Benadryl For Dogs: 2 Ways To Use It And Important Facts

Benadryl For Dogs
Photo by Marliese Streefland on Unsplash

While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.


Benadryl for dogs
Photo by Cristian Castillo on Unsplash

Dogs are such adorable creatures – fun-loving, active, and always up to some other mischief. This is bound to get them into certain non-serious troubles, which may cause them to have allergy symptoms.

Benadryl for Dogs

Pollen and other allergies in dogs
Photo by Angel Luciano on Unsplash

Allergies In Dogs

Allergies in dogs can vary from occasional and uncontrolled itching or something serious such as inflammation.

While many allergic reactions may sometimes go away on their own with patiently given time, your delightful buddy does not need to suffer that long.

Taking some medication during an allergic reaction is comparatively a smoother process when it comes to humans – we can speak out our troubles in clear language. However, it does not seem the case when it comes to dogs – their system is susceptible, and any carelessness can cause adverse effects.

Human drugs work very differently than drugs specifically made for dogs and other animals. Humans and animals have different internal systems and a difference in the mechanism to some extent.

It is always a piece of obvious advice to first get your trusted vet’s opinion on matters related to your dog’s health and then follow their advice.

One such medication which usually works well for both humans and animals, specifically dogs, without much worries, is Benadryl for dogs.

Is Benadryl For Dogs Safe?

Benadryl has been chiefly considered safe and effective for dogs, given that it is given in the correct quantity and according to the veterinarian’s guidelines.

If you are giving Benadryl for dogs for the first time, keep a keen eye on your dog’s activity to note downside effects and take immediate action if needed.

Keep in mind that Benadryl or any fast-acting medication starts to work usually within one to two hours after consuming. The medication’s maximum efficacy is reached a little later than an hour. If you and your dog plan on having an outing or have some activity planned, make sure to time this with the medication’s effectiveness. This is due to the fact that dog Benadryl may make your pet a little tired.

Hence, it is also often used by pet owners when their dog is anxious or stressed out – but please keep in mind that this is not why the medication was formulated.

What Is Benadryl?

Benadryl is more specifically known as Diphenhydramine and is used by humans and animals to ease allergic reactions. Additionally, it can be used to relieve symptoms of motion sickness and anxiety during traveling.

Diphenhydramine’s mechanism involves blocking H1 receptors, which receive histamine; this, in turn, relieves symptoms like itching, hives, sneezing, and other allergy-related symptoms.

When Should You Consider Benadryl For Dogs?

While Benadryl is considered safe to consume for dogs and other animals, it is still of utmost importance to first gather essential veterinary advice. Benadryl dosage is commonly advised for mild symptoms.

Following are the instances when you can use Benadryl dosage for dogs:

1. Redness

Specific allergic reactions caused by insect bites can cause redness at the affected spot.

2. Inflammation And Swelling

Allergies to a particular food or environmental conditions can cause inflammations and swelling.

3. Sneezing

Sneezing, accompanied by a runny nose and teary eyes, can happen when your dog comes in contact with dust, pollen, or any such irritant particle which the dog has sniffed on. This is generally a kind of environmental allergy.

4. A Possible Anaphylactic Reaction

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction when exposed to an allergen. Its symptoms involve vomiting, weak or rapid pulse rate, rashes, and high blood pressure.

This is one of the life-threatening allergy symptoms which need immediate medical assistance.

The Correct Dosage Of Benadryl For Dogs

The quantity of dogs Benadryl depends upon their body weight – for instance, a chihuahua will require a lot less of a dosage than a full-grown Labrador or German Shepherd would.

Benadryl comes in different forms – liquid Benadryl, Benadryl tablets, children’s formula, which are chewable, and more.

Following is the dosage information varying with different forms of Benadryl:

1. Benadryl Tablets

The appropriate dosage of Benadryl tablets is 2-4 mg per dog’s weight. For example, if your dog weighs about 12 pounds, you will require to give a 12 mg dose in the morning, afternoon followed by another one in the evening.

Commonly, Benadryl pills are 25 mg, which will be sufficient for a 25-pound dog. However, if your dog is smaller in size, you can opt to take children’s chewable tablets as they are about 12.5 mg.

