Benadryl is a popular recommendation for dogs with allergy reactions. As a matter of safety, how much Benadryl for a dog is enough? Find out here.
Benadryl is an over-the-counter antihistamine that many veterinarians recommend to dog owners in order to address allergic reactions. It is used to relieve any symptoms like watery eyes and inflammation.
The catch though is that Benadryl is not FDA approved for animal use. Although it is generally considered safe, how much Benadryl for a dog is still a common question among dog owners.
What is Benadryl?
Before we learn about how much Benadryl to give a dog, let us first learn what this drug is and what it does to the body.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that Benadryl is a brand name. This means other brands with the same generic name like Panadol, Benylin, and Nytol may have different formulations that may or may not be safe for your dog.
As an antihistamine, this drug is used in humans to reduce allergy symptoms like runny nose and sneezing.
See to it that the active ingredients only contain cetirizine and diphenhydramine. Pseudoephedrine and Acetaminophen are ingredients in other brands that are not safe for dogs.
Take note of these ingredients if given this recommendation. At the same time, do not forget to ask your veterinarian which forms, whether solid or liquid, you should be giving your dog.
What Does Benadryl Help Cure?
As an antihistamine, Benadryl is commonly used to relieve hay fever and other irritations caused by allergens. Among the problems it addresses, it includes anxiety and stress, swelling, insomnia, hives, travel sickness, and hyperactivity.
Are there Side Effects in Using Benadryl to Cure Your Pet’s Allergies?
Generally speaking, Benadryl is safe for pets. It is relatively harmless except for some possible precautions. First, be extra careful in administering this drug to puppies. It is best to ask your vet first as your puppies may have not fully developed yet to process the medicine.
Second, take note of other medications that you give your dog as ingredients from different medicines may cause adverse effects.
For example, some decongestants, fever reducers, and expectorants may contain ingredients that react negatively against diphenhydramine or may flat out have ingredients that are not good for your pet.
Third, unless recommended otherwise, avoid liquid Benadryl since it has a high alcohol content that may not be safe for your pet. Fourth, take note of other conditions that your dog has since taken this medicine may counter other conditions.
Dogs that have glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, prostatic disease, and cardiovascular disease need veterinary supervision before taking Benadryl.
The fifth precaution is to check the sodium content since some Benadryl formulas have it. The children’s version of the medicine, for example, may be problematic to dogs that have pre-existing conditions and are taking medications for them.
Finally, taking the right dosage is a must. More of this will be discussed later.
Although generally safe, it is best to take note of your pet’s behavior after taking Benadryl. There are a couple of mild, but less known side effects to this medication.
Urinary retention, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, breathing problems, agitation, diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of appetite are among these side effects.
How Much Benadryl for a Dog?
The answer to this question depends on the size of the dog. There are three categories used to identify how much of this medicine you should give to your dog. Take note that these categories are less precise, but they serve as a good enough guide nonetheless.
- 30 lbs. and below – 10 mg./dose
- 30-50 lbs. – 25 mg./dose
- 50 lbs. and above – 50 mg./dose
To be more precise, you can take your dog’s body weight and multiply the result by 1 mg. of Benadryl. So, for instance, if your dog weighs 10 lbs., he or she should get 10 mg. of Benadryl for each dose.
In some extreme circumstances, such as a snake bite, 2mg./lb. for each dose may be administered instead.
As for the frequency of dosage, it is usually given about 8 – 12 hours or 2 – 3 times a day.
If the allergens are already identified and exposure is predicted, it is best to give the medicine before exposure.
As a rule, do not give any amount to your dog without first seeking the advice of a veterinarian.
Although the dosage and frequency given above are generally what’s recommended, it is still important to consider several factors including your dog’s medical history and the cause of symptoms to determine a conclusive dosage amount and frequency.
It is also important not to give random amounts of the medicine since long-term use diminishes the effectiveness of diphenhydramine. Sometimes, veterinarians recommend rotating antihistamines.
Keep in mind that dogs can overdose on Benadryl. So watch out for symptoms like muscle spasms, difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, and irregular breathing. If these symptoms occur, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Benadryl is effective if given correctly, but can also have adverse effects if not administered properly. Discuss your dog’s symptoms and medical history with a veterinarian to discover the best medication.
We also can recommend reading our article on how to deal with pet allergies, especially if your dog is prone to allergies.
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