Occasionally, our dogs may experience symptoms like skin rashes, itching, or even motion sickness, which leads many pet owners to wonder: Can I give my dog Benadryl? The answer is yes, but it’s important to understand the appropriate dosage, potential risks, and alternatives to ensure the safety and well-being of your dog.
Benadryl Dosage for Dogs
Benadryl is an antihistamine that effectively eases allergy symptoms in both humans and animals. Additionally, it can be given to alleviate motion sickness in dogs, particularly during long-distance transportation.
The dosage given depends on their weight. The recommended dosage is to give 2 to 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
The active ingredient in this pack of BENADRYL® Allergy Relief is 8 mg of acrivastine in each capsule. Other ingredients are Lactose, sodium starch glycollate, magnesium stearate, gelatin, colouring (E171) and purified water.
Ensuring accurate dosage is essential since most Benadryl tablets are formulated for human use, and dogs metabolize Benadryl differently. Notably, smaller dogs require a lower dosage compared to what a human would take.
Guidelines for Using Human Benadryl
Although it is recommended to use vet-approved Benadryl tablets, there are instances where human tablets can be used. However, several factors should be considered in such cases:
When administering medications to your dog, avoid those containing decongestants or alcohol, as these substances can be toxic to them. Stick to medications containing only diphenhydramine and no other active ingredients.
Furthermore, never give your dog time-released drug capsules, as they can overdose if they bite the capsule and receive the entire dose at once, which is designed for humans.
For small dogs, consider using children’s Benadryl rather than adult Benadryl, as it allows for more precise dosage adjustments.
If you opt for liquid Benadryl instead of tablets, it’s essential to consult your dog’s vet to ensure the correct dosage, as the liquid medication is absorbed differently.
Alternatives to Benadryl for Dogs
If your dog does not respond well to Benadryl but requires ongoing allergy treatment, there are alternative options available. Both cetirizine (Zyrtec) and loratadine (Claritin) are deemed safe for dogs when administered in the correct dosage. However, it’s important to note that these medications are often combined with other ingredients, such as decongestants, which could be harmful to your dog. Therefore, it is best to seek advice from your veterinarian before introducing any new medication to your dog.
During an emergency, it is imperative to contact your vet as the first course of action. Your dog could potentially experience anaphylactic shock either from their allergies or, in rare instances, from the use of Benadryl itself. If your dog exhibits symptoms such as seizures, vomiting, diarrhoea, swelling, or difficulty breathing, don’t hesitate to call the vet immediately. These signs may indicate a severe allergic reaction requiring prompt and immediate treatment.
Remember, our pets rely on us to make the best decisions for their health. When in doubt, always choose to consult with your vet first.