Benadryl for Pets: Is It Safe

By August 7, 2017Blog
pet allergies

Allergies can be incredibly uncomfortable for anyone to experience, whether they are mild, moderate or severe. From itchy eyes and a scratchy throat to a runny nose and difficulty breathing, allergies can complicate your life and make it hard to function well. Whether you have to cope with allergies on a regular basis, during seasonal changes or only occasionally when exposed to specific allergens, you become familiar with how allergies affect you and what you can do in order to deal with them. But have you ever thought about your pet?

Pet Allergies

Pets, like humans, can suffer from allergies, although their symptoms can vary widely from our own and are therefore often misinterpreted and ignored. Since pets cannot easily communicate their discomfort or their symptoms to their owner, they must rely on their owner to first notice that they are having a problem, and then to do something effective about it. Unfortunately, pets are usually masters at disguising their pain and discomfort, and may actually be in quite some distress before their symptoms become obvious to their owner. This is why knowing and keeping an eye out for the most common pet allergy symptoms is important. To that end, some of the more obvious pet allergy symptoms include skin inflammation or irritation that leads to hair loss, hot spots, scabbing and open sores, as well as ear infections, watery eyes, excessive sneezing, runny nose, and other similar symptoms.

When considering how to deal with pet allergies, your main concern is likely to be how to alleviate your pet’s discomfort while also keeping them safe and healthy. This means that while using Benadryl to treat your pet’s allergies may work wonderfully to handle their main symptoms, you have a right and a responsibility to make sure that it is a safe choice for your pet. Consider the following points:

  • Benadryl is an over-the-counter medication that many veterinarians recommend to pet owners as a way to safely and effectively address their pet’s allergy symptoms.
  • Benadryl is an antihistamine which works to alleviate allergy symptoms by blocking H-1 receptors.
  • Benadryl is often highly effective in treating environmental allergies, reactions to insect bites or stings, and even some cases of motion sickness.
  • Benadryl is dangerous to use for pets who suffer from glaucoma, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.
  • Benadryl doses are related to a pet’s body weight, with about 1 mg of Benadryl given for each pound of body weight, up to three times a day.
  • Benadryl that is purchased over-the-counter can sometimes contain other medications that may be extremely harmful to pets, so when using this over-the-counter medication, it is vital to ensure it is pure diphenhydramine (the active ingredient).

In short, Benadryl can be a safe and effective way to treat a pet’s allergy symptoms in most cases. However, a pet owner should be prudent and ensure that their pet is seen by the veterinarian prior to administering Benadryl–or any other medication–to their pet. Not only will this serve to ensure that the pet is indeed suffering from allergies and not some other medical condition that needs to be treated, it will ensure that the pet has no major health or medical conditions that can be exacerbated by Benadryl use. Furthermore, there are some cases where a pet’s allergies are so severe that they need more aggressive medical treatment, such as in the case of acute allergic reactions that are accompanied by facial swelling or respiratory difficulties. If this occurs, one should always contact their veterinarian immediately and follow their directions precisely. Of course, when it comes to the health and welfare of our pets it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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