Benadryl for dogs suffering with allergies and other conditions

(redirects here from diphenhydramine)

Don’t use Benadryl for dogs without reading this first! The Benadryl dosage for dogs, safety precautions, side effects and other important information is included below.

Benadryl is a common OTC medication used by humans to treat a variety of illnesses, but not many people are aware of its effectiveness in the treatment of household pets including dogs. Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient of Benadryl in the United States is an anti-allergen which can help with dulling the effects of allergies, inducing sleep (many sleeping pills are also diphenhydramine based including Nytol) in pets suffering from insomnia and also help with motion sickness. However, whilst it’s easy to find information regarding the correct dosage for humans, it’s not as simple to find out the safe amount of Benadryl for dogs.

Safer Alternatives

There are a couple of good natural alternatives you can try if you prefer something a bit safer. For anxiety you can try Anxietrex, or for itching you can try Derma-Ionx.

Benadryl dosage for dogs

Please be sure to also scroll down and read the side effects section of this page. Knowing the correct dosage of medication before giving it to your dog is absolutely critical, as an overdose could cause numerous potentially dangerous symptoms, and, conversely, a dosage which is too low will not effectively relieve your pet’s symptoms. The dosage of Benadryl for dogs is 1 mg/lb given every 8 hours (three times a day). For example, a dog weighing 40 lbs would need 40 mg of Benadryl per dose. Benadryl, or diphenhydramine, is commonly prescribed by vets when a dog is suffering from allergies, or as a preventative measure for motion sickness if you’re planning on travelling with your pet. The medication is often sold in 25 mg and 50 mg formulations, for treating dogs the 25 mg formulation is often more suitable.


Benadryl For Dogs Dosage Chart


Do not exceed the safe dosage of this drug. Also keep in mind that even though this is the recommended dosage for dogs, you should still seek the approval of a trained veterinarian before administering this medicine for specific dosage advice. It is also recommended that you don’t exceed 80 mg for any dog regardless of size.

Is Benadryl safe for dogs?

Benadryl is safe for use in the treatment of dogs suffering from insomnia, allergies and various other canine conditions. However there are a few things to be aware of when giving dogs Benadryl, for example, some formulations contain active ingredients other than diphenhydramine (some Benadryl products may even be completely void of diphenhydramine). These other substances are helpful for humans, but often harmful for dogs. Because of this, it’s important that you check the packaging to ensure that diphenhydramine (commonly abbreviated as “DPH”) is the only active ingredient. If you’re not sure which active ingredients are contained within a particular Benadryl product, ask the pharmacist for help.

Safety precautions

When using Benadryl for dogs, be sure to follow these important safety recommendations:

  • Ensure that other medications your dog is taking don’t interact with Benadryl
  • Notify your vet before using Benadryl if your dog suffers from cardiovascular disease, prostatic disease, glaucoma or hyperthyroidism
  • Don’t use the liquid form of Benadryl as the alcohol content is too high for dogs
  • Do not mix with allopurinol or erythromycin

If you are sure your supply does not contain any active ingredients apart from diphenhydramine (especially if you aren’t in the United States, the ingredients in Benadryl can differ, check the packaging carefully) and you’ve carefully read through all the safety checks above then you should administer the dosage of Benadryl for dogs recommended earlier in this article. Seek veterinary advice before giving dogs Benadryl as there are several alternative medicines such as Claritin and various natural remedies which you may wish to try first.

Uses of Benadryl for dogs

The active ingredient of Benadryl, diphenhydramine, is a remarkably versatile substance which can be used to treat a variety of conditions your dog is suffering from such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Motion sickness
  • Allergies
  • Itching
  • Restlessness
  • Stings or bites
  • Bad reactions to vaccines
  • Insomnia

The most common effect when giving dogs Benadryl is reflief from allergies (such as hay fever) or motion sickness. The safe Benadryl dosage for dogs varies from case to case and from dog to dog, so check with a qualified vet before administering medication and pay attention to the Benadryl for dogs dosage chart included on this page! For the treatment of canine insomnia other drugs such as melatonin for dogs may be more effective. Melatonin is also less likely to cause unwanted side effects, and is considered a safer substance overall due to being natural. It’s possible that your dog’s insomnia is a result of excess energy, in which case it’s a sign that they aren’t getting the level of exercise they need.

Side effects of giving dogs Benadryl

Common side effects you should expect when giving this medicine to your pet includes dry mouth and a lower frequency of urination. In rare cases, your dog may experience some gastric upset such as diarrhea and vomiting. If your dog displays signs of gastric upset, you should notify the vet who may choose to stop treatment with this drug and try something else, or possibly lower the dosage.

After administering Benadryl to your dog, he or she may become very drowsy, and become rather spaced out as the drug takes effect. Remember not to panic, as this reaction is considered normal. The video below shows the effects of Benadryl for dogs:

Claritin for a dog’s allergies
Information about Benadryl