Dog Tips

Benadryl For Dogs – Is It Safe?

Is Benadryl Safe for Dogs? 

Your dog might have concerning medical problems like bloody stool or dogs in heat. If you suffer from allergies, you know how valuable a little pink Benadryl pill can be for combatting sniffles, itchy eyes, and breathing problems. During even the worst of allergy seasons, this medication can be a potent aid against uncomfortable symptoms. Even further, if you’re a dog owner, you might’ve noticed your canine experiencing similar allergy-related issues. Itchy faces, sneezing, and runny noses are not exclusive to humans!

If your dog is experiencing allergies, you might wonder if Benadryl is a safe and effective remedy to relieve their discomfort. And you might be asking yourself, “How much should I give?”, “What effect will it have?”.

Let’s talk about whether Benadryl is a safe at-home medication for your pup and how it can possibly help your pooch.

What is in Benadryl?

What makes those little pink pills pack such a punch? Its active ingredient is diphenhydramine HCl, classified as a first-generation ethanolamine-derivative antihistamine. This means that it is an antihistamine that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Crossing this barrier allows the medication to block histamine receptors – hence the name “anti-histamine” – stopping your body from having adverse allergy side effects. Even though your body is still producing histamines – a reaction to foreign substances that you are genetically sensitive to, such as pollen – your body no longer registers them. Typically, your body reacts to histamines with typical symptoms such as sniffles, coughs, or itching. When it stops registering these particles, you can get some relief.

Can I give my dog Benadryl?

As with anything from your medicine cabinet, it is good to proceed with the utmost caution when medicating your dog at home, especially for anxiety or depression. Many medications made for humans should not be given to canines and only should be done after consulting your vet. It is imperative to consider any medications your dog is already taking and whether they have any pre-existing conditions. Certain health conditions your dog may have can make giving them Benadryl harmful rather than helpful. These include low blood pressure, cardiac conditions, glaucoma, or pregnancy.

Because of these dependent factors, your vet can safely direct you to whether it is okay to give Benadryl to your dog and ask if it is safe when you put is home alone. It is common for vets to instruct owners to administer this drug at home. Still, it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.

When should I give my dog Benadryl?

Generally, Benadryl is safe for dogs and can be a great solution to treat mild issues like allergic reactions or anxiety. If your vet gives you the go-ahead, let’s talk about when and why you might want to give your dog Benadryl.

Mitigating Allergy Symptoms

If your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies, came in with a bee sting, or has stomach issues related to eating something they are allergic to – Benadryl might be the perfect tool. It can reduce all of the following symptoms:

  • Inflammation and swelling

  • Sneezing

  • Coughing

  • Skin irritation

  • Runny eyes and nose

  • Hives

But if your dog is going into anaphylactic shock, is experiencing extreme swelling, or has trouble breathing, take them to the vet immediately. Benadryl may be great for minor symptoms but will not remedy a severe allergy attack.

Helping with Anxiety

Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety. Seeing your dog stressed and uneasy will have you searching for a quick fix. Because of Benadryl’s drowsy side effects, it can be used to calm your dog down. For a road trip or during fireworks, it might be a temporary solution. But, it is crucial to keep a few things in mind if you’re choosing to medicate anxiety with Benadryl.

  • It can have the opposite effect. Some dogs will not get drowsy from Benadryl; instead, they will feel extra nervous or on edge. It can make them hyperactive and confused. Always gauge your dog’s initial reaction and act accordingly – it might not be the solution for your pup!

  • There are probably better remedies for anxiety out there. Although Benadryl might be generally safe for dogs, it can have adverse side effects, mix poorly with other medications, and make them more anxious. If your dog consistently suffers from anxiety, consult your vet about longer-term solutions such as different medications or behavioral therapy. Benadryl may be a quick fix, but it won’t solve your dog’s anxiety struggles in the long run.

  • Preventing Vaccine Reactions

It is not uncommon for your young puppy to react slightly to the wide variety of vaccines they receive. Vaccines are of the utmost importance to give your puppy tools to fight off any illnesses. Because of these possible reactions – like swelling or fatigue – it is common for vets to recommend giving your dog a small dose of Benadryl before heading to their shot appointment. Always call your vet beforehand to check – it could make your puppy’s shot experience more comfortable!

Benadryl Dosage for Dogs

As mentioned above, always consult your vet before giving your dog human medications. If you treat your dog with Benadryl, the amount you give them is essential to pay attention to. Even though Benadryl is generally safe, too much can do a lot of damage.

Typical Benadryl tablets are dosed at 25 milligrams. Vets and experts say that a general rule for dosage is .9-1.8 mg per pound. So if your dog is 25 pounds, one pill should do the trick, but 100-pound dogs might need more than one. If your dog is under 25 pounds, you should not give them a whole pill but instead, find a smaller dose. You can cut the pill in half and mix it in their food, but this risks inaccuracy. There is Benadryl out there made for children that comes in liquid form or smaller doses, so that is probably your best bet for your small pup.


Ultimately, Benadryl is a safe alternative but should only be given to your dog after speaking with your vet. There is actually a pet-specific version of Benadryl called “Vetadryl” that you can ask your vet about if you are worried about possible side effects. Vetadryl comes in smaller doses for smaller dogs and even has flavored options to make administering the pill a breeze!

If you plan on using Benadryl for your dog, pay attention to the dosage and how they react. And if they are having a severe allergic reaction, immediate medical attention is your safest option.


  • Benadryl For Dogs |

  • How to Use Benadryl To Help Your Dog With Allergies, Anxiety and More |

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