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Generic Diphenhydramine is a very popular antihistamine. In fact, it is the active ingredient in Benadryl.
Are you wondering if Diphenhydramine can be given to dogs?
The answer is yes. The drug can be administered for various uses including:
- As a sleep or calming aid (sedative effect)
- To reduce motion sickness or nausea (antiemetic effect)
- For skin-related allergies (lotions, gels, creams and sprays as well)
It can even help your dog deal with bee stings.
Of course, Diphenhydramine can also cause side effects. Thankfully you can reduce risks with proper dosing and by learning as much as possible. Keep reading!
Dogs Can Take Diphenhydramine
This antihistamine is usually an effective treatment option, but it is necessary to get your veterinarian’s guidance.
While uncommon, Diphenhydramine has killed some dogs. Any amount exceeding 10mg per pound would be quite dangerous.
So make no mistake about it:
The drug is powerful despite its over-the-counter status.
Dosage And Directions
Dosing for your dog should take into account, among other factors, the treatment objective.
Is the Diphenhydramine being used for allergy relief?
Such a dose may differ from amounts for successfully sedating a pet dog to control motion sickness or agitation.
A safe range is between 0.5mg to 2mg per pound of the dog’s body weight (given every 8 to 12 hours).
And treatment should be given with food which is why it’s a good idea to crush and mix Diphenhydramine in with meals.
Possible Effects on Pets
Again, this medication is associated with numerous side effects.
Most dogs do not experience bad symptoms, but some are sensitive to Diphenhydramine.
Issues seen often are:
- Dry mouth
- Heavy sedation
- Urinary retention
Other, less frequent side effects include:
- Lack of appetite
A massive overdose could cause the following:
- Hypoventilation (a serious shortness of breath)
Even death is possible as evidenced by this documented case of a Poodle-Cross dog.
Be sure to discontinue Diphenhydramine if your dog has any problems. Watch closely for an improving or worsening condition.
Head to your vet ASAP if the situation seems at all serious!
More Important Precautions
Dogs prone to seizures or heart problems should never be given Diphenhydramine or any product that contains it.
That’s not all…
Animals with glaucoma, urinary obstructions or high blood pressure are not good candidates. This goes for pregnant or nursing dogs too.
Diphenhydramine may also be too risky for dogs already on other medications — some drug interactions can be quite dangerous!
Play it safe. Have your vet help you make an informed decision as to whether your pet will benefit from taking Diphenhydramine.
The Bottom Line
Diphenhydramine can generally be provided to dogs.
This antihistamine works well for skin allergies and several other intended purposes.
Be sure to administer an appropriate Diphenhydramine dose. Otherwise, you’d be putting your pet in harm’s way.
The best course of action:
Get your vet to prescribe Benadryl, or similar equivalent, for your dog’s particular situation.