August 12, 2020 7 min read

Benadryl use has increased among pet parents due to the many allergies that our dogs are suffering from today. We use Benadryl to treat allergies, help with travel anxiety, and more! But what you should really understand is that Benadryl may not be as safe as you think. 

As an over-the-counter antihistamine, there are often no side- effects, yet with the incorrect dosage, your dog could become overexcited, over-salivate, and be prone to rapid breathing. 

Benadrylfor dogs can be lethal if the wrong dose is administered. In this blog, we’ll discuss why CBD may be great as an alternative to Benadryl.

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl, also known as Diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine, used for allergies in humans and dogs. Pet parents are often advised to give Benadryl to their furry best friends at home if they are suffering from allergies. 

You can purchase this as an over-the-counter antihistamine that most times has no side effects. It helps alleviate motion sickness, combats all kinds of allergic reactions common to dogs like bug bite reactions, and anxiety or stress. 

Benadryl Study

Benadryl Dosage Study for Dogs

While Benadryl was formulated for humans, when opting to administer to your dog, it’s best to do so under the supervision of your veterinarian. According to theCanadian Veterinary Journal, 2014, poisoning of animals occurs often. “Medications, whether over-the-counter (OTC) or prescribed, contribute to companion animal fatalities; however, these poisoning events often result from accidental exposure due to ease of accessibility and lack of adequate supervision. There may be instances, though, whereby an owner symptomatically treats a pet with their own medication if they think the animal is unwell or in pain (e.g., paracetamol, ibuprofen, or naproxen), thus leading to an unintended consequence.”  

The study adds that “the recommended therapeutic dose for dogs is 2 to 4mg/kg BW for allergy treatment or mild sedation before a stressful event. Additionally, for an 18kg dog, that would mean dosage of 36-72 mg diphenhydramine or 1 to 1.5 tablets. The research mentions that the margin of safety is narrow in this group of antihistamines, with dangerous effects occurring at or less than 1mg/kg above therapeutic doses. 

Benadryl Toxicity

The most common side effects occur within 1 hour of incorrect dosing in dogs are the following:

  • Hyperactivity 
  • Depression 
  • Hyper-salivation
  • Tachypnea (rapid breathing)
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)

Benadryl Overdose Symptoms in Dogs

  • Mydriasis (pupil dilation)
  • Dry mucous membranes 
  • Disorientation
  • Fever

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD for dogs may help relieve numerous health conditions in dogs ranging from inflammation and seizures to skin allergies and irritations. Understanding how CBD works in dogs, whether to limit tumor growth or fight a hot spot, means working together with a CBD savvy veterinarian, and asking plenty of questions as to which CBD products work best.

Natural Doggie Organic CBD Hemp Oil helps relieve pain and anxiety in pets. Utilizing only the best natural products, the difference in our oil is that is derived from the highest quality Non-GMO, organic Colorado hemp. All dogs can benefit as this product is a perfect supplement to your animal’s diet and will help keep them happy and healthy. If your animal suffers from anxiety or chronic pain, you will see a noticeable difference in your dog immediately.

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CBD Tinctures and Topicals for Skin Allergies in Dogs

The Natural Doggie CBD-Infused Bacon Flavor Soft Chews use only the best ingredients nature has to offer. The perfect treat to promote calmness, reduce inflammation and pain and stimulate appetite in your pet. This is a perfect supplement to add to your dog’s diet. This Colorado-grown, hemp-derived oil is legal in all 50 states and contains no THC. The non-GMO oil in every treat is derived from the finest non-GMO hemp the world has to offer. Your dog will love these bacon-flavored dog chews and you will see a major difference in your animal and if you don’t, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Cannabidiol oil for dermatitis in dogs may just prove to help with dry itchy skin that result from allergies. Causes of skin inflammations in dogs include the following:

  • Burns
  • Trauma
  • Bacterial, parasitic, fungal or vital infection
  • Allergens

Dermatitis in dogs results in skin conditions like scaling, boils, abnormal redness, scabs from itching, and even blisters. Abnormal itching or excessive itching usually results in a painful and annoying condition called pruritus with scaling and crusting. Secondary bacterial and yeast infections in dogs will develop from skin inflammation. This comes with skin color changes, fluid discharge, increased inflammation, pain, redness, and more itching. 

