Pet parents need to ensure that dogs receive timely treatment and the best treatment to offer relief from various conditions. All pets are vulnerable to possible health issues that may crop up from time to time, and it is the responsibility of pet parents to safeguard their pets. One of the common problems that may be frequently encountered is possible cough and allergic conditions. Benadryl is one of the more commonly used, go-to medication used for various reasons. However, many are unaware of the dosage and the common question on the minds of pet parents is – how much Benadryl can I give my dog? Following subsections offer the right answers to the question and will help pet parents deal with conditions more effectively.

What does Benadryl treat in dogs? 

Belonging to the category of antihistamines, Benadryl contains diphenhydramine, and is used in the treatment of multiple conditions in pets. This includes allergic respiratory conditions, common cough, and allergy induced itching similar to humans. It is used to sedate the pet mildly, for one of various reasons. This could be to calm the pet, or ensure that the pet takes rest when it is overactive or hyperactive. The medication is known to exert a soothing influence and this makes it effective when the pet is under stress. Benadryl is also used to treat eye allergies that may afflict pets either due to seasonal allergens or substances in the environment.

Pets that are known to exhibit behavior that is consistent with insomnia can also be treated with Benadryl to help the pet fall asleep easily. Similar to humans, pets are also known to have motion sickness and this can be managed with the right dosage of Benadryl during travelling. This will also help manage nausea that a pet may experience during travelling. It is to be borne in mind, that use of Benadryl for pets is actually an off-label use, as it is approved for use only in pets. Studies are yet to be performed till date to receive formal approval for use in pets.

How does Benadryl work?

To understand the effects of Benadryl on pets and the reason to stick to the right dosage, it is important to learn all about the mechanism of action of the medication. The antihistamine works through what is known as antagonism of Histamine 1 receptors. These receptors are located on the respiratory smooth muscles, apart from the gastrointestinal tract, immune cells, and neurons in the central nervous system. The stimulation of this receptor triggers various actions that result in cough, and other allergic responses.  The medication works by reversing or preventing this action, and importantly, it moves across the blood-brain barrier, where the effects on the CNS receptors are known to impact coughing action. The effect on the CNS receptors is also responsible for causing the sedative action. Benadryl is also known to have anesthetic properties, by virtue of being an intracellular sodium channel blocker.

What is the dosage of Benadryl for dogs?

With the overview of the medication behind us, it is time to look at the ideal dosage of Benadryl for pets. Typically, Benadryl is to be given in a dosage anywhere between 2 to 4 mg for every kilogram of body weight. This may be given thrice a day depending on the condition. This is only a broad reference and the actual dosage will depend on various conditions and as determined by the vet, to prevent any possible side effects.

The answer to the question how much Benadryl can I give my dog? will not be complete without an understanding of the slight adjustment in dosage, depending on the form of the medication. For instance, if Benadryl is given as a tablet, the dosage could be 2 to 4 mg, depending on the condition, for every kilogram of weight. When the formulation is children’s liquid type, the dosage has to be adjusted accordingly. For every kilogram of body weight of the pet, the ideal liquid dosage is around 0.8 ml. In other words, the liquid dosage is to be lesser than the tablet strength.

Prior to putting the pet on a course (even if it is a very short course), it is essential to confirm that the pet does not suffer from any serious conditions that may make Benadryl contraindicate. For instance, it is not to be used if the pet is diagnosed with urinary retention, or has issues in the eyes, such as glaucoma. Pets that have a history of hyperthyroidism are also not to be given Benadryl.

What kind of Benadryl is safe for dogs?

Benadryl is available in tablet form and is available in strengths of 25mg and 50mg.  Benadryl is also available in liquid form, but it is important to note that the liquid form of Benadryl contains alcohol and this is toxic for a pet. There it is of utmost importance to bear in mind that only the tablet form of Benadryl is to be given to dogs. However, in the event of a need to only give liquid form to a pet, the children’s formulation of Benadryl may be given to pets. This is suitable, as it does not contain alcohol and is also known to contain lesser dosage, which makes it safe for pets.

Benadryl is also available as a spray, and this is used during emergencies, for instance, if the pet has been bitten by an insect, or if there is an onset of rashes. A note of caution when using Benadryl spray – it may cause a stinging sensation if it is sprayed on any open wounds of the pet. The raw skin may experience discomfort from the spray. A topical formulation of Benadryl is also available, and this can be applied directly on the area that is itching in a pet. When using the topical application (cream/gel), the use is to be restricted to a limited period, as extended use can result in possible irritation in a pet. In such circumstances, it may then be necessary to put the pet on antibiotics. The best way to prevent this from occurring, is to keep use of topical applications to a short period. Injections are administered when the pet is diagnosed with severe allergies.

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