Benadryl for Dogs: The Dangers and Natural Alternatives

Benadryl for Dogs

Benadryl for dogs is a commonly provided over-the-counter medication. Perhaps you do too. Almost anything can benefit from it, according to conventional veterinarians. Your veterinarian will probably recommend Benadryl if you ask him about allergies, nervousness, motion sickness, or reverse sneezing.

Many dog owners consider Benadryl to be a quick treatment for a variety of issues. On social media, you’ll see folks saying “give her Benadryl.” It might be used for a dog who experiences hives, separation anxiety, or thunder phobia. Benadryl just covers the issue briefly, which is the issue. And it’s dangerous.

The History Of Benadryl

Benadryl’s a brand name for the drug diphenhydramine hydrochloride, or DH.

Benadryl was created in 1943 by Dr. George Rieveschl, a chemical engineer. He worked for Parke-Davis, a drug manufacturer that is now a division of Pfizer. It received FDA approval as the initial prescription antihistamine in 1946.

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Benadryl or Diphenhydramine

DH is offered under numerous generic brand names as well. The primary action of diphenhydramine is as an antihistamine. Additionally, it has sedative and anticholinergic (drying) properties. Many additional over-the-counter medications contain DH due to its sedative properties. 

What Antihistamines Do

Antihistamines work to counteract the effects of histamine, as their name suggests. The body produces histamine naturally. But, it’s important to keep in mind that histamines aren’t always bad.

Histamine has several useful roles in the body:

  • It’s a chemical messenger for the nervous system.
  • It aids in the digestive process.
  • As a component of the body’s immune response to infections, it aids in blood vessel dilation.

However, an excess of histamine can cause allergic reactions, food sensitivities, and other problems. Capillaries may be harmed by histamines. As a result, blood plasma can seep into bodily tissues. and causes inflammation, redness, and itching.

Therefore, antihistamines that inhibit the body’s histamine receptors are prescribed by veterinarians and doctors. DH selectively blocks brain H1 receptors, just like other first-generation antihistamines. But that can lead to issues. It is not a wise long-term strategy to suppress the body’s natural healing response. 

Healing Naturally

Your dog’s symptoms are a sign of healing on your dog’s part. So when veterinarians notice symptoms like hives, sneezing, or itching, they administer Benadryl. And the issue appears to be resolved. Unfortunately, treating the symptoms does not solve the underlying issue. There is still the underlying illness that is generating the itching. As a result, the itching will persist. Eventually, your veterinarian will also recommend antibiotics or steroids.

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But your dog still has the ongoing problem, even with the antibiotics, steroids, and Benadryl. It’s like putting a band-aid over the problem instead of addressing the root of it.

Suppressing symptoms can worsen the condition, which is another issue. Then, occasionally, it returns in a graver form. The illness has since become chronic.

Many dogs have been treated with “anti-” medications, according to holistic veterinarians. Many of them develop complications like epilepsy, psychological problems, or even cancer. Benadryl doesn’t treat anything, therefore that is one drawback of using it. For a while, it merely masks the symptoms.

The Side Effects Of Benadryl

Benadryl could appear to be a risk-free choice. However, there is a significant list of potential adverse effects. They have received a warning from the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. A 2019 position paper on Benadryl was released by the organization. Due to the significant danger of negative effects and overdose, they cautioned against using the medicine.

They listed a number of unacceptably severe and maybe fatal side effects. Antihistamine medications can pass the blood-brain barrier, they said. Furthermore, they warn that it may cause severe CNS suppression and toxicity, which could result in psychomotor impairment, coma, and even death. That’s a little frightful. The list of negative consequences is also the same. Long-term drug usage causes some of the most severe clinical signs, including:

  • Dryness of mouth, nose and throat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cognitive issues, confusion, dementia
  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness
  • Depression
  • Trembling
  • Chemical dependence
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Can mask symptoms of gastrointestinal problems

Benadryl Overdose

Don’t wing the dosage if you do provide Benadryl. To determine how much to give, consult your veterinarian because a dog overdose on Benadryl can be quite harmful. There is little room for error when administering Benadryl for dogs, but overdosing can be detrimental.

If you give your dog too much Benadryl, you may see serious symptoms including:

  • Red eyes or dilated pupils
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Aggression
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Lack of coordination, inability to walk
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Delirium

Bring your dog to the emergency clinic if you notice any of the signs above. 

Dogs Who Shouldn’t Take Benadryl

Dogs with these conditions should never take Benadryl:

Always consult your vet about interactions with other medications your dog may be on and do some research yourself. For instance, Benadryl and anxiety drugs don’t mix well.

Natural Alternatives to Benadryl

Fortunately, there are natural alternatives available to help your dog with various ailments in place of Benadryl.

Allergies And Skin Problems

Allergies can be challenging. You must identify the root of the problem if your dog has an allergy-related issue of any kind. Your dog may have:

The root of the problem may be:

  • Their current diet (especially if it’s kibble-based)
  • Medication
  • Pesticides or herbicides
  • Vaccination
  • Yeast infection
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Environmental toxins
  • Autoimmune disease

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it may help get you started.

