Benadryl For Dogs and Proper Dosage

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Benadryl Dosage for Dogs

As far as Benadryl dosage for dogs, it is always recommended that owners start at the lower end of the dose range and work their way up as needed. This is often referred to as “titrating the medication to effect”. The Benadryl dosage for dogs and cats is 1-2 mg per pound of body weight administered every 8-12 hours as needed. It should be administered orally, approximately one hour prior to a potentially stressful event (a car ride for example).  If you were treating allergies, I would recommend using it twice a day  for a full week to evaluate its efficacy (benefits for your pet).

The most common form of Benadryl is probably the 25mg tablet. (So, just to give you rough guidelines, small dogs would receive 1/4 of a tablet 2-3 times a day. Medium dogs are started on a Benadryl dosage for dogs at 1/2-3/4 of the 25mg tablet. And so on…). As is true of many medications, the animals’ individual body chemistry and genetics will determine its response to a particular drug.

Benadryl dosage chart for dogs

Dogs Arena made a really cool Benadryl dosing chart that you can use to get an idea of how much Benadryl to give your dog.

Please keep in mind that we are not experts in the field of veterinarian medicine and advise you to discuss dosing with your veterinarian before administering to your dog any Benadryl.


Why should I give my dog Benadryl?

Dose My Pet says Benadryl (Diphenhydramine is the name of the drug and often the “name” you will observe on the generic brands) is an effective and safe over-the-counter medication that can be used in pets to help alleviate a wide variety of ailments.  Most often, however, Benadryl is used as a light sedative and to help reduce the severity of allergies in dogs and cats. Furthermore, it is inexpensive, widely available to the general public and, most importantly, has a large “safety margin” which means that cases of toxic overdosing are extremely unlikely. In short, it is safe and effective which are two of the most important considerations when formulating a treatment plan for your pet. Benadryl comes in at least 4 different formulations making administration of the medication to your pet less of a struggle than many other drugs. You can purchase pills, capsules, liquid suspensions, and thin film strips (oral quick dissolve strips).

When should you consider giving your pet Benadryl?

Outside Online suggests owners should be trying Benadryl on dogs when their pet is displaying evidence of mild to moderate allergies, and claims that it can also be used for snake bites! Clinical signs that the owner may report include excessive itching/scratching, sneezing, and red/irritated eyes. Often times, if you look between your dog’s toes, the skin will be red, moist and have a foul odor. Saliva staining is a common finding where excessive licking of paws turns light colored hair into a brown, rusty color.

Itchy pug

It’s important to note that Benadryl is used to treat the signs (consequences or aftermath) of allergies and does NOT address or treat the actual cause of the allergy. A complete physical exam by a qualified veterinarian, and sometimes laboratory tests, are required to identify the actual cause of the problem. Sedation is a common side effect that owners may observe in their pets after they have administered a dose of Benadryl. Veterinarians often use this “side effect” to our advantage.

Benadryl is prescribed quite often for pets that display mild to moderate levels of anxiety/fear. Separation anxiety and fear associated with riding in automobiles are two good examples.

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  1. Mom gives us 1/2 a benadryl in our food sometimes when she sees we’ve been extra itchy and scratchy. Seems to work for us. And it helps us have less restless sleep.

    Lots of licks,
    Swisher and Oakley

    • People who type like you are so annoying, not cute but annoying. You are not your dogs, and your dogs do not use the internet. My god.

      • Our pets are our family and most dog moms get to know what their dogs are trying to tell them so I really don’t see anything wrong when anyone, including myself speak for our babies since they don’t have a voice you would understand. Calm down!!!!

    • I hope Ugh is not a pet owner. What an ugly, miserable person!
      Just ignore the troll everyone and maybe it’ll crawl away…

      Anyway, thanks for the great information in this article! My Rudy is feeling better already and so am I!

  2. Thank you for the information! I have a 69 pound dog who gets pretty bad allergies (Hayfever) in the summer, and I’ve been wondering if I’ve been dosing her enough.

  3. Would benadryl work for excessive panting and left hand head tilt? Comes and last for about an hour. Started after ear infection.

  4. Little ticks burrowing under skin,never filling with blood,hundreds on a Golden Retriever.He doesn’t mind how hard you dig. They feel like mosquito bites. Vet gave him steroids. I give benadryl. It stops rapid breathing and scratching. Soldering iron backs out tick. small as a pinhead.Will give 1 mg per lb for 7 days 3 times daily. How long should his nails be???2 got on me ,I removed before they burrowed and looked like crabs. When removed they leave little white balls. Seen it all in 50 years

  5. Mitizi Sheepherder on

    Hi just a question, I have been told not to use peanut butter or give a dog peanuts. Also no garlic as it is toxic to dogs!
    so what is the truth here? Very interested, thanks for any help.

      • Garlic is safe for dogs and can be used as a flea preventative. They make brewers yeast with garlic for dogs. You just can not give straight garlic cloves in large amounts

  6. when people take benadryl they should chew it to powder. would it be better to crush the benadryl to powder first? Thanks.

  7. I have a 75-80 lb labradoddle who has terrible allergies all year around. I was giving 2 to 3 Benadryl for his issues three times a day. It worked for awhile but, his itching has worsted. So, vet suggested I try zertec. So, I am giving him that and switching him to a all veggie diet.

    We just started juicing so, he will be getting more fresh veggies.

    We will see how things go.

        • Actually, dogs *are* carnivores. Omnivores have flat molars for grinding and pulverizing vegetable matter. Like a bear does. Look in your dog, cat or ferret’s mouth and you will find long, pointed canine teeth for grasping and tearing, and sharp, scissor like teeth to sheer flesh and bone. Simple scientific fact. They also don’t have the enzymes to digest plants and grains. Feed your carnivores as nature intended and they will be healthy with strong immune systems.

    • You seem like a good pet parent! But I want to remind you that your dog needs protein and it is natural for him to require it as a first ingredient in his food. You can get an Limited Ingredient product that is high protein such as Blue Buffalo for Food Sensitivities or look up a home made food with some turkey or fish perhaps. Good luck!

  8. Sheri Czajkowski on

    My Pug Zena has been on the 25mg Benadryl Allergy twice daily for about 8 days and she just licks and licks the air is this a side effect?

    • My pug does that licking air…check their dental..could be pain…also it could be acid reflux. Mine has hiatal hernia and post nasal drip due to allergies i have her on sweet potato and salmon limited ingredient

  9. I would like to know if I can give my dog Eye Allergy Relief {eye drops for humans from CVS} my dog has allergic conjunctivitis.

  10. Vickie Smith on

    I have a Scottie dog that is 12 yrs. old that has developed a snotty nose allergy that actually clogs up her nose, plus the sneezing. She’s had for years the allergy symptoms of her eyes, so I wash them out w/a warm cloth. But the nose allergy has just started. I’m gonna clean her nose the best I can so she can breathe thru it. Will giving her Benadryl help w/the sneezing & running & clogged up (I mean completely clogged up) nose. Her nose holes are blocked completely. Thank you, Vickie

  11. My dog was constantly licking her nose and biting the air. I gave her Benadryl and it worked really well. She is 16lbs and I gave her 12.5mgs. It worked for 6 hours.

  12. I have a Germam Sheppard dog and I noticed she was.itxhing on the ears now.when I bathe her with oatmeal shampoo I moticed her legs middle stomach.and othet.parrs very red and she is . itching should I give her benadryl. Tab

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