Benadryl For Dogs

Benadryl For Dogs

In today’s article we are going to take a close look at Benadryl for dogs.

Benadryl is an over the counter antihistamine for humans, which most of us have a bottle of somewhere.

If you have used Benadryl for an allergy or itch yourself, it’s natural to wonder whether it might help your dog too.

But before we give our dog any medication not prescribed specifically by his veterinarian, it’s important to make sure that we know exactly what we are doing.

In this article we will let you know if dogs can take Benadryl safely.

We’ll be giving you information on how much Benadryl to give a dog, how to work out the right dog Benadryl dose, and when it is the right time to speak to your vet. Always check with your vet before giving your dog Benadryl for the first time.

What Is Benadryl for Dogs Used For?

Benadryl is not FDA approved for veterinary use, but is often recommended by vets.

There are a few ways in which Benadryl may be used by pet owners.

[wp_ad_camp_5]These include treatment of the symptoms of:

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Runny eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Travel sickness

Benadryl for dog allergies is the most common use of this drug.

Can I give my dog Benadryl for itching.

Whether giving a dog itching Benadryl is appropriate will depend upon the reason why he’s itching.

Dog itching can be reduced if the cause of it is down to an allergy. Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to any number of external influences from their diet to their environment. If these allergies cause itchy skin then a vet may advise that you give them a low dose of Benadryl to relieve the symptoms.

It will not cure the allergy, but can help the dog to deal with the itching that the allergy creates.

Likewise it can be used to relieve symptoms from a wasp or bee sting.

Benadryl For Dogs Anxiety

Benadryl for dogs anxiety is occasionally recommended as a temporary measure by veterinarians, as it can produce mildly sedative results.

However using Benadryl to calm dogs is not something that is a good idea on a regular basis, or as an alternative to behavioural training exercises and socialisation.

How Does Benadryl Work

Benadryl is the brand name for a product containing diphenhydramine, an antihistamine.

When you have an allergic reaction, your body processes a substance called histamine. This causes the symptoms of the allergy, like inflammation and runny eyes or nose.

Antihistamines block the uptake of histamine, causing the symptoms to be reduced or stop all together.

What Kind Of Benadryl For Dogs?

Benadryl is normally given to dogs in tablet form.

[wp_ad_camp_2]Liquid Benadryl for dogs is not safe as it has a high alcohol content. However, Children’s liquid Benadryl does not contain alcohol.

The only ingredient should be diphenhydramine. Only give your dog Benadryl that does not have any other medicines.

Some varieties of Benadryl will contain other ingredients such as painkillers, expectorants (to make you cough) or decongestants, which are not appropriate for animal use. Children’s Benadryl can contain sodium too, which is not advised either.

There are forms of Benadryl that contain cetirizine. These are best avoided as they won’t provide the same medical solution as diphenhydramine.

But you should not give your dog Benadryl before checking with your veterinarian that the dose and type of Benadryl is both correct and appropriate.

Benadryl For Dogs - Is it safe? How much to give? Your questions answered

Talking To The Veterinarian

When your dog is showing new symptoms of illness or discomfort, then your first port of call should always be to take them to the veterinarian.

Although itching can be caused by mild allergies that Benadryl can relief, they can also be signs of other problems. Potentially more serious ones too.

Do not medicate a dog yourself for a new condition without first taking him to be checked over in person. This way you can be sure he is being given an appropriate treatment.

If you think that your dog is having a severe allergic reaction, do not give him Benadryl or delay in rushing him to the vets.

[wp_ad_camp_4]Severe signs of allergy include trouble breathing, potentially with swelling of the face or neck. This can be potentially life threatening and requires immediate medical treatment from a qualified veterinarian.

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Benadryl for dogs should only be used to relief anxiety or travel sickness if your veterinarian recommends that this is the correct choice.

If they think that your allergic dog would benefit from Benadryl then they will help you by calculating the correct dosage.

Benadryl Dosage For Dogs

If you have decided to give your dog an antihistamine designed for humans, then you will need to know how much Benadryl is appropriate for your dog.

The best person to advise you on this is your veterinarian. Although the information below gives a guide to dosage, there is no substitute for a professional medical view.

How Much Benadryl Can I Give My Dog?

How much Benadryl is safe for a dog depends upon the dog’s weight and any pre-existing medical conditions.

For a dog in otherwise good health we calculate the dosage by weight.

Benadryl Dosage For Dogs By Weight

1mg per pound in weight of Benadryl is the formula that is normally used. Benadryl usually comes in 25mg tablets, but you must check the packet carefully.

How Much Liquid Benadryl Can I Give My Dog?

You must not give your dog adult Liquid Benadryl. You can however give your dog Children’s Liquid Benadryl if your vet confirms that it is appropriate for us on them.

Liquid Children’s Benadryl usually has 12.5mg diphenhydramine in every 5ml.

This means that you can give 0.4ml of liquid children’s Benadryl per 1lb body weight.

So a 35lb dog would have a 14ml dose, for example.

However, these doses are simply ones recommended online. Please speak to your veterinarian before giving your dog Benadryl.

How Often Can I Give My Dog Benadryl?

Benadryl can be given at the doses shown above 2 – 3 times a day. So every 8 – 12 hours.

However, ask your veterinarian for guidance on which of these is the most appropriate for your dog.

Side Effects Of Benadryl

Benadryl can have side effects, most of which are mild.

The main ingredient diphenhydramine has been know to cause drowsiness and dizziness. It can also cause stomach problems such as constipation or diarrhoea.

If your dog seems to be showing signs of an upset stomach, then speak to your vet before continuing with the next dose.

There are some rare severe side effects of Benadryl for dogs, which is why it is a good idea to speak with them before you use it.

Is Benadryl Safe For Dogs?

Benadryl given in the right dose should not cause an otherwise healthy dog any serious problems. However, if your dog has an existing medical condition it can be dangerous.

For example, you should not give Benadryl to a dog already suffering from glaucoma, high pressure, prostatic disease, hyperthroidism or cardiovascular disease.

This is another great reason to have a chat with your veterinarian before you give your dog Benadryl.

How To Give Your Dog Benadryl

If you have checked the correct dose of Benadryl, spoken to your vet and are confident that this is the right product for your dog, then you will need to think about how to give your dog a Benadryl tablet.

[wp_ad_camp_1] One way is to wrap the tablet in some tasty meat or cheese, or pop it inside a treat pouch if you have one handy.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

It’s a good idea to have a second lump of meat of cheese (without a tablet in it) clearly ready and obvious to your dog when giving him the treat containing his medicine.

This makes him more eager to swallow the concealed tablet, as he will be keen to get the second treat that he can see waiting

Monitor your dog for any side effects.  And contact your vet if you have any concerns

The information given in this article is to supplement that provided by your vet, and in no way intended as a substitute for proper medical care for your dog.

Before you give your dog Benadryl for the first time, arrange for a vet to speak with you and give them a check up to be sure that this is the right treatment for your dog and his current problem.


Further Benadryl Resources



  1. My 11 year old Labrador female has been taking the pink generic Benadryl tablets twice a day since she was 3 years old at my vet’s direction. She would get ear infections from constantly getting her ears wet by dipping her whole head in her drinking bowl. She also has a problem with seasonal allergies and will develop red, itchy eyes. The Benadryl has taken care of those issues, and she’s had no side effects. I also give it to my 3 year old Lab mix twice a day. My vet told me that it doesn’t affect dogs like people; they don’t get sleepy from it.

  2. Thanks for article but all the Benadryl I’ve seen for sale contain ingredients other than diphenhydramine. Where in the uk can I buy the one recommended?