Resolving dermatitis or dry itchy skin in dogs with cannabidiol oils that are free of THC requires that your veterinarian first identifies the underlying cause, and then treats the secondary skin infection after doing a full examination, and diagnostic tests with lab procedures that will test skin scrapings and hair, as well as skin swabs, blood tests, and possibly urine tests. That said, traditional pharmaceutical treatment will include the following:

  • Medicated shampoo therapy
  • Topical treatments like antibiotic ointments, corticosteroid creams, topical insecticides
  • Systemic drugs like oral antibiotics, corticosteroids, and anti-inflammatory meds

Cannabidiol Oil Has Healing Properties for Skin Infections in Dogs

CBD for dogs has shown to have healing benefits for dogs with inflammation. Research proves that “Cannabinoids are a group of compounds that mediate their effects through cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoid receptors include CB1, which is predominantly expressed in the brain, and CB2, which is primarily found on the cells of the immune system. The fact that both CB1 and CB2 receptors have been found on immune cells suggests that cannabinoids play an important role in the regulation of the immune system, “via NCB1. 

“Cannabinoids have exhibited the significant potential to be used as novel anti-inflammatory agents and specific targeting of CB2 receptors holds the promise of mediating immunosuppressive effects without exerting psychotropic side effects.”

Hemp CBD for Itchy Skin in Dogs

  • CBD may help to reduce inflammation in dogs with itchy skin, so when he or she develops a skin irritation, you’re going to need to help his skin heal, and to repair the skin’s natural barrier.
  • CBD may act as a pain reliever, and may help to reduce pain from inflammation and infection.
  • Your dog will feel anxious from all the itching and pain associated with his skin infection. CBD may help to ease anxiety caused by discomfort.
  • CBD may also be effective to use in dogs with skin irritations and itchy skin.
  • HEMP CBD products for dogs that are infused with virgin coconut oil are beneficial in healing hot spots, and in promoting skin health in dogs.
  • Virgin cold-pressed coconut oil is a delicious food topper, and can also be applied to your dog’s skin. Look for products like Natural Doggie Hemp CBD Infused Virgin Coconut Oil.
  • Hemp CBD skin products for dogs with itchy skin should be made in the US and should be free of all GMOs.
  • CBD pet products for skin infections and itchy skin in dogs should come with a certificate of analysis (COA)

CBD for Healthy Coat and Skin in Dogs with Skin Allergies and Dermatitis

  • CBD helps with doggie odor and may help to clear up skin infections
  • CBD may help to control flea allergies and dermatitis in dogs while controlling the itch, and minimizing pain.
  • CBD may help to control yeast and fungal infections in dogs. (Refer to research studies below)
  • Cannabidiol oil when combined with coconut oil may also be beneficial when applied topically to a dog’s itchy skin.
  • CBD may help to soothe insect bites, hot spots, and eczema in dogs.

CBD Toxicity Compared to Benadryl

The research adds that “The lack of psychoactivity associated with cannabidiol allows it to be administered in higher doses than would be possible with psychotropic cannabinoids such as THC. Furthermore, the ability of cannabidiol to protect against neuronal injury without inhibiting NMDAr may reduce the occurrence of toxicity or side effects associated with NMDAr antagonists. Previous studies have indicated that cannabidiol is not toxic, even when chronically administered to humans (or given in large acute doses [700 mg/day), “via NCBI

The above research demonstrates that even when cannabinoids free of THC are given in higher doses like 700mg/day to humans, there are no toxic side effects.

CBD has been proven to help reduce cell damage that occurs from free radicals. That said, cannabidiol oil (CBD) can help dogs with skin allergies, inflammation, itchy skin, and also help promote a healthy coat and skin in dogs. “Cannabidiol, THC, and BHT all prevented dihydroergotamine oxidation in a similar, concentration-dependent manner indicating cannabinoids to be comparable to BHT in antioxidant potency,” NCBI.

The study adds that “The antioxidative properties of cannabinoids suggest a therapeutic use as neuroprotective agents, and the particular properties of cannabidiol make it a good candidate for such development. Although cannabidiol was similar in neuroprotective capacity to BHT, cannabidiol has no known tumor-promoting effects. The lack of psychoactivity associated with cannabidiol allows it to be administered in higher doses than would be possible with psychotropic cannabinoids such as THC.”

Healing out pets naturally with full-spectrum hemp CBD oil tinctures, treats, salves, and chews instead of Benadryl may reduce the chances of side effects or toxicity associated with Benadryl overdoses in pets. There are also certain health conditions that may prevent you from using Benadryl on your dogs such as severe heart failure, seizure disorders, bladder neck obstructions, pregnancies, allergic lung disease and even hypertension. As usual, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian for the best advice.

Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun author of CBD as an alternative to Benadryl

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

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