As a pet owner, you may have heard or probably even used Benadryl to treat your seasonal allergies, but what you may not have done is give it to your dog. Benadryl works by moving to the smooth muscle and blood vessels to block H-1 receptors, hence alleviate allergy symptoms. Generally speaking, veterinarians advise against sharing our meds with pets, since our bodies and theirs react differently.
For this reason, you need to consult your vet before making any independent medication decisions. Not all human medication is dangerous for dogs, however, and in some cases, you can give some of your medicines to Fido when treating him.
Benadryl is one of the human drugs commonly used on pets, but you must familiarize yourself with it, since if inappropriately, used, it can be dangerous and even fatal to your dog.
what are some of the uses of Benadryl in dogs?
The thing that comes into your mind when you think of Benadryl as an antihistamine is treating allergic reactions, but the truth is that the product has many uses on your pooch. Read on to discover them:
1. Benadryl for allergies
Allergies do not manifest themselves in dogs the same way they do in humans, so you must be vigilant when making any decision that involves the treatment of allergies in dogs. Yes, it is possible for dog allergies to manifest themselves quite similarly to those of humans.
However, to be sure that it’s not a more serious condition, its usually advisable that you consult a vet if you notice conditions such as inflamed eyes, nasal discharge, coughing, among others. In most cases, your dog’s allergic reactions will show on the skin, but the bottom line is that you must consider consulting a veterinarian so that he can recommend the use of Benadryl where applicable.
2. Benadryl for mast cell tumors
If your dog has mast cell tumors, a mast cell degranulation will most likely occur, and this comes with a massive release of histamine. In such a case, your vet will most likely recommend the use of Benadryl to deal with the effect of histamine release.
3. Using Benadryl for anxiety
Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, causes drowsiness as a side effect, which is something that could be taken advantage of in calming an anxious dog. Remember, however, to always seek advice from your vet on whether you can give Benadryl to your pooch when such times come.
4. Treating hives with Benadryl
Hives can affect humans and dogs equally, and while they signify something more severe in humans, dogs experience them simply because of allergic reactions. Even though they look quite horrific most of the time, you should not panic when your fluffy friend breaks out in hives because Benadryl treats them without any complications.
5. Benadryl for heartworm treatment
If your dog is being treated to get rid of heartworms, your biggest worry might be how the pooch can recuperate without feeling miserable. For such cases, Benadryl can be a good ally, helping your dog to heal comfortably.
6. Treating motion sickness
We all love traveling with our pets to explore new places, but sometimes the journey could be stressful if your pet experiences motion sickness. As such, if your pet tends to feel ill if you take him with you for long trips, Benadryl should solve the problem just fine. This works perfectly, so don’t be worried about whether you will be traveling by plane, driving, or using any other transport means.
7. Benadryl for euthanasia
Did you know that Benadryl can be used for euthanizing your dog? Stick around to learn more about putting your dog to sleep with Benadryl.
Benadryl side effects
Benadryl is typically considered to be very safe for dogs, but remember that this medication, like any other medication, will most likely come with some side effects. Before introducing Benadryl to your pet, it is always a good idea to consult with your vet so they can determine whether the drug might interact with the dog’s other medication.
Side effects of Benadryl can be broken down into the following two major categories:
Common Side Effects
The common side effects of Benadryl are somehow troublesome, but the good news is that they should not make you worry at all. Some like urinary retention, however, must be considered as they can cause issues for a dog who has had kidney or liver problems before being given the medication. Below are some of the common side effects you should expect from giving Benadryl to a pooch:
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Urinary retention
- Dry mouth
Uncommon Side Effects
These side effects, even if they occur, tend to be much less common, but you must watch out for them:
- Decreased appetite
- Increased appetite
You will want to monitor your dog within 1-5 hours after the exposure as this is when most of these side effects start appearing. Keep a cautious eye on the doggie to ensure that he is eating as expected and that none of the less common effects are being experienced.
Benadryl dosage for dogs
At this point, being a pet parent who loves their dogs more than words can explain, a possible question that you might have is, “How much Benadryl can I give to my dog?” Well, the answer here pretty much depends on how big your dog is since the recommended dosage is 1 mg of Benadryl per pound.
Also, the medication should be given only when needed, for a maximum of three times a day. That should be for normal situations, but in rare conditions like when putting a dog to sleep, you might be needed to double the dosage, depending on what the veterinarian advises you to do.
However, it’s highly advisable that you consult your vet on the dosage every time you have to give Benadryl to your dog since some conditions might require a lesser quantity. It would be best if you also got advice from your vet every time you want to give Benadryl to a dog under 6 pounds so that they can calculate the exact right dosage for your pet.
How much liquid Benadryl should my dog have?
Now that you know the recommended dosage for Benadryl pills, you may also be wondering whether you can give your dog liquid Benadryl, and if so, exactly how much should you give? Benadryl in liquid form is not exactly safe for your dog since it has a high alcohol content. If, however, you insist on using the liquid version, first seek advice from a vet.
