Benadryl is a popular medication commonly used to treat a variety of different ailments. It can be bought from most pharmacies and does not require a prescription from a doctor. But although it was developed for treating humans, it can also be used to successfully treat similar problems in pets, and in particular, dogs. Can I give Benadryl to my dog for allergies?
The active ingredient in Benadryl is Diphenhydramine hydrochloride. Diphenhydramine is a first generation antihistamine and was first developed for use several decades ago by pharmaceutical companies. Today, there are many more modern variants of Diphenhydramine available in the market, but many have proved to be less effective than Diphenhydramine and it is still the drug of choice for treating allergies and motion sickness in humans.
Can I give Benadryl to my dog for allergies?
Benadryl is often used to treat allergic reactions in dogs and it is a great idea to keep some handy in your medicine cabinet for use in an emergency. Many dogs suffer from allergic reactions to a wide variety of different allergens. These can include insects, something in the dog’s environment, different medications, food, or in severe cases, even sunlight.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction are typically itchy skin rashes and hives, swelling of the face or site of the insect bite, and most allergic reactions occur within twenty minutes of the animal being exposed to the allergen. Occasionally a dog will develop more serious symptoms such as breathing difficulties and you should seek immediate help from a veterinarian, but this is rare and in most cases a dose of Benadryl will help to minimize the effects of the allergic reaction fairly quickly.
Can I give Benadryl to my dog for allergies and what dose should I use?
The recommended dosage of Benadryl is based on the body weight of the dog, so if you have no idea how much your dog weighs, do not be tempted to guess as you might administer an overdose of the medication. In general, dogs require a higher dose than the equivalent human weight, and a dog weighing 25 pounds would require 1 x 25 mg tablet of Benadryl.
Some dogs will take tablets easily, but for those who do their best to spit the tablet out, try wrapping it in a tasty piece of cheese or ham and they will soon wolf it down. Alternatively, place the tablet on the back of the dog’s tongue and rub their throat to encourage the swallowing reflex.
In severe cases, the dog can suffer an acute reaction to an allergen and develop a life-threatening response known as Anaphylactic Shock, which if left untreated, will result in the death of the animal very quickly. Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include diarrhoea, vomiting, weak pulse, fast heart rate, cold limbs, seizures, all of which are soon followed by coma and death. If your pet develops the symptoms of anaphylaxis following an insect bite or allergic reaction to an unknown allergen, it is vital that you seek veterinary advice immediately.