Diphenhydramine is the generic form of Benadryl and is an antihistamine, though it can also be used to reduce motion sickness, due to its sedating effect. Deciding to give your dog an over the counter human medication should not be done without first discussing with your vet.
You may wish to give this to your dog because they have an allergy rash, been stung by a bee or to reduce motion sickness when traveling in the car.
Whenever you choose to give human medication to pets, you need to monitor them closely and keep an eye out for any unwanted side effects. If side effects are noticed you much stop the medication immediately and in severe cases contact your vet for assistance.
Can I Give My Dog Diphenhydramine HCL? Answer: Yes, with vet supervision
Diphenhydramine HCL or Diphenhydramine can be given to your dog under strict vet instructions.
This medication has some side effects and if an overdose is given, serious effects may be experienced, so always ensure you follow dosage directions carefully. Never give this medication without confirming with the vet first.
Dogs that suffer with a variety of disorders cannot benefit from this medication and your vet will know if your dog can take it and will be able to advise you on dosage and directions. If you have purchased this medication over the counter, don’t assume it’ll be safe to give to your pet. Make a phone call to the vet and don’t take the risk.
Dosage and Directions
This medication is often prescribed by the vet for relief of allergic reactions in dogs and due to the sedative effects; it is often used to control motion sickness.
Usually you would give your dog 0.5 to 2mg of medication per pound of dog. This is to be given every eight to twelve hours. It’s difficult to know your dog’s exact weight and whether to give twice or three times a day. Your vet should have your dog’s weight on file and they will be able to advise exactly how much to give.
Diphenhydramine should always be given with food, it’s a good idea to crush and mix in with the food ensuring your dog gets the food and medication at the same time. Otherwise after food you can put it in some butter and offer it to your dog.
Possible Side Effects
This medication offers a variety of side effects. Not all dogs will experience side effects, while others may be more sensitive to the medication. Dry mouth, sedation and a problem trying to urinate are common symptoms of taking this medication. Extreme and seldom recorded side effects include diarrhea, vomiting and decreased appetite.
If your dog starts experiencing extreme side effects, stop the medication immediately and advise your vet. Monitor your dog closely to see whether they are improving or getting worse, if they seem to be worsening, rather get them to the vet as soon as possible.
Without knowing the exact weight of your dog, it’s easy for them to overdose on this medication. Though you don’t mean to, it’s best to get your vets suggestion before administering.
Some common overdose symptoms include sedation, clumsiness, seizures and respiratory problems. If you notice any of these symptoms contact your vet immediately and stop the medication. Less common overdose symptoms include coma and even death in strong doses. If your dog slips into a coma, get them to the vet without delay.
Which Dogs Can’t Take Diphenhydramine
Some dogs will not be able to take this medication without disastrous results. Dogs that suffer from seizures or heart problems should never be offered this medication. Do not use in animals with glaucoma, prostate disease, urinary obstructions, high blood pressure or pregnant or nursing dogs.
Your vet will know what health problems your dog has and will be able to make an informed decision as to whether your dog will benefit from this medication or not.
Will it help?
The first thing you need to determine when deciding whether or not to give your dog this non FDA approved medication for dogs is whether the benefits outweigh the potential problems.
If your vet has prescribed the medication, you can ask questions before making the decision to give it to your dog. Your vet may feel that this is the only medication to control their allergy reaction, in which case the benefit will outweigh any potential effects.