Benadryl is the brand name for a common antihistamine medication (diphenhydramine HCl) that is primarily used to treat allergies. Though Benadryl is not yet FDA-approved for veterinary use, it is generally considered safe for dogs and is often used for mild to moderate allergies. This medication is useful for your pet’s allergy symptoms like itching, hives, swelling and sneezing. However, it is also given to dogs and cats for bug bites and bee stings. Because it can cause drowsiness and may reduce nausea, some pet parents use Benadryl for anxiety or car sickness.
If you are considering Benadryl as a treatment for your pet, there are a few important things to take into consideration.
Tip: After you get the green light from your veterinarian, it may come in handy to keep some Benadryl in your travel kit in case you need it on the go.
The general rule of thumb is 1 mg of Benadryl for every 1 pound of body weight.
Tablets often come in 25 mg doses, but take note that they may also come in higher doses. Based on a 25 mg tablet, you can follow this general dosing guide:
Despite the dosage recommendations, if your dog has never taken Benadryl before, it may be wise to start off with half a dose and then wait a few hours in case of side effects or adverse reactions.
Your dog can take Benadryl up to 2-3 times a day, or once every 8 hours, but it’s wise to chat with your vet about prolonged use.
The most common side effects of diphenhydramine HCl are drowsiness and mild disorientation. However, less common side effects can include vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth, and urinary retention. If your dog experiences these side effects, give your vet a call.