Can Benadryl Help Dogs With Anxiety?

Dogs are prone to getting anxious due to temporary causes, such as fireworks or guests, and long-term ones, like separation from their owners. 

Whenever that happens, you may try to administer them the same meds as you take – with good intentions, of course – but are they safe for your pet? One of these medicines is Benadryl – an over-the-counter allergy drug for humans. 

However, it is also useful for dogs with seasonal or occasional allergies. Additionally, it may also act as a sedative, although the effects are not as pronounced as its anti-allergy impact. 

The dual benefit of Benadryl is due to the presence of diphenhydramine, an antihistamine that lowers inflammation and relieves allergy symptoms. Plus, it may act as an effective sleep aid. 

But is Benadryl safe for curing dog anxiety? We’ll discuss this among other concerns in this article. 

What Is Benadryl? 

Benadryl is an antihistamine that effectively relieves allergy symptoms caused due to insect bites, vaccine reactions, and environmental factors. 

It’s important to note that Benadryl is a human medication, but you can administer it to your dog after consulting with your veterinarian. 

Another thing to note is that Benadryl is merely the brand name and not the actual component of the drug. You can find antihistamine drugs under different brand names too. 

Likewise, Benadryl makes other drugs that you should not give your pet under any circumstances. 

When using Benadryl from your medicine cabinet to treat your dog, read the ingredients first. If it contains diphenhydramine, it’s safe for your little buddy. However, you shouldn’t expose your dogs to pseudoephedrine, acetaminophen, and cetirizine as they’re not safe for canines. 

Is Benadryl Useful For Curing Dog Anxiety?

Although Benadryl is most commonly used for allergies, you can also give it to lower your pet’s anxiety. However, it’s important to talk to a vet beforehand. 

Also, the drug’s anti-anxiety effects aren’t as pronounced as its impact on vaccine reactions and allergies. 

If your vet allows it, you can use Benadryl to help your pet during car or plane rides. Additionally, if your canine friend gets anxious due to thunderstorms or experiences separation anxiety, you can administer Benadryl according to the vet’s recommendation. 

How Much Benadryl Is Enough For Curing Dog Anxiety?

Although vet approval is recommended, if you ever have to figure out the Benadryl dose yourself, stick to 2mg to 3mg of the drug for every kg of your dog’s weight. 

Some experts suggest starting with 1mg per pound of the canine’s weight and only increasing if needed. 

Usually, one pill of Benadryl has 25mg of the compound. So, if you have a 25-pound dog, you should only give them a single pill. 

Also, Benadryl’s pills form is much better and safer as the liquid formulation often has alcohol, which is hazardous to your dog

Most dogs also dislike the taste of the liquid form, so it’s better to stick to tablets as you won’t have to measure the dose either. 

Additionally, you can look for a kids’ formula for smaller dogs as it has fewer active ingredients. Alternatively, you can use a topical for treating your dog’s allergies and anxiety. 

Only give your dog one pill of Benadryl in an eight-hour duration. If you administer too much of the drug, it will stop being effective over time. 

Typically, the drug takes about half an hour to kick in, so you should soon see the results. 

Side Effects of Benadryl

After administering Benadryl to your pet, keep an eye on them for the next hour. If you notice any unexpected behavior, talk to your vet immediately. Here are some side effects to look for: 

  • Seizures
  • Urinary retention 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sedation 
  • Increased appetite 
  • Diarrhea 

Alternative Medications for Dog Anxiety 

If you don’t want to use Benadryl for curing dog anxiety, here are some other drugs that can have similar effects. 

  • L-Tryptophan: It’s an amino acid that helps both humans and their pets. Besides easing anxiety, it may also aid against aggression. Make sure you talk to a vet before giving L-Tryptophan to your dog. 
  • Lorazepam: If you’re expecting an anxiety-inducing event, like New Years’ fireworks or a plane ride, administer this drug to your dog beforehand to prevent anxiety. 
  • Valium: Also known as Diazepam, the drug helps against stress, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle cramps, and seizures. 
  • DAP: Dog-appeasing pheromones are an over-the-counter treatment that induces relaxation and helps relieve anxiety in dogs. They’re available as collars, sprays, and diffusers. 

How to Help a Dog With Anxiety Without Medication?

You don’t always have to use drugs for curing dog anxiety – some behavioral changes can help too. 

If your pup gets anxious due to thunderstorms, you can try using dog head halters or anxiety vests. They help calm your dog while reducing static. 

Additionally, a sound machine could be a helpful tool against anxiety, especially for dogs going through separation anxiety. Instead of using a loud music source, stick to tunes with constant rhythms, such as drum beats. 

If you don’t have a white noise machine at home, download a white noise app to prevent noise-induced anxiety in pets. 

Some canines tend to get anxious before a grooming session. If your dog has a similar problem, the following tips can lower their anxiety: 

  • Take your dog for a walk before going to the groomer. It will help them let go of the nervous energy. 
  • Instead of going to a different groomer each time, stick to one professional. Once your dog gets comfortable with someone, he won’t be anxious before an appointment. 

Conclusion

As a dog parent, you obviously don’t want to see your pet anxious or uncomfortable. However, that’s no reason to give them one of your anti-anxiety pills since they can be harmful to your pet’s health. 

Instead, it’s advised to talk to a vet before using any drug, even Benadryl. Also, look out for side effects and ask for professional help in case you notice anything unusual. 

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