Can I Give My Dog Benadryl?

We independently research our recommended products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our links.

A question we get a lot is: is Benadryl safe for dogs?

When you think of Benadryl, also known as Diphenhydramine, you may think of allergies or other sinus-related problems. It is an antihistamine, after all, and that’s what they’re known for.  If you’re suffering from bad allergies, your first instinct is probably to reach for the Benadryl.

benadryl dosage for dogs
Photo by Otamajakusi (CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)

But what happens when the allergy sufferer isn’t you, but your dog?

When that happens, you may be wondering: can I give my dog Benadryl?

The answer is yes, but there are some things to keep in mind before you do.

Here’s what you need to know.

Benadryl for Dogs

While allergy relief may be your first thought when reaching for the Benadryl, this antihistamine can in fact treat a few other conditions in your dog too.

Motion sickness and travel anxiety can both be eased with Benadryl, and it’s also used as a very mild sedative.

If, for example, your furry friend is exceptionally hyperactive (not to be confused with being a generally energetic breed), it’s possible to give them a small dose of Benadryl to help calm them down.

Benadryl Dosage for Dogs

It’s important to know exactly how much Benadryl to give a dog. You don’t want to make matters worse by giving them the wrong dosage, after all.

Generally, a good rule of thumb is to stick to the lowest possible dose, especially in the beginning.

If it doesn’t seem to work, and your pup is still having problems, you can always consider increasing the dosage at a later date.

Of course, if your dog is exhibiting signs of severe allergies or a severe allergic reaction (trouble breathing, etc.), then it’s time to skip the medication and call your vet right away.

can i give my dog benadryl

For less urgent cases, a very low dose of Benadryl should be fine.

General dosage guidelines state that 1mg per pound of body weight is acceptable. This dosage can be administered two or three times per day as needed.

You must consult your vet to work out how much Benadryl to give a dog and if you’re considering a change in the dosage.

Before Starting a Benadryl Dose For Dogs

Just like consulting your doctor before starting a new medication, you should always talk to your vet before giving your dog Benadryl if they suffer from health conditions such as seizure disorders, hypertension, or problems with their lungs or bladder.

Additionally, if your dog is pregnant, you should be especially careful about consulting your vet before starting a dose.

If there’s any question at all about your dog’s health prior to starting medication, you should always consult your vet.

Allergy Medication for Dogs

Of course, there are some allergy medications, like Benadryl, that are specifically formulated for canines.

Again, you should always consult with your vet to ensure the correct dosage before starting a new medicine.

Things to Watch Out For

When giving your dog any medication, it’s important to watch for adverse reactions. If you’re using Benadryl for dogs as a sedative, then of course drowsiness is to be expected.

But if they seem excessively tired even after the dose should’ve worn off, be sure to consult your vet.

Likewise, there are a number of possible side effects that your dog may experience after taking Benedryl, such as:

  • Dry mouth (which may lead to excessive thirst and drinking, so make sure to keep their water bowls topped up!)
  • Hypersalivation
  • Heavy panting
  • Increased or decreased appetite

benadryl for dogs

Most symptoms present within the first hour, so be sure to keep a close eye on your furry friend during this time.

If anything seems amiss or out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to call your vet.

When to Call Your Vet

It’s never a bad idea to consult with your vet, especially before you’ve given your dog their first dose. But there are some circumstances when you should skip the dose entirely and talk to your vet, or call them if there seems to be a problem.

If, for example, your dog seems to experience excessively heavy breathing, sluggishness or swelling, it’s time to get them to a vet.

A good rule of thumb is this: when in doubt, call the vet.

There’s no situation that’s too insignificant to ask a vet’s advice on.

Final Reminder

When used correctly, Benadryl can be a great tool to help ensure your furry friend’s well-being, comfort, and happiness. If he or she suffers from allergies, motion sickness, or travel anxiety, it may be worth asking your vet whether Benadryl is a good option.

Again, as with medication for humans, it’s important to monitor your dog upon administration of any medication, to make sure there are no problems.

Once again, it really cannot be stressed enough; if you have any questions before, during, or after administering this or any other medication to your furry friend, contact your vet.

If it’s a minor concern, they should be able to answer it over the phone, and they’ll be able to decide if you should proceed with giving your dog Benadryl or not.

If it’s a more serious concern, then it’s better to have them informed about the situation ahead of time, and ready to assist you should the need arise.

Leave a Comment