Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can Benadryl help my dog's anxiety?

Benadryl is a trade name for the drug diphenhydramine. This medication is readily available over the counter as a human medication. To avoid potential drug interactions and complications, consult with your veterinarian before treating your pet with any human medication. Just because a medication is over the counter does not mean that it is safe for all pets under all circumstances.

Diphenhydramine has many uses, the most common of which is for allergies and allergic reactions. Some pet owners have resorted to diphenhydramine to sedate their dog for traveling, thunderstorms, etc. A study performed by veterinary anesthesiologists has shown that diphenhydramine is not a consistent and reliable drug for premedication to sedate animals.

Benadryl or diphenhydramine should only be used by a pet owner if their veterinarian has instructed them to try this medication. For sedation, there are many other medications that are more reliable than diphenhydramine. We should always try to get the root of the underlying issue that causes a dog to have anxiety. Yes, medications that treat canine anxiety can be very helpful, but training and behavioral counseling are essential. The field of animal behavior and training has been blossoming over the last few decades and specialists are available who have obtained different levels of certification in this field.

Consult your veterinarian to discuss the best and safest way to address your pet’s anxiety issues. Popular canine anxiety relief products include pheromone sprays like Adaptil, Composure Bite-Sized Chews, and Thundershirts.

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