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 it’s 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 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.
Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can cause mild and in some cases, severe, side effects.
Some of the more common side effects of Benadryl in dogs are:
– Excessive drowsiness
– Dry mouth, nose, and throat
– Increased chest congestion
– Loss of appetite
– Nausea / vomiting
– Urinary retention
– Increased heart rate / rapid breathing
In rare cases, dogs have been know to fataly overdose on Benadryl. In these situations, the Central Nervous System (CNS) is overloaded to the point of agitation, seizures and death.
Bendaryl 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 [email@example.com] for a free holistic pet care consultation.
Curtis has been passionate about the health and welfare of animals since his first dog rescue.
After studying Sports Medicine & Biology at the University of Oregon, Curtis went on to excel in a career of Clinical Nutrition, later owning a health care supplement company serving private-practice physicians.
Known for his expansive knowledge of natural health and alternative medicine, Curtis believes that natural plant-based therapies can be applied to veterinary animal care which led him to study the science of Cannabinoid Medicine. His expertise in Functional Medicine led him to formulate a unique hemp-based canine care product, Canine Support Formula, fulfilling a dream to combine natural pet-care strategies with the new therapeutic potential of medical cannabis.
In reverence for his own dog, Parker, Curtis has dedicated his company–K9 Medibles–to improving the health and longevity of all dogs.
To learn more about Curtis and how K9 Medibles can help your dog, click HERE.