You’ll need to conduct some research. To solve the issue, you might require the assistance of a holistic veterinarian. If you want to stay on the natural route, you may want to avoid asking a traditional veterinarian.  They will probably recommend suppressive medications. Benadryl, Apoquel, Cytopoint, antibiotics, and steroids are a few examples.

Once you have determined the root of the issue, you can start to make changes that will help your dog.

Instead of traditional pharmaceuticals, you can try some natural remedies including:

Colostrum

Early milk from a mother contains colostrum, which aids in the development of the baby’s immune system. Additionally, it might support your dog’s immune system in fighting allergies. Allergies to the environment and the changing seasons respond well to colostrum. Give your dog two doses per day of 1/3 tsp. of powdered colostrum for every 25 pounds of body weight or follow the directions on the product you choose.

Quercetin

Consider using quercetin as a Benadryl substitute. Quercetin is frequently referred to as “Nature’s Benadryl.”  It can prevent the body from releasing histamines, which is why it’s often recommended for dogs with allergies. Foods like berries and apples naturally contain quercetin (especially with the skin on). A health food store may also sell quercetin supplements. Per 10 pounds of body weight, give your dog 80 milligrams of quercetin powder.

Medicinal Mushrooms

Another food that might strengthen your dog’s immune system is mushrooms. The primary therapeutic component, beta-glucan, is the reason behind many of the therapeutic benefits. Beta-glucans alter some immune cells, assisting in the reduction of inflammation and allergic reactions. Other immune cells that aid in the removal of harmful substances from the body are stimulated by it.

Mushrooms with the highest beta-glucan content include the following:

If you give your dog whole mushrooms, be sure to cook them. Raw mushrooms aren’t digested well by your dog’s body. 

You may also want to considering purchasing a mushroom supplement for a concentrated dose of beta-glucans.

Natural Alternatives To Benadryl For Anxiety

Regardless of what is causing your dog’s anxiety, a traditional veterinarian will often recommend Benadryl for your dog due to its actions as a sedative.

Instead, think about offering one of the many all-natural anxiety remedies. Herbs, flower essences, essential oils, and homeopathy are just a few of the alternatives. However, CBD oil is one of the best treatments for your dog’s anxiety, regardless of the underlying cause.

CBD Oil For Anxiety

CBD oil comes from the hemp plant. It has similar calming effects to marijuana but without the THC that would produce a high. A full-spectrum product does contain a minute amount of THC to produce the Entourage Effect, but that is included to react with the other compounds in the product, and won’t produce a high in your dog.

Additionally, recent research suggests that CBD possesses anti-anxiety or anxiolytic properties. The most frequent adverse effect of giving CBD oil to your dog is that he can become drowsy. Get a CBD oil that is organic, full spectrum, and contains all the cannabinoids you need: CBD, CBA, CBC, CBN, and CBG. For the “entourage effect,” these elements function in concert.

… and, your dog won’t overdose even if you give too much.

Mast Cell Tumors and Benadryl for Dogs

Dogs with mast cell tumors are frequently given Benadryl by conventional vets (MCTs)  because MCTs cause the body to produce too much histamine. Benadryl can aid in regulating the reaction. But once more, that’s merely a band-aid that prevents your dog’s innate ability to heal.

Canine herbalist Rita Hogan recommends several herbal treatments for your dog’s Mast Cell Tumor. These include: 

Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing is difficult to describe. However, if you see your dog do it, you might find it rather ominous. It isn’t actually a sneeze. but rather a sequence of jerky breaths. Your dog might snort or guffaw occasionally. He can appear dejected and droop his head low. Traditional veterinarians consider backwards sneezing to be an allergic reaction. To assist halt the spasms, they frequently advise rubbing your dog’s throat. To force your dog to swallow, they also advise covering the nose.

Additionally, they’ll advise you to give your dog Benadryl to prevent the opposite reaction from sneezing. But once more, Benadryl just masks the symptoms. It doesn’t solve the issue. Although reverse sneezing is frequently a chronic illness, several different causes might cause it.

Homeopathic veterinarians are aware that excessive rabies immunization frequently causes reverse sneezing. Vaccine-induced rabies frequently exhibits symptoms. Animals that are rabid may have throat spasms or jerky breathing. It manifests as reverse sneezing in dogs with rabies vaccination. It is quite typical in brachycephalic dogs and toy breeds alike. However, other breeds also do it. 

It’s recommended to speak with a homeopathic veterinarian about reversal sneezing. He will examine your dog’s symptoms and provide the best constitutional treatment.

Read more:

Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa

Quercetin Food Sources

George Rieveschl

CSACI position statement: Newer generation H1-antihistamines are safer than first-generation H1-antihistamines and should be the first-line antihistamines for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and urticaria

Natural Approach to Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs

Vaccine-induced rabies infection in rural dogs in Anambra State, Nigeria

Published by AmberLDrake

Dr. Drake is an award-winning author and well-known cancer specialist in her field. She is best known for her extensive research on canine cancer prevention and nutrition, her dedication to help dogs live a long, happy life, and for teaching veterinary medicine. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, in addition to being a respected figure in the dog world, she has earned the respect of thousands of dog lovers worldwide.

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