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Benadryl for dogs

Species: Dog
Breed: Golden Retriever
Age: 1-2 years
How much Benadryl can I give my dog? I think he is having an allergic reaction to a bee sting. He was outside this afternoon and now his face is quite swollen.

If this is ok, what is the dosage of Benadryl that I can give him? Also, is it safe to do so?

I'm not sure if I should go to the vet's right away. They are closed today and it will cost a lot for an emergency.

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Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that your dog is possibly having an allergic reaction!

Benadryl is generally safe to give to dogs. The dosage of Benadryl to give is 1 mg per pound. Most Benadryl tablets are 25 mg so you would give 1 tablet to a 25 lb dog or 2 to a 50 lb dog. It will last for about 8 hours.

The dosage of Benadryl tends to be a lot higher for dogs when compared to humans. People often want to give liquid children's Benadryl to dogs, but this is often not enough.

There are not many side effects when giving Benadryl to dogs but some dogs can get a little sedated.

Benadryl is an antihistamine and if this truly is an allergic reaction to a bee sting then you should notice it helping within 10-20 minutes. However, there are other things that can cause a swollen face. Something like a tooth abscess could do this as well, but this is less likely.

Some allergic reactions can be more severe and need more than Benadryl. In some cases the vet will need to give an injection of steroid, antihistamine, or even epinephrine.

If a dog has an allergic reaction, here are some of the things which would make me want to take him in to the vet:
  • Extreme discomfort

  • Any difficulty breathing

  • A blue discoloration on the gums or face

  • If things are not improving within 30 minutes



As always, trust your gut judgement. If your dog is alert and happy then it's ok to give the Benadryl a try. But, if you feel like he is quite upset then it's always better to be safe than sorry and have the vet take a look.

Hope things work out ok!

Dr. Marie



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.