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Benadryl for Dogs: Treat Allergies, Bites and More

Curious About Benadryl for Dogs? Ask Your Veterinarian

Benadryl is an effective medicine for humans, but is it safe for your dog? It’s a common question many dog owners ask, and most veterinarians would agree that it can be used safely and effectively. Benadryl, in its pure form, is also known as Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride (its non-trade name). It is vital that you select a form of Benadryl that does not contain other medications for cold or sinus symptoms; only the pure form of Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride is safe for your dog. Talk to your veterinarian prior to giving your dog Benadryl as a treatment to discuss how much is safe.

Here are some scenarios where using Benadryl could help your dog.

Benadryl for Bites and Stings

benadryl for dogs

Dogs, just like humans, get stings and insect bites, especially during the spring and summer. Depending on the location of the bite, the critter that inflicted it and your pet’s sensitivity, this could be a minor irritation or an emergency.

If the bite or sting is located in the region of the neck and throat, monitor your dog carefully for signs of breathing difficulty. The most common place of injury for a dog is the face and muzzle because they bite at insects. Once a dog is bitten, swelling typically ensues. It is usually not very painful, but can cause severe itching. Be sure to monitor the swollen area carefully to make sure your dog can eat and breathe as he should.

Other Uses for Benadryl in Dogs

Benadryl can be used in most instances of bites and stings. It can be used to treat seasonal and non-seasonal allergies, vomiting, motion sickness and muscle tremors. These seasonal dog allergies are very common in the spring when forestry equipment is being used in nearby wooded areas. It can also prevent extreme swelling. If your dog is nursing or pregnant, you should avoid using Benadryl unless advised to do so by your veterinarian. The most common side effect from giving your dog Benadryl is drowsiness; sedation may be mild to moderate. Other side effects for dogs include dry mouth and the inability to urinate. Potential side effects that are less common include loss of appetite, diarrhea or vomiting.

When to Avoid Giving Your Dog Benadryl

Dogs with the following health conditions should not be given Benadryl:

  • Prostatic Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hyperthyroidism

If your dog takes any medications for pain or other sedatives, interactions should be discussed with your veterinarian prior to administering this antihistamine. Working animals such as police dogs, sight dogs and hearing dogs should not be given this type of medication. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you the appropriate dose and frequency for your dog’s weight, age, and health.

While Benadryl for can be safe and effective for dogs, always check with your veterinarian before using it or if you have any concerns.

Michelle is a blogger and current freelancer for a forestry equipment company. She’s written about almost every topic under the sun, and loves constantly learning about new subjects and industries while she’s writing. Whenever she’s able to step away from her computer she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs.

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8 Responses to Benadryl for Dogs: Treat Allergies, Bites and More

  1. Enoch Stremi says:

    Shots might seem like an unusual way to treat allergies, but they’re effective at decreasing sensitivity to triggers. The substances in the shots are chosen according to the allergens identified from a person’s medical history and by the allergist during the initial testing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the standards used in preparing the materials for allergy shots given in the United States.

  2. Julie-Anne Le Gras says:

    Good information, about seasonal allergies, okayed by Trupanion (our vet insurance).
    What dosage do you recommend for Benadryl? I’ve read elsewhere about 1mg per pound. So, for a 23 lbs dog, about 23 mg every 8 – 12 hours. Do you agree? And how does one measure 23 mg out of a bottle of Benadryl? Any suggestions?
    Thank you!

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Julie-Anne, great question! You are correct that the recommended dosage is 1 mg per pound every 8 hours. For your pup, you might round down to 20 mg since tablets can be purchased in 10-20 mg quantities. Liquid Benadryl often contains artificial flavoring so it would be wise to consult your veterinarian just in case some of these chemicals might make your dog sick.

  3. LR says:

    Interesting article — good to know. Does Trupanion cover the cost of Benadryl if it was recommended by the dog’s vet to address the dog’s allergies? (and assuming the allergies weren’t a pre-existing condition, of course)

  4. Susan Dodd says:

    My 12 lb dog had an allergic reaction to something. Made her “high”. Ran around the house like a crazy thing. Jumped on chairs for no more than 2 seconds at a time, then off to the next location. Disappeared for a bit – found her in the bathtub. Called the vet and was told to give her one 25mg Benadryl capsule. Calmed her right down. Back to my normal little dog.

  5. Lauren says:

    I’m working on a process of elimination to find out what is causing my dog’s skin issues! In the past month she’s gotten itchy, pustule-like hives all over her shoulders and back and it’s spreading. I’ve been doing my research and since she’s a pit, more susceptible to allergies so I’m trying Benadryl for possible seasonal allergies first (I’m changing her to homemade food too but that takes a little longer to weed out the problem). She’s 75-80 lbs so I’m going to try 50 mg of Benadryl tonight with dinner to see how it affects her drowsiness-wise but I’m curious about dosing her in the mornings too. I’m reading every 8 hours but will it make her very drowsy? I don’t want to kill her energy! Thanks!

  6. Shub says:

    Hey! My Rottweiler female who is 1.5 years old is have swelling on her face we gave her vet recommended medication bit she was telling discomfort today ,there are some kind of injury marks on her inner jaw what should be done?

    • Kathryn says:

      If you have any concerns about your dog, please call your veterinarian! They can offer tailored advice and know you and your pet best.

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