Read This Before Giving Your Dog Diphenhydramine!

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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:

Can I Give My Dog Diphenhydramine?

  • 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.

FYI: Diphenhydramine HCL is not only in Benadryl, but also nearly every version of Unisom as well as various OTC combination drugs.

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
  • Drowsiness

Other, less frequent side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite

A massive overdose could cause the following:

  • Hypoventilation (a serious shortness of breath)
  • Seizures
  • Coma

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.

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

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3 thoughts on “Read This Before Giving Your Dog Diphenhydramine!”

  1. My 10 year old Jack Russel Terrier had constant energy, was shaking and never relaxed. I did research and started to provide 25mg of Diphenhydramine. His weight is about 20 pounds. 25mg is half the recommended dose. It turns out that it helped him relax and sleep more as well as experience less shaking.

  2. I used a topical spray for relief of intense itching. The itching subsided but my dog became hyperactive for about one hour and then was sleepy. My dog weighs 11+ pounds and has taken oral diphenhydramine with success in the past.

  3. There is an alternative. Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea. It helps maintain balance and supports the digestive system (which will ease the discomfort your dog experiences from motion sickness).

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