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Can Dogs Take Benadryl?

When it comes to allergy season, there are certain medications that many of us keep topped up in our medicine cupboard. Whether we suffer from hives, sneezing, or itching, allergies can really get up our noses.

But what about our canine friends? 

Dogs often have allergic reactions to such things as insect bites, bee stings, grooming products, and even snake bites. But does that mean that we should be reaching for the kind of medication we’d use for humans? If necessary, can dogs take Benadryl?

Yes, Dogs can Take Benadryl!

You might be surprised to read that Benadryl is one of the medications that veterinarians are known to prescribe to dogs who are in need of it for several different conditions.

Benadryl is an antihistamine, which works by blocking certain receptors in blood vessels and muscles. Its generic name is diphenhydramine and it works in both humans and in dogs.

Many dog owners give their pet Benadryl to counter all kinds of allergic reactions, including respiratory allergies from pollen, swollen or itchy hives from a sting, or a rash that’s been caused by certain shampoos or other grooming chemicals.

In fact, Benadryl isn’t only used as an antihistamine to counteract allergic reactions in your canine friend. It’s also used as a mild sedative in dogs and can be useful for them if they have to take a long trip, or are scared of a particularly loud thunderstorm, or of the fireworks on 4th July.

However, just because a vet will prescribe Benadryl for certain conditions in a dog doesn’t mean that you can administer it to your dog immediately, without the proper advice. 

Consult Your Vet First

You should never administer any medication to your animal without having consulted a vet first. Of course, if your pup is known to have a certain condition and you’ve treated him before, it stands to reason that you’re experienced in giving him the medication he needs.

However, if you’ve never given him Benadryl before, you’ll need to know exactly what you’re doing, so always consult a vet first.

How Much Benadryl Does a Dog Need?

You may be tempted to calculate your dog’s Benadryl dose simply by working out his weight in comparison to an average human’s, but there are other factors to consider. A dog’s metabolism is very different to a human’s, so although Benadryl is one of those medications that they’re known to use, dogs won’t process the drug the same way a human would.

The general rule of thumb when giving your dog Benadryl is that the dose should equal 1mg for every pound your dog weighs. However, there are several things to consider, and this is why the vet’s guidance is essential.

You should never give your dog Benadryl in liquid form because it may be made with alcohol. So stick with the pill variety only.

Which Dogs Cannot Have Benadryl?

In the same way that some humans have to avoid certain medications, some dogs have conditions that mean they should stay away from Benadryl.

Do not give your dog Benadryl if they suffer from the following conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Glaucoma

You should also refrain from giving your dog Benadryl if she’s pregnant.

Can a Dog be Allergic to Benadryl?

It may seem odd but a dog (or any animal, in fact) can have an allergic reaction to any medication, even if that medication is being used to treat an allergy.

An allergic reaction to Benadryl may present itself with the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

If you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction to the Benadryl you’ve administered, or if you think they’ve perhaps had too much of the medicine and have overdosed, you must contact your vet immediately. If there’s no answer, call an emergency veterinarian, or the Poison Control Hotline, on (888) 426 4435.

As long as you’ve consulted a vet, have read the instructions for the medication carefully, and have administered the proper dosage, your doggy friend will soon feel a huge relief from his allergic reaction with the help of Benadryl.

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