Is it Safe to Treat Dog Allergies With Benadryl?

spring dog

Spring has officially sprung! Trees that were totally bald a week ago are now completely bloomed out, showering our yards with pollen. If you’ve noticed your dog acting a bit off lately allergies could be to blame. Allergy sufferers of all species are currently experiencing a heyday of symptoms.

Before you reach for an over the counter medicine like Benadryl, here’s what you need to know to keep Spot safe.


Vets typically caution pet owners against using human medications for dogs. However Benadryl, a diphenhydramine based antihistamine, is generally considered a safe treatment option for dogs that experience mild-to-moderate seasonal allergies. It’s also a great way to treat minor itchiness caused by bug bites and other skin allergies. It specifically targets minor irritations associated with allergies of all variety such as:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Itching and hives
  • Runny nose and eyes

Benadryl is also known to cause drowsiness, making it useful for treating dogs with minor anxiety or motion sickness. That’s why vets often prescribe the use of Benadryl for long car and plane rides, especially for animals that don’t travel well.

If your pet is currently having adverse reactions to its heartworm treatment, ask your Veterinarian if diphenhydramine could alleviate a potential allergic reaction.


It’s highly recommended that you consult with your vet to determine the proper dosage for your dog. Generally, a standard dosage ratio is 1 mg per pound. The number of times per day will depend on the severity of the symptom(s). For instance, some dogs with chronic issues may need to receive up to three doses each day. This could shift during different times in the year, so get with your Vet to formulate a plan.

When giving your dog Benadryl, it’s a always good idea to use the children’s formula. Whether you go with a liquid or pill version can change the dosage slightly, so again, consult your vet.

Also remember that it will take about half an hour for Benadryl to make its way through a dog’s system. If using the antihistamine to treat motion sickness, plan accordingly.


The first few times you administer Benadryl, watch your pet closely as any adverse reactions will likely begin to show within the first hour. If you notice any of the following, contact your vet immediately:

  • Dry mouth or over salivation
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing or increased heart rate

Benadryl can also complicate certain chronic conditions like glaucoma, hypertension, seizures and cardiovascular disease. It also won’t alleviate medical conditions such as chronic dry eye or skin diseases.

Tips from the Pros

Is your pup suffering from seasonal allergies? Try these other tips from Veterinarians to get your best friend back to normal! Want to submit your tip for treating dog allergies? Send us your tip here and we will include it with a link back to your site!

Clean the Carpets, Rugs and other Dust!

Dust and other allergens can cause irritation in your pup’s eyes and throat. The carpet and rugs in your house are common areas of build up, try dusting and vacuuming and watch if symptoms improve!


Consult your Vet before giving Benadryl to dogs who are pregnant or nursing.

In the end, Benadryl is one of the rare human medications that most Veterinarians feel is safe for canine consumption. It’s also effective at helping relieve some common allergies that can impact your furry friend. Always use in accordance with a professional’s recommendation and direct any questions to your Vet’s office.

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