Benadryl for Dogs: Usage, Side Effects, and Other Concerns
The compulsion to head to our medicine cabinet to find something that could treat our dogs with can be strong, yet very dangerous. Due to their differences in anatomy, humans and dogs can react differently to the same medicine. This is why veterinarians caution dog owners against making an uninformed decision when treating their dogs.
Benadryl is one medicine that can be used for both humans and dogs. And while it is always a good idea for you to consult your veterinarian first, here are some facts that you should know about using Benadryl for dogs.
What Is Benadryl for Dogs?
Benadryl is the brand name for a substance known as diphenhydramine HCL. This drug can relieve many of the symptoms directly connected to allergies such as itching, sneezing, and rashes. For dogs, Benadryl is effective in reducing other symptoms of an allergy. These include:
- Swelling and inflammation
- Runny eyes and nose
- Anaphylactic reactions
Benadryl can also work as a sedative, which could help calm them. Some breeds are also mentally affected by an allergy that manifests through aggression and restlessness. It has also been used by veterinarians as a pre-treatment before introducing a vaccine to the animal.
Dosage of Benadryl
Like many other over-the-counter drugs, the dosage of Benadryl for dogs is dependent on the size and weight of that particular breed. As such, the standard for Benadryl application is 1 mg per pound of body weight. It should also be administered orally 2 to 3 times a day until the symptoms have stopped manifesting.
If the dog is already experiencing an acute allergic reaction, it is recommended that you skip the oral administration altogether and visit the vet. Some allergic conditions require a combination of medicine in order to be effectively addressed.
Side Effects of Benadryl
Benadryl can cause some effects to manifest on your dog, especially through repeated dosages. As a mild sedative, Benadryl can make your dog drowsy and lethargic for several hours. Other common side effects include drying in the mouth, excessive salivation, rapid breathing and increased heart rate, and urinary retention.
There also some rare side effects that any dog owner should be aware of if they apply the drug to their pets. Some dogs could experience changes in their appetite, depending on their breed. Others could experience diarrhea and would vomit profusely.
Also, Benadryl is known to cause some adverse reactions if the dog is experiencing any of the following conditions:
- Bladder neck obstruction
- Allergic lung disease
- Angle closure glaucoma
Cost of Benadryl for Dogs
Benadryl is one of the cheaper over-the-counter drugs that you could purchase for dogs. The price for a capsule bottle that contains 500 to 1000 capsules can go in between $2.00 and $5.00 in drug stores and online suppliers.
Standard Benadryl tablets come in 25 mg units that is perfect for administering on average-sized dogs like Labradors and Collies. There is also a 50mg tablet that is advisable for larger and heavier dogs. For smaller dogs, it is best to coordinate the dosage with the veterinarian. This way, unpleasant side effects could be avoided.
Interactions with Other Drugs
Benadryl is known to react negatively if used in tandem with other medications. It reportedly has an addictive effect when combined with other sedatives, and other anticholinergic substances.
When used with medication that contains epinephrine, Benadryl is known to enhance the effects of the substance. As such, Benadryl is not to be used when treating allergic reactions for insect bites and stings if the dog already has taken an epinephrine-based tablet.
Lastly, Benadryl is known to lessen the effects of warfarin and heparin. If the dog is on medication for diseases like pancreatitis and laminitis or is recovering from burns, the use of Benadryl is not advised.
Due to this, it is highly recommended that you consult with a veterinarian before attempting to administer the medicine to your dog. They would know if introducing the drug would cause some interactions with other medications or worsen pre-existing conditions.
Ingredients in Benadryl
The primary ingredient in Benadryl is a substance known as Diphenhydramine HCI. This is an antihistamine. This means its primary purpose is to block receptors to prevent the buildup of histamines.
In essence, Diphenhydramine prevents the body to filter that substance without suffering the worst effects that an allergic reaction could bring. Aside from Diphenhydramine, Benadryl also contains other inactive ingredients.
- Stearic acid
- Pregelatinized starch
- Microcrystalline cellulose
- Colloidal silicone dioxide
- Titanium oxide
- Candellila wax
Alternatives to Benadryl for Dogs
Although Benadryl is highly recommended by veterinarians in treating canine allergic reactions, it is not the only option available out there. Here are some natural options that could serve as an alternative to Benadryl.
- Collostrum – Usually found in the milk of mothers, Colostrum is known to contain an ingredient called Praline-Rich Polypeptide. This substance targets the immune system and rewires its usual response to allergens.
It can also inhibit the cells that amplify allergic reactions and can create helper and suppressor T-Cells that will suppress the effects of allergic reactions.
- Mushrooms, Seaweed, and Yeast
These readily available ingredients contain a substance known as beta-glucan. The substance essentially changes the body’s response to allergies by energizing a kind of cell called a Macrophage.
This cell, in turn, traps and destroys foreign substances coursing through the body such as viruses and allergens. It also has an added benefit of keeping the dog active, unlike Benadryl, which sedates them.
- CBD Oil
An extract from the Cannabis plant, CBD oil contains cannabinoids that are reported to be effective against allergic dermatitis. Applied topically, CBD oil can help a dog deal with chronic itching and allergies, while also restoring the luster of the skin.
And the best part is that CBD oil is completely safe for dogs. Dogs that have been administered the oil have suffered nothing similar to what Benadryl brings, although they still do get drowsy after a few hours.
Due to this, CBD Oil can be considered a superior alternative to Benadryl tablets. If you are still nervous about using CBD oil for your dog, you can always consult with a veterinarian to address any concern about dosage and application.