Can You Stop Dog Itching with Benadryl?

To stop dog itching, administration of a medication known as Benadryl can be very effective. Benadryl contains the antihistamine known as diphenhydramine, which provides relief from itching. However, Benadryl is registered for human use only, and can have a few side effects. Hence, it's advisable to administer the medication to your pet under the guidance of a vet.

When Should Benadryl Be Given?

Benadryl is an antihistamine that's given to treat acute inflammatory and allergic conditions. It can also stop the itching associated with both. Benadryl provides relief from itchiness caused by bites or stings from lice, ticks, snakes, bees or fleas. It also helps control allergic reactions caused by vaccinations and blood transfusions. Other indications for administration of Benadryl are hay fever, food allergies, car sickness, dry skin and illnesses such as immunological disorders, liver disease and cancer. Benadryl is also effective in treating seborrhea and skin infections caused by bacteria and fungi.

Benefits of Benadryl

Benadryl can provide relief from itchiness to your pet, but you should also identify the underlying cause of the itchiness and treat it at the earliest to rid him of the symptoms permanently. This is particularly important because itching can be caused by serious diseases such as liver disorders and cancers. These conditions should be treated in the initial stages to ensure complete recovery. The recommended dosage of Benadryl is generally 1 mg per pound of your pet's weight, three times a day.


Benadryl is contraindicated in certain instances and has a few side effects. It should only be administered after home remedies have failed to provide relief. Even then, it should be administered only after it has been prescribed by a vet. Home remedies such as regular baths in cold water and supplements of Omega-3 fatty acids or fish can often stop dog itching. If these don't prove to be effective, Benadryl can be administered. Administration of Benadryl in conjunction with vitamin supplements can prove to be very effective against itching.

Side Effects of Benadryl:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Agitation
  • Loss of appetite
  • An inability to urinate
  • Depressed respiration
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Diarrhea

Tips for Pet Owners

If your pet experiences any of the side effects listed above, you should discontinue the medication and have him checked by the vet at the earliest. Benadryl is also contraindicated in pregnant dogs and pets on medications for diseases such as an enlarged prostate, glaucoma, heart problems, lung problems or hyperthyroidism. This is because the administration of antihistamines with these medications can prove fatal for the pet. Benadryl should also not be used in conjunction with other tranquillizing medications. It's best to medicate your pet under the guidance of the vet.

Benadryl is a relatively mild drug and can be safely administered to stop dog itching. If the correct dosage is administered, it can be very effective against itching in dogs, and can provide quick relief to your pet with relatively few side effects.