In veterinary practice, Benadryl for dogs, cats and other pets is used for allergies, itchy skin, eczema and atopic dermatitis, insect bites, and motion sickness. It is also used to prevent vaccination reactions and to help wounds heal faster (e.g., after a surgery). In some cases, Benadryl is also used for anxiety, insomnia, and nausea in pets.
Just like humans, animals can develop allergies, including seasonal. Allergic itch can make a dog or cat scratch until they create bleeding sores. This in turn can cause a secondary infection. In addition, scratching can become a new obsessive habit for the animal. Benadryl for dogs typically offers fast relief from allergic itching. It acts as a drying agent and counteracts histamines in the animal’s body. Seasonal allergies can make a pet miserable, and Benadryl can help them out fast.
In some cases, a vet will use Benadryl (oral, topical, or injection) together with steroids and/or antibiotics, such as in cases of severe allergies or when infection is present.
It is important that a pet owner identify their pet’s allergen(s) and eliminate it. The most common allergens for dogs are: food (red meat, dairy, poultry, wheat, corn, and soy), fleas, pollen and grass, household chemicals, dust, cigarette smoke, and heat. Benadryl can help with allergies caused by anything I just listed, but only symptomatically. It is important to find out what’s causing your girl or boy to itch and eliminate it.
Anxiety and Insomnia
Dogs can get anxious or hyper when traveling, when they hear loud bangs like fireworks, when they need to be separated from their owners, etc. In order to help them, and for you to be able to control them, your vet may prescribe Benadryl for dogs as a mild sedative.
Nausea and motion sickness during travel can also be helped by the use of Benadryl. Vets will usually advise using the drug 1-2 hours before the trip. Prolonged use can render the calming effect weaker.
Insect bites (such as the irritating and intensely itchy flea bites) can make a dog scratch constantly and cause a secondary infection. Benadryl will help with the itch, while if there is an infection present it may require additional medications.
Vets can prescribe Benadryl for dogs and cats before and after a surgery to speed up the healing process and soothe the animal.
If your pet is miserable due to any of the above or something similar, talk to your vet to find out if Benadryl can help. Your vet will consider the animal’s condition, age, and size and tell you the dosage. Remember to tell your veterinarian of any other meds that you pet is on. If the vet approves Benadryl for your dog, they will tell you the proper dosage to use and how often you should use it during the day to help your little friend.