2. Liquid Benadryl Medication

Benadryl comes in liquid form as well, which can be given. However, do not use liquid dog Benadryl if the ingredients contain sodium and alcohol.

Please talk to your dog’s vet before giving liquid Benadryl to your dog as these are not absorbed the same way as the pills are.

What To Do In Case Of Benadryl Overdose

While a severity such as this should be avoided, pet owners must be aware of what an overdose of Benadryl appears like so that they can take the necessary steps to tune them down.

Signs which show symptoms of Benadryl overdose are:

  1. Extreme excitability to the point that seems fatal and agitation
  2. Constipation
  3. Dilated pupils
  4. Seizures

If any of these symptoms are shown by your dog after consuming Benadryl, please immediately take your dog to the vet. Some of the dogs may even show these signs due to being allergic to Benadryl itself.

Get a vet's help in case of adversity
Photo by Lydia Torrey on Unsplash

Common And Rare Side Effects Of Benadryl

It is important for dog owners to monitor their dogs after giving them Benadryl. Most of these can be observed within an hour or so after giving the dose.

Some of the common side effects are:

  1. Urinary retention
  2. Dry mouth
  3. Rapid and irregular breathing
  4. Speedy heartbeat
  5. Extreme drowsiness

Dodging Doubts

When Shouldn’t Dogs Be Given Benadryl?

While Benadryl is considered to be one of the safest and most commonly suggested over-the-counter drugs for dogs, there are still a few health conditions that may deem it to be not the best option. Some of these are:

  1. If your dog is suffering from chronic kidney disease.
  2. Record of any lung disease.
  3. In cases of heart disease and other cardiac conditions.
  4. Consistent low blood pressure.
  5. Glaucoma is a type of disease affecting
  6. g the eye. It involves a direct effect on the optic nerve. This condition requires medical treatment; otherwise, it can gradually lead to blindness.
  7. If your dog is presently pregnant.

Things To Be Very Careful About

Avoid using time-release capsules for your dog
Photo by Leohoho on Unsplash

  • Avoid giving your dog time-release capsules. These get absorbed in a dog’s system much differently than they do for humans. Other than this, a dog may end up chewing on the capsule and cause an overdose instead of the gradual release.
  • Only opt for medicines that have the active ingredient diphenhydramine in their composition. Decongestants or alcohol in the composition are toxic for your dog’s system and must never be given.
  • Even if you have read plenty of data regarding the dosage to be given, it is always necessary to first take a trained professional’s advice for the same. While your pet’s weight determines a general dose of how many milligrams must be given, the proper dosage after understanding your dog’s overall condition will best be selected when you consult your veterinarian.

So, Is Benadryl For Dogs Safe?

Dog allergies do require medical attention depending upon the dog’s symptoms. These can vary from seasonal allergies to food allergies. Liquid medication of Benadryl, Benadryl treat, or mildly mixing it with pet food for easier consumption may make it easier for your dog to consume it.

Benadryl is considered to be the go-to allergy medicine, an antihistamine drug for our pets. Although it may act as a mild sedative along with the common side effects, if your dog does not suffer from chronic illnesses, he/she will be able to get through the allergy with the help of Benadryl.

In case of adverse reactions, the first and foremost thing to do is rush to an emergency veterinary hospital.

Alternative To Benadryl For Dogs

As mentioned, some dogs may develop further allergies to Benadryl itself. In this case, other medications may help relieve symptoms. These are mainly advised for seasonal allergies only.

Loratadine and Cetirizine are usually considered safe when given in the proper doses. These medications should again be checked for the presence of decongestants.

For milder allergies, including itching, use Cortisone cream or shots as these are considered faster methods. It is to be noted that Cortisone cream/shots are supposed to be a short-term treatment only.

When Should You Contact The Doctor?

Always get your vet's opinion
Photo by Laura Iturrieta on Unsplash

Dogs may show more symptoms even after Benadryl or any anti-allergic medication is provided. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting and nausea

In these instances, it is best to go to a medical professional who can provide medical advice as per the difficulty experienced by your dog.

While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here