Unlocking the Safe Use of Benadryl for Your Dog: Dosage, Benefits, and More

Benadryl for Your Dog

Last Updated on October 7, 2023 by Fumipets

Unlocking the Safe Use of Benadryl for Your Dog: Dosage, Benefits, and More

Benadryl for Dogs: Can you give it to your furry companion? Is it safe? Will it truly alleviate your dog’s discomfort? These are common questions among pet owners. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore when and how to use Benadryl, including dosage charts, potential side effects, and essential insights.

Unraveling the World of Benadryl

What Is Benadryl?

Benadryl, or diphenhydramine in its generic form, is a well-known antihistamine. It acts by blocking histamine receptors, effectively mitigating allergic reactions. While it’s a staple in human medicine for allergies, hay fever, and more, its use in dogs isn’t FDA-approved but has a history in veterinary practice dating back to 1950.

When to Consider Benadryl for Your Dog

Benadryl may offer relief for mild to moderate allergic reactions in dogs. Here are some situations where it might be considered:

1. Airborne Allergens

Dogs, like humans, can suffer from allergies to pollen and other environmental factors. Benadryl may help ease symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and skin irritation.

2. Food Allergies

Food allergies can manifest in dogs as irritated skin, vomiting, or diarrhea. Benadryl can provide temporary relief while you work on identifying a more suitable diet for your pet.

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3. Skin Allergies

Contact with various substances like food or environmental chemicals, as well as fleas, can trigger allergic reactions in dogs. Benadryl may help reduce irritation and excessive paw licking.

4. Insect Encounters

Curious dogs may explore beehives and ant nests, leading to insect stings or bites. Benadryl can alleviate some of the associated swelling and discomfort, though serious symptoms require immediate veterinary attention.

5. Anxiety Management

Benadryl’s side effect of drowsiness can help manage anxiety in dogs, but it may not work for every pet, as hyperactivity can also occur. It’s essential to consult your vet if you intend to use it for anxiety.

Note: While Benadryl can be beneficial, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, and its effectiveness can vary from dog to dog. If your dog’s mild or moderate symptoms persist after using Benadryl, consult your veterinarian for more appropriate treatment options.

Decoding Benadryl Dosage for Dogs

Determining the right Benadryl dosage for your dog is crucial. Here’s a general guideline:

  • The Merck Veterinary Manual suggests a dosage of 2 to 4 milligrams of Benadryl per kilogram of your dog’s weight, which translates to 0.9 to 1.8 milligrams per pound.
  • Administer the dosage every six to eight hours as needed.

To calculate the appropriate dosage for your dog, multiply its weight in pounds by 0.9 to find the lower recommended dose. For the upper limit, multiply your dog’s weight by 1.8. However, it’s safest to start with the lower dose and increase if necessary, taking note of any potential side effects.

Benadryl Dosage Chart for Dogs

If you’re using Benadryl tablets, you may need to divide them to achieve the correct dosage. Here’s a chart to help you:

Benadryl Dosage Chart for Dogs 

For those using liquid Benadryl, the dosage calculation is slightly different. To determine the appropriate liquid dosage, divide your dog’s weight by four to find the right amount in milliliters (mL):

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Dog Weight (lbs)

Benadryl Dosage (mL)

10 lbs

4 mL

20 lbs

8 mL

30 lbs

12 mL

40 lbs

16 mL

50 lbs

20 mL

60 lbs

24 mL

70 lbs

28 mL

80 lbs

32 mL

90 lbs

36 mL

100 lbs

40 mL


Ensuring the Safety of Your Furry Friend

While Benadryl is generally safe for dogs, certain medical conditions may make it unsuitable, including:

  • Glaucoma
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Disease

Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that any Benadryl you use contains only diphenhydramine as the active ingredient. Always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication, including Benadryl.

The Risk of Overdosing

Yes, dogs can overdose on Benadryl if they consume more than the recommended amount within a six- to eight-hour timeframe. Overdose symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Excessive drooling
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Upset stomach
  • Lack of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Seizures

Overdose symptoms typically manifest within an hour of Benadryl exposure. If you suspect an overdose, seek immediate veterinary care.

Potential Side Effects

Benadryl may induce side effects in dogs, including:

  • Depression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Excessive drooling
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate

These side effects may overlap with overdose symptoms, making it essential to consult your vet if your dog exhibits any adverse reactions.

Benadryl for Dogs FAQ

How Often Can I Give My Dog Benadryl?

As per the Merck Manual, administer Benadryl to your dog every six to eight hours, following the recommended dosage. Maintain this schedule by providing the dose in the morning, early afternoon, and evening.

Encouraging Your Dog to Take Benadryl

Since medication often tastes unpleasant, dogs may resist taking it. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Hiding the tablet in food: Mix the tablet with soft, wet dog food or dog-safe peanut butter to make it less noticeable.
  • Direct administration: Place the pill at the back of your dog’s tongue and close its mouth, as suggested by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Seek professional help: If your dog is uncooperative, consult your veterinarian, who can expertly administer the medication.
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Can I Give Benadryl to My Puppy?

Yes, you can give Benadryl to puppies, but ensure you administer the appropriate dosage based on their weight. Always consult your vet before giving Benadryl to a puppy.

Using Benadryl as a Sleep Aid

While Benadryl can induce drowsiness, it’s not typically recommended as a sleep aid for dogs. If you’re concerned about your dog’s sleep patterns, consult your vet for a more suitable solution.


In conclusion, Benadryl can be a helpful tool in managing your dog’s allergies, mild symptoms, or anxiety. However, it’s vital to use it responsibly, following dosage guidelines and consulting your veterinarian when in doubt.

Remember that Benadryl treats symptoms, not underlying issues, so addressing the root cause remains essential for your pet’s well-being. To learn more about caring for your canine companion and dealing with common dog illnesses, explore additional resources on dog health.

Source: Newsweek


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