CBD & Benadryl – Can You Mix CBD And Benadryl For Dogs?

Medical review by K9 Healthcare Council of America (K9HCA). Intended for educational purposes only. Always seek medical advice from your veterinarian.

Can I Give My Dog CBD Instead of Benadryl?

Giving a dog Benadryl for allergies is often a pet parent’s first ‘go-to’ when looking for a quick way to soothe their dog’s itchy skin & allergy symptoms.

However, more pet parents are searching for a natural alternative to Benadryl for their dog’s allergies–and they may have found it in hemp derived CBD.

Although Benadryl is fast-acting, it has its own potential down-side; and if used in conjunction with Cannabidiol (CBD), can produce unintended consequences for the health of your dog.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these two therapies, CBD and Benadryl, for canine allergies.

What Is Benadryl?

Benadryl is an over the counter (OTC) antihistamine containing Diphenhydramine (DPH) that’s also sold under the brand name sleep aid Unisom. It’s most often used to treat mild allergy symptoms in humans, though pet parents are often advised to use it for their dog as well.

Benadryl is often used to help relieve symptoms of hay fever, seasonal and other allergies, symptoms of the common cold, as well as itchy skin due to bug bites, hives, and other causes.

Due to the sedative effects of Benadryl, it can also be used for motion sickness in dogs, and some pet parents also choose to use it as a way to reduce anxiety in dogs.

Veterinarians have also been known to prescribe Benadryl for Mast Cell Tumors as well.

Is Benadryl Safe for Dogs?

While it is commonly used in veterinary practice in the US, Benadryl has not been approved by the FDA for use in veterinary medicine.

CBD and Benadryl for dogs
Benadryl is the brand name for a compound called diphenhydramine (DPH). It’s an antihistamine drug used by veterinarians without FDA approval.

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can cause mild and in some cases, severe, side effects.

Some of the more common side effects of Benadryl in dogs are:

– Constipation
– Dizziness
– Excessive drowsiness
– Dry mouth, nose, and throat
– Delirium
– Increased chest congestion
– Loss of appetite
– Hypersalivation
– Nausea / vomiting
– Urinary retention
– Increased heart rate / rapid breathing

In rare cases, dogs have been known to fatally overdose on Benadryl. In these situations, the Central Nervous System (CNS) is overloaded to the point of agitation, seizures and death.

Benadryl And CBD

If you’ve been thinking about trying cannabidiol as therapy for your dog’s joint pain, anxiety or allergies, then consider yourself part of a growing club of pet parents preferring CBD as a natural therapy alternative.

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) seem to show promising benefits for a wide range of canine maladies including Osteoarthritis, seizures and immune system problems such as Allergic Dermatitis.

But be cautious, CBD is a biologically active compound, and as such, it may also have unintended consequences. These include known side effects of CBD (elevated liver enzymes), but also unintended interactions with supplements, herbal products, and over the counter (OTC) and prescription medications.

Can You Mix CBD & Benadryl for Dogs

Because of its effect on the liver and liver enzymes, CBD can interfere with many medications, either increasing their levels in the blood to potentially toxic levels or decreasing levels and reducing their effectiveness.

CBD and benadryl interactions
Certain seizure medications, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, and drugs that can suppress the central nervous system (such as benzodiazepines, sleeping pills and opioids), among many other medications, may have strong interactions with CBD.

Since CBD causes drowsiness on its own, it also increases the drowsiness caused by other medications, including antihistamines (such as Benadryl), benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium), antipsychotics, antidepressants and opioids, as well as nutritional supplements such as kava, melatonin and St. John’s Wort.

The risk here of using CBD and Benadryl together is the additive (i.e., combined) Central Nervous System depressant effects.

The concomitant use of cannabidiol with central nervous system depressants that can cause similar kinds of adverse effects can subsequently additively increase the risk, incidence, and/or severity of central nervous system depression for canine patients.

Is CBD A Natural Alternative to Benadryl for Dog Allergies?

Holistic pet care and whole plant medicine like CBD may not produce the instant gratification that Benadryl produces for allergy symptoms.

This is because CBD oil communicates with the body via receptors in the dog’s Endocannabinoid System in an effort to target the root cause of imbalance and encourage homeostasis in the body.

CBD adn benadryl
Holistic medicine seeks to address each animal as an individual with respect to the complexity of their specific needs as well as their individual health history. CBD offers dog owners a natural means to care for their pets with allergy symptoms.

For a truly holistic, natural treatment approach, I recommend addressing ‘chronic’ conditions like canine skin allergies from all possible angles.

Since your dog’s skin is often the first-place allergy symptoms manifest (painful rash, hot-spots, etc.), I encourage the topical application of CBD to both soothe the localized inflammatory response & ease the systemic allergic reaction.

Final Thoughts on CBD Vs Benadryl for Dog Allergies

It’s never easy to watch your pet constantly itching and scratching–suffering from allergy symptoms. But before you start a course of treatment, make sure to look into the possible ‘triggers’ of your dog’s allergic reaction.

Consider sensitivities to particular foods in their diet, chemicals in their environment and look for ways to encourage the proper functioning of the body’s natural immune responses.

Remember, to be your pet’s biggest wellness advocate, you want to treat them holistically instead of just finding quick solutions to cover up symptoms.

benadryl vs cbd for dogs
Benadryl Vs CBD. While CBD is generally considered safe & less toxic for canine allergies than OTC antihistamines, the concomitant use of cannabidiol with central nervous system depressants like Benadryl can cause severe adverse effects.

Overall, studies have shown that CBD possesses therapeutic characteristics that may help dogs with symptoms of medical conditions that Benadryl also addresses.

However, CBD has the potential to interact with many other products, including over-the-counter medications, herbal products, and prescription medications. Some medications should never be taken with CBD–while the use of other medications may need to be modified or reduced to prevent serious issues.

The consequences of drug interactions with other canine medications also depend on many other factors, including the dose of CBD, the dose of another medication, and a dog’s underlying health condition.

If you have questions about the appropriate use & proper dose of CBD for your canine companion or have concerns about adding CBD to your dog’s daily wellness regimen, please contact K9 Medibles [wecare@k9-medibles.com] for a free holistic pet care consultation.

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1 thought on “CBD & Benadryl – Can You Mix CBD And Benadryl For Dogs?”

  1. Timely info, Curtis! And very helpful.
    Coincidentally, yesterday I gave RudiBoy his usual dose of CBD (for age related aches ‘n pains) and then gave him some Benadryl for seasonal allergies (runny nose etc). I winced after I did this, thinking “Are these meds ok together?” and committed to closely watch him.

    Sure enough Rudi was definitely uncomfortable, that look on his face of “something’s wrong Mom”, excessive drowsiness (watched him to ensure it wasn’t too excessive), and excess drooling (salivation).

    The effects overall weren’t bad enough to call vet, after all both meds were given at smaller doses than prescribed, but I was wary. I gave him extra biscuits, to reassure and distract him, as well as to help absorb/ maybe diminish strength of the meds. By evening, 8+ hours later, he was feeling himself again, happy to go out in the cool evening for a walk with joyful social interactions.

    But I won’t combine these meds again! Your blog here told me why and why not. Definitely appreciate it Curtis! I’ll be more careful in the future. As Rudi ages (almost 10 y.o.) he’ll probably require more and more medical intervention. Even if they are “natural” it doesn’t mean they’re not potent!

    I’ll stagger his meds from now on, or alternate days even.

    Thanks as always Curtis for your informative blog!!!


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