Dogs Pet Health

Benadryl for Dogs – Is it Safe? (Includes a DOSAGE GUIDE)

Benadryl for dogs

*The article is updated for 2018*

A common question among dog owners is, is Benadryl safe for dogs?

The reason this question arises is that Benadryl is not made for dogs. This antihistamine drug is made for humans to treat a number of problems.

Veterinarians, for a long time, have been giving Benadryl for dogs as a medication to treat conditions like excessive itching, swelling and even insomnia.

Though vets know the best for your pet dog, you are still worried to use a drug that isn’t made for your dog. It is understandable, as we would feel the same way as well.

So, let’s take a look at this Benadryl drug and find out if this is safe for your dog.

What is Benadryl?

Let us warn you that this section will have a lot of medical mumbo jumbo. If you’re not very keen to read all that now, feel free to skip to the next section.

So what is Benadryl?

Benadryl contains diphenhydramine which is an antihistamine. It is mainly used to treat Allergies, Insomnia, Hyperactivity, Swelling, Vomiting and even Anxiety.

Histamine is naturally produced in the body. Its role is to play a part in local immune responses. So, the next time when you feel an itch or a swelling, it is due to the release of this histamine chemical.

The diphenhydramine in Benadryl blocks the H1 receptors, in the synapses in the brain, from reacting with histamine. The same process repeats in the synapses in other parts of the body as well.

As a result, problems like swelling, itching, swelling and even runny noses are taken care of. This is not without side effects, though. Drowsiness is a common side effect that is seen in almost everyone who has taken the drug.

All the things mentioned above are for humans and not for dogs. The reason it is prescribed, in spite of not being approved by FDA for use in dogs, is because of its harmless nature.

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl?

So it is harmless you say. Does that mean I can give my dog Benadryl?

Yes, but there is a lot more to it.

Benadryl that contains diphenhydramine is safe for dogs.

There are some formulations of Benadryl that might contain Cetirizine, Acetaminophen, and Pseudophedrine. These are completely safe for humans but not for dogs. Ingredients like Acetaminophen and Pseudophedrine are even considered as toxins for dogs.

Be sure to purchase Benadryl that has the formulation that is safe for dogs. Check the package and see if the main active component is Diphenhydramine.

But even if a drug is harmless, it is important that you get a word from your vet before you give your dog anything. He or she will make sure that there will be no adverse effects or prescribe something else if your dog can’t have Benadryl.

So can you give a dog Benadryl? Yes, but a little care is to be entertained.

Benadryl Dosage for Dogs

How much Benadryl can I give my dog?

This is the next big question and rightly so. Finding the right Benadryl dose for dogs is crucial.

If the dose is less, then there might not be any effect at all. And if you do a little extra, the after effects might not be that desirable.

Usually, it is recommended to give 1mg of Benadryl for 1lb of body weight every 8 hours. If your dog weighs 15 pounds, then you should give him 15mg of Benadryl 3 times a day.

If you are going to give Benadryl in liquid form, then the dosage should be 0.4ml for 1lb of the body weight. For a reference, a US teaspoon can hold up to 5ml. This also should be given three times a day.

Below is a table that should come in handy.

Your Dog's Weight (lbs)
Recommended Dose (mg)Recommended Dose (ml)

If you have a young dog, then use Benadryl for children. It does not contain alcohol and safer than the one for adults.

This dosage might change depending on the dog and its need. This change should only be done by the vet. The dosage might be even doubled if the situation demands it.

The next time someone asks you how much Benadryl to give a dog, show them this ‘Benadryl dosage for dogs’ table as a general guideline, and there shouldn’t be a problem.

Also Read: Prednisone for Dogs

Safety Precautions

There are some safety precautions that you must follow.

Always confirm with your vet whether it is safe to give Benadryl to your pet dog.

While confirming, tell him if your dog is taking any medications. Also, let him know about any newly developed medical conditions if present. This will give him more information, and he can decide whether Benadryl is safe for your dog or not.

Getting a go-ahead from your vet is critical if your dog is pregnant.

Benadryl Side Effects in Dogs

There are certain side effects that your dog might have due to the consumption of Benadryl for dogs. This can happen within an hour or even 30 minutes after taking Benadryl.

The following are some of the common side effects, and there is nothing to worry about.

  • Drowsiness
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Faster Heart Rate
  • Drooling
  • Depression (in some cases)

There are some rare side effects as well. These include vomiting, loss of appetite and also an allergic reaction. If these side effects persist, it is better to take your dog to your vet and have a checkup.

Benadryl for Dogs – Overdose

Usually, we are very careful about what we give to our pets, but accidents do happen.

In case of an accidental overdose, look for symptoms like muscle tremors, aggression, rapid heartbeat, high body temperature, extreme fatigue and even breathing difficulties. If you observe these symptoms, immediately rush to your vet and take care of your dog.

There are cases of survival even from an extreme overdose. So, if you take the right actions at the right time, you can save your dog no matter what.

So our final say is that Benadryl for dogs is absolutely safe in the right amounts. Just be sure to confirm with your vet if your dog has any medical condition. Otherwise, you should be fine.

Have you given your dog Benadryl?

Was it effective?

Share your story with us in the comment section below. Also, share this with your friends if they have the same doubt regarding Benadryl and its dosage for dogs.

Disclaimer: The tablets in the picture are not Benadryl. They are only for illustrative purposes

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