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Can I Give My Dog Benadryl?

A poodle puppy being fed with medicine by a vet at a clinic.

Benadryl, also known by its generic name, diphenhydramine, is one of the few over-the-counter drugs that veterinarians routinely have owners administer at home.

While Benadryl is generally well tolerated by dogs and has a wide safety margin, it’s not necessarily the answer to your dog’s issue.

Benadryl can interact with other medications that your pet may be on

Find out when Benadryl is effective and safe and when your dog needs a different treatment. Here are a few things you should keep in mind before giving your dog Benadryl.

1. Can Dogs Take Benadryl for Anxiety?

You might have heard that Benadryl can be given to dogs to help with travel anxiety or dogs that are scared of fireworks and thunderstorms. Benadryl has some efficacy in the prevention of motion sickness in dogs and as a mild sedative, but the effects are not the same as with people.

If your dog has anxiety, it’s best to talk with your veterinarian to determine a course of treatment, as it might involve making changes to your dog’s environment, behavioral training, or tools such as anxiety vests and pheromones.

Also, a small percentage of dogs and cats can have the opposite reaction to Benadryl, causing hyperactivity instead of sedation, so it’s important to trial it at home prior to using it for travel.

2. Can Benadryl Be Used for Dog Allergies?

Taken orally, Benadryl can be mild to moderately effective for dogs experiencing mild allergic symptoms.

Vets commonly use it to treat environmental allergies and allergic reactions to insect bites or stings. It can also be used as a pre-treatment for possible vaccine reactions.

But if your pet is having an acute allergic reaction with facial swelling or difficulty breathing, consult us at (813)920-0303 immediately.

3. Benadryl Safety: Which Dogs Can’t Have It?

By and large, Benadryl is very well-tolerated in dogs with few side effects. It remains one of the safest over-the-counter drugs that veterinarians frequently reach for and recommend for their canine patients.

But the reason why you still need to check with your veterinarian is to ensure that it is safe for your dog to take Benadryl, because there are safety risks if your dog has certain health conditions. Some instances in which it should not be used include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Cardiac conditions (cardiovascular disease)
  • Glaucoma

4. What’s the Benadryl Dosage for Dogs?

But the safest way to give the proper dose is to ask your veterinarian.

NOTE: It’s always best to contact us at (813)920-0303 for guidance before administering any medication to your pet, including Benadryl.

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