Benadryl is a very useful over the counter medication for people that can treat a variety of conditions in dogs. These conditions range from allergies to anxiety to motion sickness. While liquid Benadryl for dogs hasn’t been FDA approved, veterinarians across the country recommend it as an effective and safe treatment for several conditions.
While the tablet form is ideal for many dogs, it isn’t the right choice for every dog. Here’s what you need to know about using liquid Benadryl for dogs. Ideally, you should take this information to your veterinarian to discuss your dog’s condition. They may recommend additional testing before suggesting liquid Benadryl for dogs.
Why should I give my dog Liquid Benadryl?
The active ingredient in Benadryl, diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine with a sedating effect. That makes it a useful treatment for allergies as well as anxiety and motion sickness.
Histamine is a chemical released by mast cells in your dog’s body when he encounters something that he is allergic to. That may be an environmental allergy such as pollen, bee stings, or flea bites. It might also be an allergic reaction to something like a vaccination. Antihistamines such as liquid Benadryl for dogs block the receptors for allergies, preventing your dog from suffering symptoms such as itching, scratching, biting, redness, and sneezing.
Antihistamines like liquid Benadryl for dogs are effective at treating allergies in about 30% of dogs. Other treatments, such as corticosteroids, come with a higher likelihood of side effects. The possibility of severe or permanent side effects from steroid use should encourage you to explore antihistamines first. While Benadryl is often the first choice of antihistamine that vets recommend, it isn’t the only option. There are other antihistamines that may work for your dog if Benadryl doesn’t.
The sedating effect of liquid Benadryl for dogs also makes it an effective treatment for situational anxiety. It can make a world of difference for a dog that is terrified of fireworks, for example. Since a dog that is afraid of fireworks might hurt itself trying to escape, Benadryl can be a real lifesaver.
Dogs that suffer from motion sickness while traveling can also benefit from Benadryl. It can reduce nausea related to motion sickness. Even a short trip to the dog park or veterinarian can become less stressful if you give your dog Benadryl first.
How often should I give my dog Benadryl?
You should give Benadryl 30 minutes prior to an event such as fireworks, travel, or motion sickness. For regular usage in the management of allergies, your veterinarian may suggest that you give Benadryl 2-3 times per day.
It’s important to note that dogs who receive regular doses of Benadryl can become used to the dose. If Benadryl no longer seems to be helping your dog, speak to your vet. They may recommend a higher dose or another medication.
What are the benefits of liquid Benadryl over the tablets?
The dosing of Benadryl tablets favors larger dogs. The recommended tablet dosage of Benadryl for dogs is 1 mg for every pound of your dog’s weight. Since the tablets are 25 mg each, giving an accurate dose to a dog that is smaller than 25 pounds can be difficult. This is especially true for dogs that are so small that they would receive less than half of a tablet. Very small dogs are therefore easier to accurately dose with children’s liquid Benadryl than with a fraction of a tablet.
Keep in mind that adult liquid versions of Benadryl may contain alcohol or Xylitol, both of which are toxic to dogs. When you choose a children’s liquid Benadryl for dogs, you should make sure it is dye-free and does not contain alcohol or Xylitol.
How do I dose liquid Benadryl for dogs?
The dosing of liquid Benadryl for dogs is different than the tablet dosing. The usual concentration of liquid Benadryl is 12.5 mg of diphenhydramine (the active ingredient in Benadryl) per 5 mL of liquid. Dogs should receive only 0.4 mL of liquid Benadryl for every pound of body weight. That means that a 5-pound dog should receive 2 mL, a 10-pound dog should receive 4 mL, a 15-pound dog should receive 6 mL, and a 20-pound dog should receive 8 mL.
Since a US teaspoon holds 5 mL, you will want to use a syringe to precisely measure how much liquid Benadryl for dogs that you should use for your pup. Also, since liquid Benadryl flavors are designed to appeal to human children, most dogs do not like the taste. Using a syringe without a needle can also help quickly give your dog the dose with a minimal amount of fuss and mess.
Some concentrations of liquid Benadryl are only 6.25 mg of diphenhydramine per 5 mL of liquid. Since this is half the strength of normal liquid Benadryl, you will need to give your dog twice as much. That means that a 5-pound dog needs 4 mL of this lower-strength Benadryl, a 10-pound dog needs 8 mL, a 15-pound dog needs 12 mL, and a 20-pound dog requires 16 mL of liquid Benadryl.
Are there dogs who shouldn’t receive Benadryl?
Dogs who suffer from the following conditions should not take liquid Benadryl for dogs. If you feel that your dog would benefit from Benadryl, speak to your veterinarian.
-Pregnant or nursing dogs
-Those who suffer from urinary retention
-Dogs that have cardiovascular problems
-Dogs that have glaucoma
-Those with high blood pressure
What else should I know?
While Benadryl is considered safe for dogs, side effects and overdoses are possible. Common side effects of Benadryl include sleepiness, dry mouth, and retaining urine. Side effects that are less common include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, allergic reaction, and excitement.
Symptoms of an overdose include muscle tremors, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, breathing difficulties, extreme fatigue, confusion, and a high temperature.
You should always discuss the pros and cons of giving your dog any over the counter medication with your vet. Some symptoms of allergies may resemble conditions that are more serious. Your dog may also have a hidden condition that could be complicated by adding Benadryl.