Can I Give My Dog Benadryl to Calm Him Down?
You can give a dog Benadryl, but it is not the best solution for when you need to calm him down. While Benadryl is generally safe for dogs in correct doses, this shouldn't be your first option when dealing with a very active, or even an anxious, dog. Also, always talk to your vet before giving your pet any type of over-the-counter medication.
Benadryl's Purpose and Calming Side Effect
Vets often prescribe Benadryl for dogs, but it's usually for allergies or itching. One of the side effects is drowsiness, which is why some pet owners turn to the drug as a way to calm a dog. It's important to remember, however, that just because something has the desired effect doesn't mean it's the best way to achieve the results you need.
As with any drug, using it regularly over a long period of time can have negative effects on your dog's health. It can also cause immediate health concerns in dogs that have certain health conditions such as heart failure, glaucoma, lung disease, and more.
Drug-Free Ways to Calm Your Pet
While there are many websites that talk about how safe Benadryl is, responsible pet owners will always check with their vet before dosing their dogs. There are times when drugs will be the best option, but there are often other ways to deal with very active or anxious dogs. These include:
Giving your active dog plenty of time to run is a great way to calm him down. Long walks, time at a doggy day care, trips to the dog park, or tossing a ball around your yard are a few ways to allow your dog to be more active.
Giving your dog's brain a workout is just as important as giving his body a workout. A puzzle toy that makes your pup work for a treat is a great way to engage your dog's brain and help curb boredom.
One common complaint among dog owners with very active dogs is that it's difficult to walk them because they are always pulling on the lead or otherwise misbehaving. This conduct can be changed with proper training. Even the most energetic dogs can be taught to "leave it," "stay," and "sit," and most owners are surprised how quickly the training kicks in.
Change His Food
This is one option that many pet owners don't consider, but food can have a big impact on your dog's behavior. What do you think would happen if you ate nothing but junk food? Dogs are subject to the same negative effects of food as humans. If you're feeding lower-quality food, upgrade to a premium product. If you're not sure how to choose the best food for your dog, check out our Dog and Cat Nutrition page or talk to your vet for advice.
So, can you give your dog Benadryl to calm him down? Yes, but there are likely much better and safer ways to deal with the issue. Talk to your vet, trainer, or other animal expert to discuss the specific needs of your pet and to develop a plan that will give you the best chance of success.
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