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Is Benadryl for Dogs Safe?

Laura Agadoni
June 19, 2017

Did you know that Benadryl can ease your dog's allergy symptoms, too? Here's an overview on Benadryl for dogs.

Do you suffer from allergies? If so, you may have found that Benadryl works wonders in easing your allergy symptoms. But did you know that this medication can help your canine companion as well? Here's everything you need to know about Benadryl for dogs.

What Are Some of the Reasons You May Want to Give Your Dog Benadryl?
Benadryl is an antihistamine, says Dr. Amanda Landis-Hanna, the director of veterinary medicine at i4C Innovations in Chantilly, Virginia. As such, Benadryl can be used to ease different allergy symptoms. But this medication can combat a variety of other medical issues as well. According to Dr. Denise Petryk, the director of veterinary services at Trupanion, a pet insurance firm, the antihistamine effects are best to "counteract itch, allergic reactions such as hives and a swollen face, and mast cell tumor swellings." And, since Benadryl is a mild sedative, it can also help your dog overcome feelings of car sickness on the way to the groomer!

Is It Safe to Give Your Dog Benadryl?
"Benadryl, in general, is thought to be a very safe medication for dogs," says Dr. Petryk. In fact, she says, pet owners have been administering Benadryl to their canine companions for a long time, and there have been few reports of adverse effects.

Please note, however, that you should select an antihistamine product in which the only active ingredient is diphenhydramine. It's extremely important that you follow these guidelines, as it's unsafe for your dog to take certain medications that are often combined with diphenhydramine, such as acetaminophen.

Furthermore, you should remember that while antihistamines are generally safe for dogs, your pet may still have a bad reaction to this drug. As such, it's always best to speak to your veterinarian before introducing any new medications to your furry friend. If you find that your dog does in fact have a negative reaction to Benadryl, you should stop administering this drug immediately.

What's the Proper Dosage?
It's best to ask your veterinarian to determine the proper dosage of Benadryl for your dog, as numerous different factors are involved in this decision. "It depends on your dog's age, basic condition, body condition, other concurrent medications and other health conditions or concerns," says Dr. Petryk.

How Do You Administer Benadryl?
Most dogs won't turn down a yummy treat, and you should use this to your advantage when administering medication. You can try hiding the pill in your dog's favorite food. If your furry friend is able to swallow this snack whole, you've got it made! But if your dog eats the food and then spits out the pill, it's time to put Plan B into place.

It's important to remember that Benadryl for dogs also comes in other forms. If you're struggling to get your pet to swallow the regular pill, you can purchase the dissolving pills or liquid variety. In addition, according to Dr. Petryk, your vet may also have injectable Benadryl. As there are many options available, it's important for you to think about which format and administration procedure work best for you and your dog.

When Should You Bring Your Dog to the Vet?
According to Dr. Landis-Hanna, you should look out for drooling, facial swelling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing, as these are all symptoms of an acute allergic reaction. "These symptoms indicate an emergency and require urgent veterinary attention," she says.

Curious about other OTC medications you can give to your dog? Check out Pepto-Bismol for Dogs.

Laura Agadoni is a pet writer and pet owner whose articles appear in various publications, such as The Daily Puppy, Pets on Mom.me, The Nest, Tom's of Maine, The Penny Hoarder and Trulia.

 *This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.

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