your dog for any negative reactions. If you see huge areas of concern with your pet after giving the drug, always be safe and get your dog to a vet right away.
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