dog benadryl

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Giving Benadryl to Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Giving Benadryl to Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Benadryl can be a helpful remedy for a man’s best friend
dog benadryl

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If your dog gets a skin rash or grows nervous on road trips, you might think about giving them Benadryl. This over-the-counter drug can be found at human pharmacies and animal hospitals, where experts use it to alleviate a multitude of symptoms from allergies to cancer. Naturally, introducing a new medicine to your pet can raise many questions, and you should always talk to your vet about what’s best for your four-legged friend. To get you started, we consulted with the American Kennel Club, VCA Animal Hospitals and other animal experts to outline what you need to know before giving your dog Benadryl.

What is Benadryl?

What is Benadryl?

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Benadryl is a brand name for an over-the-counter antihistamine called diphenhydramine.

What does it do?

What does it do?

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Humans typically take this to relieve red, irritated, itchy, watery eyes as well as sneezing and runny nose caused by hay fever, allergies or the common cold. It can be used to alleviate coughing caused by minor throat or airway infection, motion sickness or insomnia, or to control abnormal movements in people who have early-stage parkinsonian syndrome.

How does it work?

How does it work?

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Benadryl is an antihistamine, which means it works by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms.

How do you take it?

How do you take it?

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Benadryl can be taken as tablets, capsules, liquids, chewables, sprays, creams and gels.

Can you give it to dogs?

Can you give it to dogs?

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Benadryl is not yet FDA-approved for veterinary use. However, it is considered safe for use in dogs and cats. It’s commonly used in veterinary practices across America to treat allergic reactions, motion sickness and vomiting. It is also used as a mild sedative and is one of the therapies for mast cell tumors.

What do pet owners administer it for?

What do pet owners administer it for?

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Benadryl is commonly used to treat itchiness in dogs caused by skin allergies. It also reduces many other symptoms of allergies including hives, swelling and inflammation, redness, runny nose and eyes, coughing, sneezing and anaphylaxis.

Do you need to monitor your dog after administering Benadryl?

Do you need to monitor your dog after administering Benadryl?

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You should always watch your dog carefully after administering Benadryl to make sure it’s working and that there are no adverse effects.

What are the side effects of Benadryl?

What are the side effects of Benadryl?

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Hyperactivity or depression, hypersalivation, rapid breathing and rapid heartbeat are the most common adverse effects reported with diphenhydramine, generally within one hour of exposure. Your dog might also experience sedation, dry mouth, urinary retention or, rarely, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite or increased appetite.

Is it OK if your dog seems really sleepy?

Is it OK if your dog seems really sleepy?

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One side effect of Benadryl is sedation, which can be helpful for anxious dogs that don’t travel well or are nervous during storms.

Can you use Benadryl if your dog takes other medications?

Can you use Benadryl if your dog takes other medications?

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Just like for people, it’s recommended that you check with your vet before giving your dog Benadryl to see if it has any potential drug interactions with your dog’s other medications, or if it could worsen a pre-existing condition.

What pre-existing conditions should you be concerned about?

What pre-existing conditions should you be concerned about?

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Consult your veterinarian before administering Benadryl if your dog has the following conditions: angle closure glaucoma, severe heart failure, prostatic hypertrophy, bladder neck obstruction, seizure disorders, hypertension, allergic lung disease or pregnancy. Even if your dog doesn’t have any of the above conditions, there is no harm in contacting your vet to double-check that it’s OK for you to introduce Benadryl to your pet.

What about non-medicinal items?

What about non-medicinal items?

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Be completely transparent with your vet about any vitamins, supplements or herbal therapies your pet is taking so they can take that into account when deciding whether Benadryl is right for your pooch.

Can dogs be allergic to Benadryl?

Can dogs be allergic to Benadryl?

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Even though Benadryl is used to treat allergies, there’s a chance your dog could develop an allergic reaction to it. If your dog shows any symptoms, seek veterinary care immediately.

Can dogs overdose on Benadryl?

Can dogs overdose on Benadryl?

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It is possible to overdose on Benadryl. Signs include hyper-excitability of the central nervous system, rapid heartbeat, dilated pupils, agitation, constipation and seizures. If you suspect that your dog has overdosed on Benadryl, contact your vet or emergency veterinary hospital immediately.

What dosage is safe for dogs?

What dosage is safe for dogs?

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The recommended dosage in cats and dogs is 1 milligram per 1 pound of body weight two to three times per day as needed. Call your vet to make sure you’ve arrived at the proper dosage.

Can dosage change over time?

Can dosage change over time?

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For dogs with chronic allergies or conditions that require regular doses, talk to your vet about proper dosage as it may change over time.

Which types of Benadryl can dogs take?

Which types of Benadryl can dogs take?

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Dogs can take tablets, liquid or capsules.

How do you give dogs the liquid?

How do you give dogs the liquid?

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Use a syringe to increase accuracy and ease of administration.

How long does it take to start working?

How long does it take to start working?

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It takes about 30 minutes for Benadryl to start working for your pet, so plan accordingly if you want to use it to prevent motion sickness or anxiety.

Do you need to give Benadryl with food?

Do you need to give Benadryl with food?

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Benadryl can be given with or without food. If your dog vomits after taking Benadryl on an empty stomach, give future doses with food or a treat.

What do you do if your dog misses a dose?

What do you do if your dog misses a dose?

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If you miss a dose, give it to your dog when you remember. If it’s close to the time for the next dose, you can skip the dose you missed and administer it at the next scheduled time.

Can you give dogs two doses at once?

Can you give dogs two doses at once?

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Never give your dog two doses at once or extra doses.

How long does it stay in a dog’s system?

How long does it stay in a dog’s system?

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Benadryl is a short-acting medication and should stop working within 24 hours, although effects can last longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

Is there anything else to look out for?

Is there anything else to look out for?

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Over-the-counter antihistamines may contain other ingredients such as decongestants that are not safe for dogs. Read the label carefully to assure that the product only contains antihistamine. And don’t ever give your pet aspirin, one of many common household items that can harm your pet.

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