Can I give my dog Benadryl for dermatitis? Here’s What to Expect

Is Benadryl for my dog safe? Dosage, side effects, and more

Yes! *Deep exhale* Giving a dog Benadryl is safe. In fact, Benadryl is a fantastic medication to treat dogs with mild-to-moderate allergies. It’s most commonly used to treat skin allergies, but it can help aid with anything from seasonal allergies to environmental allergies to food allergies to an allergic reaction to a snake or insect bite.

If your dog is experiencing any of the allergy symptoms below, Benadryl can surely help with your dog’s health:

  • Hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Facial swelling and inflammation
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Anaphylactic reaction
  • How Does Benadryl Work in Dogs?

    Benadryl works the same way in dogs as it does in people — by blocking histamine.

    When your dog comes into contact with an allergen, their immune system produces histamine, a natural compound that tries to flush allergens out of the body. If your pet has environmental allergies, histamine is responsible for your dogs sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and itchy skin. If they experience food allergies, histamine can cause hives, diarrhea, and vomiting in dogs. And during a severe allergic reaction, histamine is responsible for swelling and anaphylactic shock.

    The active ingredient in Benadryl, diphenhydramine, bonds with a specific type of histamine receptor, known as an h1 receptor. When diphenhydramine is bonded to these receptors, histamine cant bond with them and cant cause an allergic reaction.

    Guidelines For Benadryl For Dogs

    It is important to follow the dosing and frequency recommendation when giving your dog Benadryl as overdose is possible. Abuse of the drug can result in fatal diphenhydramine poisoning, so always consult your veterinarian if you are unsure of the proper dosage. Signs of overdose can include excitement, seizures, lethargy, rapid heart rate, and decreased respiration.

    If your dog is suffering from an onset of a severe allergic reaction, use your best judgment to determine if it would be best to opt for an emergency trip to your veterinarian. If you notice any facial swelling or difficulty breathing, take them to your nearest emergency veterinarian.

    Again, make sure to select a product which lists only diphenhydramine as the active ingredient. Avoid using time-release capsules for dogs. Time-release capsules are absorbed differently in humans vs dogs and may affect your dog’s dosage. Also, be extra cautious when using Benadryl in older dogs as they may be a bit sedated and/or confused.

    Does Benadryl Work?

    NOTE: It is best to contact your veterinarian for guidance before administering any medication to your pet.

    If your dog suffers from mild allergies or is experiencing an allergic reaction from an insect bite or sting, for example, it may surprise you to know that you can reach to your medicine cabinet for help. While other human drugs should NOT be used on our canine companions, Benadryl, when given in the correct dose, is generally safe to use, well tolerated and has a low risk of overdose in dogs.

    Benadryl, also known by its active ingredient diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine that alleviates both human and dog allergy symptoms. Histamines are produced by the body in response to an allergen it wants to get rid of, triggering sneezing, itching, etc. Benadryl works by blocking histamine receptors, in turn, reducing allergy symptoms. It is important to bear in mind that Benadryl is not as effective for dogs as it is for humans, and is typically only mildly to moderately effective in alleviating mild allergy symptoms.

    In this article, I will discuss when you can give your dog Benadryl, the proper dosage according to body weight, and its potential side effects.