Can I Give My Dog Benadryl?

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl?Benadryl is mostly used for reducing allergies but sometimes dog owners use it for other purposes. In any case, over the counter antihistamines for pets can be tricky since these drugs are obviously designed for humans. Let’s take a closer look at diphenhydramine for Fido’s sake.

This popular histamine-blocking medication does work for animals. Benadryl is generally well-tolerated by dogs and owners can use it, but there are canine-formulated prescription allergy meds which may be more appropriate.

Understand that misuse or improper dosage are important pitfalls to avoid. Too many pet parents give drugs to their dogs, accidentally harming them as a result. Luckily Benadryl has a good margin of safety.

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl? Answer: Yes

But Apoquel may be more appropriate than this household antihistamine.

Benadryl is effective for allergies, sedation and even motion sickness. But routinely administering it to your dog is not recommended. Canines with serious allergies, either from seasonal factors or otherwise, should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Benadryl is often not the best solution dogs. It can actually be very harmful if your pet has cardiovascular disease, glaucoma or elevated blood pressure. For skin allergies, dry nose or cracked paws consider a safer all-natural organic product designed for pets.

Another highly recommended alternative to Benadryl is an anti-itch hot-spot spray that will be very soothing for your dog’s skin.

Best Benadryl Advice

Many dogs show allergic reactions due to the slightest irritant and don’t actually require medication. Benadryl is a commonly used OTC allergy blocker but this doesn’t mean its use is routine for animals.

If your dog’s allergies are affecting their quality of life, have them checked out. This will go a long way towards resolving the underlying cause(s). Don’t just start giving your dog pills, such as Benadryl, from your own medicine cabinet.

Dosing & Similar Meds

A safe Benadryl dose will factor in breed, medical history, weight and current symptoms. But in general you can administer 1mg for each pound of your dog’s body given up to 3 times daily.

Human allergy medicines kill many dogs yearly due to lack of knowledge. Benadryl contains Diphenhydramine which is generally non-lethal for dogs in reasonable doses. Be on the lookout for meds containing pseudoephedrine or acetaminophen as they are toxic for dogs and often deadly.

Use For Sleep and Mood

Visibly shaken dogs, either from thunderstorms or some other nerve-racking experience, probably shouldn’t be given Benadryl. It sedative and causes drowsiness, not the soothing effect you may be expecting, though it may work for motion sickness. While not considered harmful compared to similar drugs, Benadryl can sometimes make matters worse especially when misused. Don’t treat your dog like a lab rat!

Addressing K9 Allergies

Diphenhydramine and drugs like Benadryl cannot eliminate canine allergies, especially those which are recurring. If you know the reason for your dog’s bad reactions, maybe a certain food or from something they rubbed up against, address and eliminate the underlining problem. Don’t make the mistake of treating your dog’s symptoms rather than the actual causes.

If your dog has allergic dermatitis they may require Apoquel but speak with your vet about this.

In Case of an Accident

Accidental consumption of Benadryl, often misspelled Benedryl, requires that you call your vet immediately. Try to determine how many pills your dog consumed, as well as the time-frame, and provide that information to the doctor. They’ll most likely be alright but some testing could be warranted.

Often times, pets vomit things up that don’t sit well with their stomachs which is good. In any case, keep your beloved dog under close observation for worsening symptoms following a Benadryl mishap.

Conclusion on Benadryl

Benadryl, which is the brand name for diphenhydramine, can be given to dogs when dosed properly. But preventing exposure to allergy stimulants will reduce symptoms and is much preferred to human drugs. Many swear by Benadryl for alleviating a variety of allergy issues for humans and dogs, alike. It can do the trick, but use it on your pet with caution and not on a regular basis.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Alix October, 2015

I am taking a 6 hour road trip with my 6 pound Dorky (Dachshund/Yorkie) and she doesn’t do well in the car. Is there something I can give her that will help calm her nerves and maybe sleep? I was told Benadryl, but I don’t feel comfortable giving her that. My vet is out on vacation and will not be back before I leave. What can I give her that is over-the-counter and safe?


James October, 2015

Hi Alix. Consider a low dose of Melatonin. It usually does the trick.


Toni June, 2015

I have a 20 pound Westie and I was wondering if I can give him Benadryl. Actually, I have the generic pink and white pill. Can I give him one of them or does he need the all pink pill?


Jakomos August, 2015

Yes, you can and I recommend the generic pink tabs. They’re approximately $2 a box at most places. I asked my vet to be sure. The dose is 1mg per pound, 2-3 times daily. For instance, I have a 16 pound Miniature Pinscher and he is neurotic during car rides. We aim for a weekend of camping with a four hour round-trip. I’ll give him a little over half a tablet and do so well before the trip as well as during the trip.


Rebecca February, 2015

Just yesterday my vet recommended Benadryl for my dog’s allergies. They advised half a tab of the kind without a decongestant. My dog is 7 years old and weighs 11 pounds.


Lorraine July, 2015

Half a tab of Benadryl, how often?


Jakomos August, 2015

1mg per pound, 2-3 times a day as needed according to our vet.


Debbie December, 2014

Our vet said you give more Benadryl to dogs than humans. It works for so many things from stress to fireworks. My rule of thumb is 1mg per pound. He weighs 75 pounds so he gets 75mg, which is 3 pills. My 12 pound puppy gets 1/2 a pill.


Lidia October, 2014

The prescription medicine that my dog was given for her allergy problem didn’t help much and the vet recommended to give her Benadryl. I don’t know why you say it is not a good idea.


Kathi October, 2014

My dog’s vet offered to give him a Benadryl shot after he had his vaccinations. She told me that I could just give him plain Benadryl (with dyphenhydramine as the only active ingredient). So I don’t know why you insist that pets can’t have it! I trust my vet to make good decisions about my dog’s health.


Brian November, 2013

Our local vet told us to give our dog over the counter Benadryl when she had some allergic reaction.


Wendy May, 2015

Did you give your dog over-the-counter Benadryl? If so, how many? Does it give your dog side effects? I have a Jack Russell.


Anna November, 2012

The family dog, Odo, has an allergy problem and receives it as needed such as when he has hives.


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