Most of them advise pet owners to use a children’s liquid formula, as most don’t contain alcohol. When you consult your pet doc, they should advise on the quantity to be given, since the liquid and pill form of Benadryl are not similar. In most cases, you will be using a syringe when administering liquid Benadryl, so you better ensure that Fido is comfortable using one.
How often can I give Benadryl to my dog?
Once you have the correct dosage, you should give it 2 to 3 times a day, observing an 8 – 12 hours gap between each dose. At times, your vet will recommend that you give the drug to your dog for a specified number of days, and when that happens, you must give the medication as advised.
Never cease to give medication to your dog just because they seem to get better. It might be that the antihistamine is helping them cope better with the original symptoms. On the other hand, using Benadryl for a long term can result in reduced effectiveness.
If your dog has a condition that requires repeated use of Benadryl, ask your vet to recommend other antihistamine products that you can use to give the pet a break from Benadryl.
Is Benadryl safe for puppies?
If your dog is a little pup and you have been thinking of giving Benadryl to them, take great caution. Just like human babies, puppies too do not have fully developed systems, and as such, some medication can overpower them.
Besides, as mentioned above, you need to consult your vet before administering Benadryl to a dog who’s below 6 pounds, so always seek advice from your vet before giving the medication to your pup.
Tips for giving Benadryl to your doggy
- Test before administering – Before giving Benadryl to your dog, it would be a good idea to first test the product on your dog by administering only a small amount and watching for any signs of reactions or effects. Once you are sure that the product has no unwanted outcome, you can go ahead and administer the full dosage.
- Give it with food – Giving Benadryl with food helps to get rid of some side effects of the drug such as nausea and lack of appetite. The pills can be given with a treat so that the dog won’t even notice that there is a pill, but remember to break it into chunks.
- Mix liquid Benadryl with wet food – You can give liquid gel Benadryl to your pet by mixing it with wet food that contains gravy. Your dog should enjoy the sauce without having to notice the drug. You can also position a dropper at the back of your dog’s mouth and squeeze the medication into the pet’s mouth. After that, give them their favorite treat to make them forget everything.
Putting your dog to sleep with Benadryl
As mentioned earlier, Benadryl can be used for exceptional cases, and one of the most common is euthanizing dogs. Euthanasia means “good death” from its Greek origin, and in such a case, you can also refer to it as putting your dog to sleep.
Deciding whether to put your dog to sleep or not can be a dilemma, considering that you want to stay with the pet for as long as you can, but at the same time, you have to acknowledge that he is in great discomfort, so he needs his ‘sleep’ so bad.
Should I put my dog down?
It’s the decision that no pet owner wants to make, but if your pet is suffering or his health deteriorating with no signs of improving, then the best thing to do would be to put him to sleep. Such moments will even require the input of your entire family, as the decision to euthanize a pet affects every family member.
As expected, the decision to put your dog to sleep will be hard for your family, particularly for the kids and there might be lots of tears here and there. Nevertheless, you have to try and encourage each other, knowing that you want the best for Fido.
In the end whether or not you will put your dog to sleep will be your decision to make, but if the doggie is suffering, it’s always advisable that you let go so that he can find his relief.
The procedure of putting your dog to sleep with Benadryl
Once you have decided to part ways with your pet, your vet will go on with the process of putting them to sleep in a very peaceful and, of course, painless way. The following steps should be followed:
- The vet will explain the procedure in its entirety to you before they start. It’s at this point that you can ask all the question that might be ringing in your mind to be sure that you understand everything.
- The vet will place the dog on a comfy surface, and he might do that with the help of a technician. At this moment, you will be instructed on where to stay to avoid obstructing the vet and their assistant.
- An intravenous (IV) catheter can be inserted in the vein before the injection of Benadryl to reduce the chances of a rupture, which would cause discomfort should it happen’.
- The vet will then administer an overdose of the drug, in this case, Benadryl, which will put your dog to permanent ‘sleep’ in a few minutes or even seconds depending on the situation.
- Afterward, a stethoscope will be used by the veterinarian to confirm that your dog’s heart has stopped, confirming death. You might observe some reaction such as gasping or muscle twitching, as well as discharging stool and urinating even after death is confirmed. Such action is normal, so don’t be scared.
- After the procedure is completed successfully, you can spend a few last moments will your pet, if you wish to.
Depending on how comfortable Fido is, this process can be done in its entirety from your home, or the vet’s clinic.
What if I want to be the one to euthanize my pooch?
If you’re courageous enough to put the pet to sleep by yourself, you can do so only after seeking advice from your veterinarian. The process will be similar to the one above, but you need details about measurements, and how to generally go about the process, to avoid doing it wrong.
Seeing a pet you care about so much suffering can hurt you so much, but luckily, Benadryl can be so much useful in several cases. Having acquired some knowledge about Benadryl and its relation to dogs, you now know when you can use Benadryl as a solution.
However, just as mentioned above, the right thing to do when giving any medication to your dog is first consulting with a vet, to avoid making a mess of the situation. You don’t want to give Benadryl to your dog thinking that you are helping them, only to realize that you have put them in greater trouble.
All the best in nurturing your pooch!!