Read This Before Giving Your Dog Benadryl! (Dosing Info Included)

Last Updated on

We often get asked if Benadryl is safe and effective for dogs.

This question is super common during allergy season! In any case, you’ll happy to hear that, yes, this antihistamine can be given.

Benadryl has a good safety record with regards to animals. In fact, many dogs take it without incident.

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl? Of course, that isn’t to say that side effects don’t occur.

Keep reading to learn more….

Dogs Can Take Benadryl

Also known as Diphenhydramine, this popular medication also works for pets.

Most vets view OTC Benadryl as an acceptable option because it is typically well-tolerated.

With that being said, consider these points before we talk dosing:

  • Frequent use of Benadryl, regardless of the intended purpose, should be avoided.
  • Some dogs may be at too high a risk. Extra caution is required for those with cardiovascular disease, glaucoma or elevated blood pressure.
  • Benadryl is not an option for puppies or for dogs with serious and/or recurring allergies.

How To Dose Your Dog

Obviously it’s key to get the amount right.

A safe Benadryl dose should factor in breed, medical history, weight and symptoms.

So how much exactly?

A rule of thumb is 1mg for each pound of a dog’s body weight up to 3 times daily. To be exact, you may need to break up pills.

FYI: This antihistamine should be provided on a full stomach.

Why It’s Pretty Good

Relative to similar drugs, Benadryl has established itself as being one of the better medications for pets.

Over-the-counter Benadryl contains Diphenhydramine (normally non-lethal).

This contrasts with pseudoephedrine as well as acetaminophen which are both easily toxic, even deadly!

Do Not Depend On It

Despite the favorable safety profile, you should avoid medicating whenever possible.

Seriously! Giving your dog Benadryl is not as routine as human use.

Play it safe!

Have unmanageable or recurring allergies checked out. Avoid experimenting.

It’s Not an Actual Fix

Here’s a reality check:

Diphenhydramine, and drugs like Benadryl, can’t cure your dog’s allergies.

There is only one real solution and that is to eliminate the source(s).

It could be food. It could be airborne, or even something they rubbed up against.

What’s certain is treating only symptoms is not a sustainable plan.

There are Alternatives

A Benadryl alternative, one that can safely sooth your dog’s skin, is an anti-itch hot-spot spray.

For dry nose or cracked paws try this:

An organic moisturizer (one that’s designed for dogs).

Other Benadryl Uses

Benadryl reduces motion sickness. It works for dogs for this purpose too.

But a fearful or agitated pet probably shouldn’t be taking Benadryl.

What about using Diphenhydramine as a sedative?

This JAVMA study of 56 dogs found (quite surprisingly) that it’s not great for this intended purpose.

Look into Melatonin instead.

Look For Certain Signs

While not considered high-risk, Benadryl can sometimes make matters worse.

Hey, it’s the nature of medicines!

Watch for side effects (especially the first time you give your dog Benadryl).

Known reactions include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased urination

If An Accident Occurs

Your vet’s assistance is required for a suspected Benadryl overdose.

How many milligrams did your dog consume? Over what period of time?

That type of info is critical for a veterinarian. Take notes!

The Bottom Line

Benadryl can generally be given to dogs.

The drug reduces allergies, but keep in mind that eliminating allergy stimulants will always be the optimal approach.

When utilizing Benadryl, it is essential that your dog receive a proper dose. To be safe, please consult with your vet.

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

Was This Article Helpful?

18 thoughts on “Read This Before Giving Your Dog Benadryl! (Dosing Info Included)”

  1. My 28-pound Sheltie is so afraid of fireworks that he doesn’t like to ride in the car. Can I give him Benadryl?

  2. I have an 8 week old Golden Retriever. Can I give him Benadryl for sleep?

    1. No, honestly I don’t think that’s a good idea.

  3. What can you give a Shitzuh for sneezing?

  4. 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?

  5. 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?

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. Half a tab of Benadryl, how often?

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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).

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

    1. 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.

  11. Our family dog has an allergy problem and receives it as needed such as when he has hives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *