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Can I Give My Dog Benadryl ? | Guidelines & Dosage

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In the United States, Almost all of us have “Benadryl” in our first aid kit to treat the allergies and variety of other symptoms. We know it’s safe. So at times, we also share some of our Benadryl with our beloved pets. However, the questions like, “Can I give my dog Benadryl, is Benadryl safe for dogs” arise in every pet owner’s mind every now and then due to the fact that these meds are not exclusively made for dogs.

Fret not! We tell you everything you need to know about the Benadryl stuff. We love dogs as much as you do. That’ s the reason why we crafted guide with extreme care. As every section contains important information, we recommend you to not to skip any part of this guide. Start reading now.

Benadryl For Dogs

Benadryl is not the name of the drug that is used for treating dog allergies. It’s a brand name and it’s often to denote the formulation called diphenhydramine. Though it is made for humans, it is completely safe for the pet animals. Besides to diphenhydramine, Benadryl designed for humans also comes in other formulations like acetaminophen or pseudoephedrine which are identified as toxic to our pet animals.

What Is Benadryl and How It Works?

Benadryl a.k.a. diphenhydramine is an antihistamine. When something goes wrong with the body, the chemical known as histamine is produced as a part of the local immune response. This chemical is responsible for creating allergic reactions like itching and swelling. The diphenhydramine found in the Benadryl signals the brain to block the Histamine H1 receptor. As a result, it stops the histamine from triggering the alarming symptoms.

The “how to procedure” described here is applicable for both humans and dogs. However, Benadryl for dogs is not yet been approved by the FDA but still, it is prescribed by most of the Vets just because of its harmless nature.

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl? 

benadryl for dogs

Yes. You can but be careful with its formulation and dosage. Benadryl containing active ingredients like diphenhydramine or cetirizine are safe for use on dogs.

Cetirizine formulations are used to treat the itchiness and dermatitis. Whereas Diphenhydramine is used to treat symptoms like insect stings, bites, swelling, motion sickness, congestion, coughing, and sneezing.

If you want to purchase 100% pure dog formulation of Diphenhydramine (Generic Benadryl, you can get it from 1800petmeds.Com. It is one of the renowned pet medicine stores online.

Which Form Of Benadryl Should You Avoid?

Some of the Benadryl formulations contain active ingredients like Acetaminophen and Pseudoephedrine. Though these are perfectly safe for humans, these are known to create adverse effects in our dog’s respiratory systems.

Also stay away from the type of Benadryl that contain Acrivastine
 as active ingredient because most of the formulations containing Acrivastine
also contain pseudoephedrine. These are potentially dangerous to our pet animals on high doses.


Diphenhydramine, Cetirizine      


no Acetaminophen, Pseudoephedrine, Mixed Combinations

We insist again, before sharing some of your Benadryl with your pet please ensure that it contains only Diphenhydramine or cetirizine as its active ingredients. In some countries like the United Kingdom, Benadryl products contain only cetirizine as the main active ingredient. Diphenhydramine is no longer in use. However, these ingredients can’t be used as alternatives. Each one of them has its own purpose to serve.

Read the packaging carefully and find out which ingredients are used in the formulation. Apart from Benadryl, there are many Diphenhydramine meds are out there that can help relieve the variety of symptoms in pet animals.  We suggest you to talk with your vet and get a prescription formulation that is designed especially for dogs.

What Is Benadryl Used For?

There are many situations in which you can use Benadryl for dogs. The most common usage is for treating allergies.

Here is a complete list of symptoms that can be successfully treated with Benadryl diphenhydramine.

  • Insect Stings
  • Bites
  • Vaccine reactions
  • Skin Allergies like hives and rashes
  • runny nose and other common cold symptoms
  • Reactions to blood transfusions
  • itchiness
  • Travel anxiety

Here is a complete list of symptoms that can be successfully treated with Benadryl Cetirizine.

  • eosinophilic inflammation
  • itchiness
  • dermatitis

Benadryl products cannot be used to cure the brain or other tumors but it can be used to administer the dangerous effects caused by the excess release of histamine in the body.

If your dog is suffering from excess stomach acid, giving Benadryl to your dog will help relieve the symptoms like loss of appetite. Remember it is just a temporary solution like first aid. Seek a professional to get proper relief.

When Should You Not Use Benadryl For Dogs?

Do not use Diphenhydramine to treat dermatitis. It will not be an effective treatment. For dermatitis, consider using cetirizine or Zyrtec. If you are not very sure about which OTC to use, having a discussion with your vet that will help you discover other options as well.

Do not give Benadryl to your dog to treat general anxiety. For such conditions, you can use Anxietrex or other natural remedies that assure 0 side effects. You can directly squirt this liquid into your dog’s mouth or you can give him with a mix of water.  Watch him to stay calm and fix up an appointment with your vet immediately. This medication is completely safe for dogs of all age groups.

Do not use Benadryl, if your dog has the following pre medical conditions because Benadryl can interact with the drugs given for these diseases.

  • Glaucoma
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stomach Ulcer

Benadryl can’t be used with the pregnant or nursing dog.

Benadryl Dosage For Dogs: diphenhydramine

It is not recommended to decide the dosage level by yourself without consulting your veterinarian. Because he is the only person who can provide the dosage recommendations based on your dog’s age, breed current condition and the previous medical history (If any). Check with him once so you can repeat the same dosage when next time your dog comes up with the same situation.

