You know Benadryl as an antihistamine typically used to treat human allergies, but it's proven safe for pups as well. Multiple breeds of dogs are predisposed to allergies, and even ones who aren't are susceptible to allergic reactions from things like bee stings and vaccines. Since allergies are commonplace in dogs, pet parents must know what Benadryl is and how to use it in a pinch.
Even though it's safe for dogs to use Benadryl, that doesn't mean that it's okay for all dogs. We always recommend that you talk with your veterinarian before administering any medication to your pet.
In this post, we'll answer all of your Benadryl-related questions like how to dose it, signs your dog needs Benadryl, possible side effects, and if there are natural alternatives.
How much Benadryl can I give my dog?
First things first, make sure you read this whole section before rushing to give your dog Benadryl! There are multiple factors to pay attention to in order to make sure you're making the safest choice for your dog.
Dosing Benadryl properly is essential to ensure effectiveness and to avoid adverse side effects. The appropriate dosage is mainly dependent on your dog's size.
Benadryl dosing guide for dogs according to Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook:
- 1 mg of Benadryl per 1 pound of your dog's body weight. (ex: 25 ml for 25 lb dog, 50 ml for 50 lb dog)
- Use no more than every 8-12 hours a day.
- Give smaller dogs children's Benadryl for the appropriate dose.
You should start to see results within half an hour. If your dog is on medication, absolutely consult your veterinarian before using Benadryl because the two medicines could interact poorly. Additionally, if your dog is having a severe allergic reaction and you don't see improvement within half an hour after ingesting, consider taking your dog to the vet.
What are the signs that your dog is experiencing allergies or an allergic reaction?
The allergy signs to look for in dogs are primarily the same as humans display. They include:
- Itchy/Red eyes
- Excessive coughing
- Nasal congestion
- Swelling or Hives
- Difficulty Breathing
- Unusually itchy skin
- Wheezing sounds while breathing
If your dog is having a severe allergic reaction, it should display a variety of these symptoms, and you won't have any problem diagnosing them.
Are there possible side effects of Benadryl in Dogs?
Just like with any medication, adverse side effects are possible. For Benadryl, those include drowsiness, cottonmouth, increased heart rate, excess salivation, high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, urinary retention, sedation, and loss of appetite.
To avoid a bad reaction, make sure you are dosing your dog correctly. Benadryl overdose is possible, and signs include fainting, constipation, shaking, agitation, seizures, and rapid heart rate. Please pay close attention to your dog for an hour after taking Benadryl to assure that they aren't showing any signs of overdose.
Can some Benadryl side effects be positive?
In some cases, yes. Benadryl is often prescribed to help anxious dogs on long car or plane rides and help your dog cope with stress and anxiety. The potential for drowsiness can also help your dog get essential sleep if they've been restless due to allergies.
Are there natural alternatives to Benadryl?
If you're trying to avoid using traditional medication to help your pet's allergies, you have a few options. Keep in mind that these all-natural solutions can only help with seasonal and environmental allergies and not severe allergic reactions.
- Colostrum. Yep, mother's milk has anti-inflammatory properties. Colostrum is a fluid that comes from mammary glands and contains Prolene-Rich-Peptides (PRP.) PRP's help tackle dog allergies by changing their immune response. When your dog's body senses an allergen, it triggers that body to sneeze/cough/itch eyes, etc., in order to defend itself. PRP halts these reactions, so your dog won't experience the typical allergy symptoms.
- CBD. CBD or cannabinoids is an all-natural allergy supplement extracted from the CBD plant. While in the same family, CBD is different from cannabis, and is 100% THC-free. CBD is naturally anti-inflammatory and has been proven to reduce itchy skin caused by allergies in dogs. Additionally, it has many bonus effects like calming pet anxiety, managing pain, and improving dog digestion. CBD comes in both oil and chew form.
The Conclusion on Benadryl
Benadryl is perfectly safe to treat and prevent allergies in most dogs. With that being said, always consult your vet before use to ensure that it's safe for your dog's consumption. Proper dosage is essential to avoid adverse side effects that can potentially come along with most typical medicines. Additionally, after you administer Benadryl, keep a close eye on your pup to ensure that they are reacting well to the medication.