Health & Wellness
Can you give a dog Benadryl?
Here’s when the medicine can help
More times than not, medications that help people aren’t safe for dogs — but you can talk to your vet about Benadryl. This over-the-counter medication’s drowsy effect can stop dogs from scratching during an allergic reaction to a vaccine or bug bite. Veterinarian and pet health advocate Dr. Aliya McCullough has the scoop on giving your dog Benadryl.
Can I give my dog Benadryl for itching?
Veterinarians sometimes recommend giving dogs Benadryl to combat skin itching, allergic skin conditions, reactions to vaccines or bug bites and motion sickness. When it comes to itchiness, the medication makes dogs sleepy enough to stop scratching but doesn’t really stop the itch.
Always talk to your vet before giving Benadryl to your dog, as it could interact with other medications they’re taking. Veterinarians can also tell you the safest Benadryl serving size for your pup. If it’s OK for your dog to have Benadryl, monitor them in case they experience a negative reaction.
Can I give my dog Benadryl for pain?
Benadryl doesn’t relieve dog pain, so you should talk to your vet about other treatment options.
Does Benadryl help with anxiety?
Benadryl has a sedative effect, however, dog anxiety is usually stronger than drowsiness. Talk to your veterinarian about other anti-anxiety solutions, like melatonin.
What should I do if my dog eats Benadryl?
Call your vet or poison control if you think your dog got into Benadryl when you weren’t around. Dogs shouldn’t take Benadryl if they’re allergic (or currently doing allergy testing), pregnant or suffer from asthma, glaucoma, seizures or prostate or urinary disease. High doses of Benadryl can cause dry mouth, constipation and difficulty urinating.
It’s a good idea to put together a pet emergency preparedness plan when introducing your dog to new medications. Some quick steps to get you started are:
- Write down the phone numbers for poison control, local 24-hour emergency pet hospitals and animal ambulances in your area.
- Put together a pet emergency kit including latex gloves, an information card with your vet’s address and phone number and towels.
- Practice for emergencies by familiarizing your pet with riding in the car.
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How to prevent dogs from eating Benadryl
Dogs can sneak and sniff their way into even the most complicated situations. We know you always do your best to keep them safe, but here are a few extra tips that’ll help keep Benadryl away from your dog:
- Store all medications inside secure, chew-proof containers that are out of reach.
- Talk to your vet before giving your dog any over-the-counter medications.
- Stick to the recommended dosage and brand of medication (if your vet gives you the green light).
Benadryl may only distract your pup from the itching, but with your vet’s permission, it could be a great way to ease their discomfort.
The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.
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Photo by Atanas Teodosiev on Unsplash