How Much Benadryl Can You Give a Dog?

Pet Health


May 28, 2021

Benadryl is one of the most common OTC medications that people take. It’s used for treating symptoms of hay fever, allergies, and it can also allay the seasonal cold. If you are not feeling yourself and have a runny nose or watery eyes, Benadryl might be just what you need to fix things.

It’s also quite versatile, and can be used for treating dizziness, vomiting, and nausea as well. Many people take Benadryl because it helps them relax and fall asleep, especially when they are ill and in pain. Benadryl blocks histamine in the body, which is responsible for exacerbating the allergic reaction.

What About Benadryl for Dogs?

This might come as a surprise to most people, but Benadryl is one of the most commonly prescribed medicines for dogs. Vets around the country recommend owners to give Benadryl to their animals, and they even allow the pet owners to administer the medication by themselves.

Benadryl can help reduce the anxiety levels in your dog, especially if the animal is having any kind of an allergic reaction or suffering from an insect bite. Most dogs generally tolerate Benadryl quite well, but you have to understand this is not a “one size fits all” solution. In some cases, Benadryl might not be a viable solution at all.

What About Quantity?

How much Benadryl can you give a dog? You should know that while Benadryl seems like an excellent medicine, it is possible for the animal to overdose on it. There are several common signs that indicate a Benadryl overdose, starting from hyper-excitement of the central nervous system of the animal. This could prove to be fatal.

If you notice your dog’s heart beating at a rapid pace, or their pupils fully dilated, it’s obvious they are having a reaction. Agitation and seizures are high-grade symptoms that are likely to occur next. Dogs who take excessive amounts of Benadryl are also likely to suffer from increased constipation.

If you think your dog has taken more Benadryl than it should have, you need to get in touch with your veterinarian right away. You have to seek emergency assistance because the problem could turn serious very quickly. There have been cases where dogs have suffered heart attacks due to a Benadryl overdose and died on the spot.

The Right Dosage

The right dosage of Benadryl for your dog primarily depends on your vet. It’s highly recommended that you sit down with your vet and talk to them about the condition that your dog is suffering from. After carefully assessing the animal’s condition and its needs, the vet will recommend an appropriate dosage.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, you should only give 2 to 4 mg of Benadryl to your dog for each kilogram of their body weight. Ideally, you should give the medicine at least twice a day, but don’t give it more than three times unless specifically instructed by your vet.

How to Give the Medication

Because of the chemical composition of Benadryl, it would be a foolish idea to give the dog such medication without consulting with a vet first. For starters, you should never give time-release capsules to the dog because their absorption rate is quite different from humans. It’s likely to have a dire impact on the dosage as well.

In case the capsule breaks open in the dog’s mouth, they may end up chewing lots of it, thus delivering a strong dose in a short burst. This could increase the chances of an overdose in your dog. Liquid Benadryl, which often includes sodium, should be avoided at all costs.

The potential for side effects is generally quite high. More importantly, you need to avoid any kind of Benadryl that contains alcohol. The chances of harmful damage are quite high, so it’s best to avoid giving such medicine. More importantly, there are children’s Benadryl tablets available, so you can ask your vet if those are suitable for your dog.

How Does Benadryl Work for Motion Sickness or in Treating Anxiety?

Dogs are likely to experience unfamiliarity in different situations, or a new environment may put undue stress on them. For instance, dogs don’t like being left alone, so if your animal has to spend long hours each day simply being away from you, they are likely to suffer from anxiety or other problems.

Benadryl tends to cause drowsiness in the animal, and it’s one of the main reasons why most dog owners like to give Benadryl to their dogs. Many dogs also experience motion sickness while they are being driven around town. To prevent motion sickness, giving Benadryl is a great idea.

The sedative effects caused by Benadryl are suitable for treating different kinds of symptoms in your dog. However, if your dog ends up with an upset tummy every now and then, you might want to get in touch with a veterinarian. This is not something that should occur frequently, so treatment might be necessary to fix the problem.

Side Effects

It’s important to understand that while side effects of Benadryl are relatively less, they can still occur. The most obvious side effect caused by Benadryl is drowsiness. After a few minutes of taking the medication, you will notice your dog’s energy levels decreasing sharply.

Another side effect of this medicine is dry mouth, and urinary retention also tends to occur from time to time. These issues are more likely to arise in smaller dog breeds, as they usually have a more compromised immune system. If you notice your dog suffering from any of these side effects, seek treatment with a vet right away.

Going to a Vet

It’s important to understand that while giving Benadryl to your dog seems like a quick fix, you need to know that it’s not always the solution. In some cases, the problem might be exacerbated or caused due to other underlying conditions. Without going to a vet, it’s not going to be possible for you to diagnose the underlying condition.

Therefore, in case your dog is suffering from a problem that seems chronic, you should take the animal to a vet. They will carry out a detailed medical inspection to determine the cause of the problem and then recommend suitable medication that will treat the dog’s problem. These are just a few things that you should know about using Benadryl.