The use and dosage of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) for dogs

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl is the trade name of a drug made up of difenhidramina, a drug that when properly administered has antihistamine properties.

Generally, this medicine and others such as Claritin or Actifed are used to relieve the symptoms of stationary allergic rhinitis in humans. This type of drug allows to control the levels of histamine that reach the H1 receptors, and thus alleviate the effects caused by allergies.

The use of this type of drug is indicated only for humans. However, the properties of diphenhydramine make it also a drug that veterinarians often prescribe for allergies in dogs.

Below we see exactly what Benadryl can be used for in our pets, its recommended doses, and its possible side effects

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Benadryl for dogs: what is it used for?

As in humans, the most common use of Benadryl in dogs is as an antihistamine to combat stationary allergies. The symptoms that the dog experiences are similar to those of any human being, and the antihistamine properties remain intact in them. For this reason, many veterinarians rely on this type of medication for dogs.

However, although this is usually the most frequent use of Benadryl or diphenhydramine in dogs, it can also be used in many other cases:

  • What sedative, for example in cases where dangerous or large animals have to be sedated. Or in smaller doses to reassure them during long trips, for example.
  • It is also often used as a tool to control the threw up of the animal.
  • It is quite effective in preventing dizziness.
  • Like other antihistamine medicines that treat skin problems in humans, Benadryl is also used to treat hives in dogs.
  • Lastly, Benadryl can also be used to counteract the side effects of other treatments. In these cases it is more essential than ever for the veterinarian to decide whether or not it can be taken as it increases the risk of overexposing our dog to chemicals.

In any case, the drug should never be used for cases other than those exposed. In addition, the administration of Benadryl to our dog should always be supervised and controlled by a doctor, and the doses recommended by it should never be exceeded.

On the other hand, it should be noted that, due to the sedative properties of this drug, its use is not recommended in animals that are destined for various jobs, such as rescue dogs, rescue dogs in landslides, or that carry out activities that require your maximum physical and mental attention.

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It must be remembered that dogs are not human beings, and therefore the doses for them may differ from ours. In general, they vary depending on the age and weight of the dog. It is not recommended to give Benadryl to young or small dogs.

In general, the recommended dose of Benadryl for our dog is 0.4-0.8 mg per kilo of animal weight. This means that if the animal weighed 10 kg. the recommended dose will be between 12.5 and 25 mg. It can be given a maximum of 2 or 3 times a day, every 8 or 12 hours if symptoms persist. It should be noted that these data are general and that the dose depends on each case. More than anything, these data serve to know the doses that we should never exceed; but, in any case, it must be the vet who decides.

It is best to give the medicine to the dog by mixing the tablet directly between his food, even coating it with a flavor that the animal especially likes.

Of course, you have to follow the veterinarian’s recommendations to the letter. You have to pay attention to dose exact, and do not give more doses than recommended to the dog, although we believe that it is not doing all the desired effect.

In the event that the symptoms do not disappear within 5 – 7 days or if they become worse while taking the drug, the treatment must be stopped immediately and the veterinarian must be consulted.

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Benadryl for Dogs: side effects

If administered correctly, the possible side effects of Benadryl are usually quite mild. In some cases, a higher state of drowsiness, is an antihistamine that can have depressant effects on the central nervous system. The sleeping effect of the drug on the dog may diminish as it becomes accustomed to its intake.

Other side effects that can be observed are diarrhea, poor appetite, mood swings in the dog, or dry mouth, and continued need to drink.

However, it should also be noted that there are other risk factors that can increase the likelihood and severity of these side effects. For instance:

  • Give this medicine to dogs that are allergic to diphenhydramine.
  • Use it in animals that are taking other types of medications with which it may be contraindicated.
  • Give Benadryl to dogs that have any pathology incompatible with the drug, such as heart, lung or stomach problems, dogs with glaucoma, or high blood pressure.
  • On the other hand, another of the great risk factors is our own owners that, sometimes, we medicate the animal on our own, believing that we are helping it. Overexposure of the animal to this medicine can aggravate the side effects, and even cause reactions of a serious nature.

Therefore, we will not tire of repeating it, always, always go to the vet before giving Benadryl to our dog. Otherwise, suppose running an unnecessary risk to the health of our pet.

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