Benadryl hydramine comes in 3 different forms

  • Tablet (25 mg)
  • Liqui-Gels (25 mg)
  • Syrup (100 ml)

The dosage level described below is for Benadryl tablets and Liqui-gels that contain diphenhydramine as the main ingredient.

benadryl for dogs dosage

 Active Ingredient: diphenhydramine

We assumed that your dog is healthy and not taking any medicines that could contract with Benadryl.

The general recommendation of Benadryl dose for dogs is 1mg/lb. You can repeat this dosage once in every 8 to 12 hours. Approximately, 2 to 3 times a day. This dosage can be adjusted by a vet based on your dog’s age and its condition. Sometimes even it can be doubled like 2 mg / 1 lb based on the demanding situation your dog goes through. But again, it should only be determined by your vet.

The table below shows the recommended dosage for Benadryl diphenhydramine. 

Weight Of The Dog (lb) Max Dosage in Mg (8 hr) Max Dosage in Ml (8 hr)
1 1 0.4
5 5 2
10 10 4
15 15 6
20 20 8
25 25 10
50 50 20
100 100 40
150 150 60

 Benadryl For Small Dogs

Benadryl tablets come in 2 different tablet forms 25 mg and 50 mg. If you have a small dog like Yorkshire Terrier which weighs around 6 to 7 pounds, it will become impossible to divide the pill into pieces. So to avoid the complications, it is often recommended to use the Benadryl’s children’s formula. There is another reason behind this recommendation, Children’s Benadryl is designed to be free from dyes and alcohol in their formulation. These are much safer than the adult versions.

If you decide to give Benadryl to a dog in liquid form make sure that you are dosing 0.4 Ml per 1 Pound. If your dog’s weight is 10 lbs then the Benadryl dosage should be 4 Ml (10*0.4). You can repeat the dosage up to 3 times a day in every 8-hour interval.

To measure it more accurately, you can use either an eye dropper or syringe without a needle.

Benadryl For Dogs Dosage: Cetirizine

If you have to use Benadryl to treat dermatitis in dogs, find a formulation that contains Cetirizine as an active ingredient.  You can regulate the dosage as in the table below. You should dose your dog with Cetirizine only once per day.


benadryl for dogs

                       Active Ingredient : Cetirizine


Weight Of The Dog Dosage of Benadryl Cetirizine(day)
0 – 15 lbs 5 mg (½ tablet)
16 – 39 lbs 10 mg (1 tablet)
40 lbs + 15 mg (1½ tablets)

 How Long Does Benadryl Take To Work? 

Once Benadryl enters into the body either in a pill form or in a liquid form, it will not take more than 30 minutes to start reacting. So if you plan to give Benadryl to your dog to treat travel anxiety, dose your dog with Benadryl half an hour before the journey schedule. Since liquids can reach out the bloodstream faster than the tablets or capsules, to fasten up the recovery, it is suggested to use the liquid form.

Side Effects Of Benadryl For Dogs

 You asked can I give my dog Benadryl and we said “yes”. There is no denial. However, dogs that receive diphenhydramine or Benadryl may or may not exhibit some side effects. But you don’t need to worry about it much. 

Most Common Side Effects 

  • Drowsiness
  • Drooling
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Decreased Urination
  • Excitability
  • Sluggish Reactions
  • Dry Mouth
  • Faster Heart Rate

Rare Side Effects (Medical Attention Needed)

  • Allergic Reactions
  • Depression
  • Vomiting

Side effects are usually starting to arise within 30 mins of taking the medication. These will usually be mild and will go away on its own. If your dog seems to be depressed or exhibits serious symptoms like vomiting, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Benadryl Overdose : Symptoms & Required Actions

Though Benadryl is often recommended by the vets themselves for treating allergies and sort of other conditions, overdosage could land your dog in some serious trouble. Pet owners will never overdose their pet intentionally but the incidents of an overdose do happen. We all know that our pets will show a keen interest in the things that should not to. We know the story of a young Labrador retriever who ate Benadryl 16 times more than the safety margin. This lab has survived the overdose with on-time hospitalization. So if your naughty pet drinks up or ate the excess Benadryl without your knowledge and shows up the following symptoms, act up quickly so you can save his life from the consequences.

Symptoms of Benadryl overdosage for dogs can vary from moderate to severe.

  • Rapid irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Agitation
  • High Blood pressure
  • Excessive Sleepiness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • High temperature

High blood pressure occurred due to the overdosage may make your dog end up with circling or seizures. So watch out your dog’s behavior closely. If you suspect an overdose with Benadryl for dogs, reach out the “ASPCA animal poison control” hotline (888) 426-4435 or contact your veterinarian immediately.

Hope we have given the contended information for your query “Can I Give My Dog Benadryl“. Tell us have you ever been used Benadryl for dogs? If so, How it worked?



  1. Gail Towslee January 2, 2018

    Can cats take benedryl?

  2. Lisa Williams January 3, 2018

    yes, cats can take Benadryl. Make sure to give them the Diphenhydramine formation.

  3. Kathy S March 24, 2020

    Can I give my dog a liquid gel capsule?? I just need a yes or no answer please… thank you


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