The short answer to this question is “yes.” Benadryl is safe for dogs. It is one of the few drugs that is recommended by veterinarians for over the counter use. It is reasonably safe but, as with any drug, it is a good idea to find out the dosage levels, the benefits and side effects before use.
What is Benadryl?
Benadryl is the trade name for the drug diphenhydramine. Diphenhydramine was discovered at the University of Cincinatti in 1943 and was the first antihistamine registered in the United States. Antihistamines are drugs which inhibit block histamine and are used in humans for treating colds, hay fever, insect bites and stings and hives.
Use of Benadryl in The Treatment of Dogs
Generally, Benadryl can be used for the treatment of a wide variety of conditions in dogs including:
Bites from insects such as fleas.
Fleas spend their adult lives on an animal. Their eggs and larvae are more often found in the dog’s environment. Symptoms of flea infestation on your dog include: constant licking, scratching or biting, hair loss, patches of red skin or you may see flea droppings on the dog’s hair. Benadryl can’t remove the fleas that needs an eradication program that will kill the adult fleas on the dog and remove sources of reinfestation from the environment. What Benadryl will do is give your dog relief from the constant itching.
Bee and wasp stings.
Many dogs love to chase and investigate large insects. If the insect happens to be a bee this can lead to your dog being stung. Generally a single bee sting, although painful, is fairly harmless. Benadryl will relieve your dog’s pain. You should watch out for an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: weakness, problems breathing or swelling away from the sting site. If you suspect your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction take him to a veterinarian immediately.
Bear in mind that bee stings and wasp stings are poisons. If your dog suffers multiple stings of even receives a single sting in the mouth of throat this could be dangerous. You should consult a veterinarian immediately.
Dogs can suffer anxiety in a number of situations. Common causes of anxiety are thunderstorms and car travel or separation anxiety. For long term solutions to these problems you should talk to a veterinarian of consult a dog trainer. Benadryl will help calm your dog. Other things you can try are playing music, aromatherapy, physical contact or simply putting the dog into an environment where the stimulus which is causing the anxiety is removed.
Benadryl also be used to relieve the symptoms of other conditions such as itchy skin, runny nose and nausea.
Benadryl is effective for treating most types of irritation. But bear in mind it is generally relieving the symptoms of a complaint rather than fixing the complaint itself. So if your dog has hives don’t expect Benadryl to make them disappear faster than the normally would. What it will do is begin speedy relief from the symptons.
Is Benadryl Safe For My Dog?
As with all drugs should only be given to your dog in the recommended dosage. You should read the label carefully and if you have any doubts check with your veterinarian. Benadryl should never be given in combination with any other drug, especially any other antihistamine.
There are some circumstances in which Benadryl should not be used. Liquid Benadryl could contain alcohol and this could be dangerous for your dog. Benadryl should not be given to a puppy without checking with your veterinarian. If your dog has some pre-existing condition it is also a good idea to check with your veterinarian. Some of the conditions which indicate that Benadryl should not be given include glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular disease and prostatic disease.
If your dog is pregnant be cautious about giving any type of drug. Again, check with your vet for advice if you are unsure.
When buying Benadryl for your dog check that it only contains diphenhydramine. Sometimes it can be mixed with other drugs which can be harmful to dogs. For this reason Benadryl that is designed for human consumption should not be given to dogs.
What is the Correct Benadryl Dosage For Dogs?
The recommended dosage of Benadryl for dogs is 1mg of each pound of body weight. Of course, this is limited by the size of the pills. Mostly, the pill size is 25mg so the best thing to do is use a rule of thumb as follows:
Small Dogs – 30 pounds or less – give a dose of 10mg or roughly half a pill.
Medium Dogs – 30-50 pounds – give a dose of 25mg
Larger Dogs – over 50 pounds – give 2 pills totalling 50mg.
Benadryl should be given 2-3 times per day at intervals of 8-12 hours. For more information about frequency of dosing give your veterinarian a call.
Used over a long period of time the effect of Benadryl might decline. If your dog does need long term treatment it would be worth checking with your vet to see if some other drug could be substituted from time to time.
Could I accidentally overdose my dog on Benadryl
You should take care to give your dog the correct dosage of Benadryl. It is possible to overdose your dog on this drug. If you do the consequences could be serious so you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Symptoms of overdose include high temperature, fatigue, difficulty breathing, muscle spasms and irregular heartbeat.
Will My Dog Suffer Side Effects From Taking Benadryl?
Benadryl is no different from all other drugs in that it does have some potential side effects. By far the most common of these are drowsiness or mild disorientation. Less common side effects include elevated heartrate, rapid breathing, diarrhoea, lack of appetite, dry mouth or vomiting. Watch out for these symptoms after the first doses and do not continue with the medication if they occur. If you have any doubts about the safety of use call your veterinarian.
How To Give Your Dog Benadryl.
Always give the Benadryl with food. Sometimes, breaking the pill into smaller pieces and hiding them inside chinks of meat or dried food will help your dog.
It’s not a bad idea to test your dog’s reaction to taking the pill. Maybe start out with a small piece and work your way up to the full dose.
Where Do I Get Benadryl For My Dog?
Benadryl is an inexpensive safe treatment for dogs. Serious side effects are very rare. If you are not sure about using it you should have a chat to your vet.
It has the advantage of being very fast acting so that often your dog will start getting relief within 30 minutes of taking it.