Can a dog have liquid benadryl?

Benadryl for Dogs: Dosage and Safety Information

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Benadryl can be used for dogs, and the recommended dosage is typically about 1 milligram per pound of body weight for a dog. Or in other words, 10 mg per dose (2 to 3 times a day) for dogs 30 pounds or less, 25 mg per dose for dogs that are between 30 to 50 lbs, and 50 mg per dose for dogs 50 pounds or more.

While this is the general guideline for dogs because of their size, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian for more information about proper dosage, as well as safety information for your dog. While this is the short answer to understanding when and why to give Benadryl to your dog, it is important to learn about Benadryl's function and uses.

What is Benadryl and how does it work?

Benadryl is the brand name for various antihistamines. Antihistamines are a class of drugs to counteract the effects of allergic reactions such as hives, sneezing, nasal congestion, or swelling. The class of drugs is called antihistamines because they counteract the activity of histamine receptors in the body.

Histamines are chemicals your body produces as a defense mechanism against allergens, things that could potentially harm you. The function of histamines is to start a process that removes the allergens from your body. This happens through various body functions such as tears, sneezing or itching. What people call allergies is often the body's overreaction to compounds that are typically considered harmless, such as pet dander or pollen. Antihistamines are typically used to fight allergies by stopping the body from receiving histamine.

The skeletal structure of diphenhydramine. Photo: Public Domain

Antihistamines try to block or reduce the reception of histamines, which in turn helps reduce the severity of histamine allergy symptoms. Allergy medication can significantly reduce the manifestation of symptoms such as water eyes, runny nose, rashes, and swelling due to hay fever, dust, food allergies, and pet dander. However, there are limitations to what antihistamines can achieve and often they cannot prevent every symptom that you are suffering from.

Benadryl is simply a type of antihistamine, the brand name for the antihistamine known as diphenhydramine. In addition to treating symptoms of allergies, diphenhydramine is sometimes used to treat vomiting, nausea, and dizziness. As with all medications, there are potential side effects to using Benadryl or other diphenhydrams. Lightheadedness, dizziness, and dry mouth are the most common side effects.

Why would you give Benadryl to your dog?

As mentioned earlier, Benadryl is an antihistamine used to treat allergic reactions. This includes your dog's allergic reactions to certain chemical compounds. While most human drugs are not intended to be consumed by dogs, diphenhydramine is a drug that works in both dogs and humans. Benadryl or other diphenhydramines can be used to treat the swelling your dog may experience from insect bites or bites, as well as environmental allergies and motion sickness (such as those that occur when driving or traveling by plane). It is often used to minimize the side effects of reactions to vaccines or other treatments.

You may want to give Benadryl to your dog if your dog is experiencing any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction: runny nose, watery eyes, redness of the eyes, sneezing, coughing, swelling, inflammation, coughing, hives, itching. Some dogs also suffer from anxiety (which can show up during thunderstorms), and since Benadryl is a mild sedative it can be calming.

Administer Benadryl (diphenhydramine)

The standard tablets of diphenhydramine bought at a drug store are typically around 25 milligrams. This would be the appropriate size for a 25 pound dog. Check the dosage before prescribing medication for your dog. (Note that some packs of diphenhydramine are combined with other medications such as Tylenol. Only give your dog tablets that contain diphenhydramine.)

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When giving Benadryl to your dog, give your dog a small amount of Benadryl first, not the full dose. As with administering medication, watch your dog closely for the first few hours after administering the medication. This will ensure that your dog does not react badly to the medication or that their allergic reaction continues to get worse. If your dog does not experience any side effects from a small dose of Benadryl, giving them the full dose will be safer.

You may want to make sure your dog has a full stomach before giving him a dose of diphenhydramine. Diphenhydramine often causes nausea, but having a full stomach before consuming the drug can help prevent this effect.

It is recommended to avoid liquid diphenhydramine. Liquid diphenhydramine often comes in the form of gel caps and is often high in alcohol content, which is dangerous for dogs. Don't give Benadryl a puppy without first consulting a veterinarian. Puppies, like baby humans, have sensitive and developing bodies that cannot tolerate many medications.

Don't give your dog diphenhydramine without first consulting a veterinarian if your pet has certain medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and glaucoma. Be especially sure to contact a veterinarian before using Benadryl if your dog has any of the following conditions: narrow-angle glaucoma, heart failure, allergic lung disease, prostatic hypertrophy, bladder neck obstruction, pregnancy, seizures. In general, it is advisable to check with your veterinarian before giving any medication to your dog.

Diphenhydramine is only effective in mild to moderate cases of allergic reactions. If your dog has a severe reaction to an allergen - either difficulty breathing or swelling of the face - take your dog straight to the vet. You should also take your dog to the vet if your dog shows any signs of severe reactions to the Benadryl. While Benadryl is usually safe for your dog to consume, some dogs may have allergic reactions to the Benadryl themselves or about to consume the drug. Signs of severe allergic reactions include seizures, palpitations, constipation, agitation, and dilated pupils. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if they show any signs of these reactions to Benadryl.