Are Antihistamines Effective for Canine Allergies?

I have a white pit and he seems to have allergies. he breaks out all over his stomach and neck and then scratches till he...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Jul 11th 2008


I have a white pit and he seems to have allergies.
he breaks out all over his stomach and neck and
then scratches till he nearly draws blood. My vet
says to give him Benadryl. I’ve only given it to
him twice. What is your opinion on this?

Bonnie
Hazen, Arkansas, AR

My opinion depends on your dog’s response to the Bendadryl. Some allergies in pets are well controlled by Benadryl and similar over-the-counter antihistamines. Others are not.

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is the most commonly recommended over-the-counter allergy medicine because it has a high margin of safety (although new concerns are arising about a link between Benadryl and cognitive decline in humans), and overdoses are rare. But in my experience, few pets experience dramatically reduced symptoms as a result of the drug.

If Benadryl does a good job of controlling your dog’s symptoms, then it probably will be the best bet for dealing with the problem.

If Benadryl doesn’t have much of an effect, then you may have to look into other treatments. The blog’s search function will help you find more information about hypoallergenic diets, allergy testing, allergen avoidance, flea control, omega-3s, and more potent medicines for allergies such as Atopica, Genesis, and prednisone.

Remember above all that allergies are impossible to cure. However, if you manage your pet’s problems properly, he should be able to live comfortably.

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