Treating Dog Anxiety with Benadryl: What You Need To Know

The life of a dog may seem carefree, however, the reality is that many dogs are prone to anxiety.

No loving dog owner wants their dog to suffer with crippling fear and anxiety. If you’re looking for a way to treat your dog’s anxiety with and without medication, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I will cover ways in which you can help to alleviate your dog’s anxiety, including the use of Benadryl and some key information on it.

Keep reading to find out more.

How Can You Calm An Anxious Dog?

Anxiety is a common condition not only in humans, but in animals too. If your canine friend is suffering from anxiety, there are a variety of ways to help calm them before trying them on a medication.

Physical Touch

There’s no getting away from the fact our furry friends love to be close to us, and you’d be surprised how much physical touch can calm them down when they’re feeling out of sorts due to anxiety.

If your dog is showing signs of anxiety, try to recognize what is causing them to feel that way and soothe them by picking them up and cuddling them until they begin to feel more at ease.


Anxiety can cause an excess amount of energy. Bearing this in mind, exercise is not only a great way to burn off this nervous energy, but it also gives you more 1-2-1 time to bond with your dog.

Providing plenty of physical contact and talking to them during this time is also beneficial.

Time On Their Own

While the root cause of some dog’s might be separation anxiety, other dogs can become wound up if they don’t have a quiet place to go to spend time on their own.

Providing your dog with a safe and quiet space can help them to wind down when they’re acting out or behaving differently.

That being said, you will need to remain in tune with your pet’s anxiety and establish whether time on their own is helping or exacerbating their anxiety.


In the same way that massages can help humans feel less stressed, the same applies to dogs. Anxiety can cause your dog to tense up and, over time, their muscles can hold a lot of stress.

When it comes to giving your dog a massage, start at the neck and work your way down their back with long strokes. Try to keep one hand on the dog to relax them, while the other hand massages their coat. 

If these methods don’t work, you can look at medication for your dog to help them manage their anxiety better. 


Diphenhydramine, more commonly known by the brand name Benadryl, may help to relieve symptoms of mild-to-moderate anxiety in pets. Benadryl is often used to treat motion sickness, allergies, and travel anxiety in dogs. 

That being said, you should always consult with your dog before giving your dog Benadryl for their anxiety.

If you are interested in this method to help them with their anxiety, below is some key information that you will need to know before consulting with your veterinarian.

Is Benadryl Safe For Dogs?

Yes, Benadryl is a relatively safe medication for dogs when used in accordance with the instructions of your veterinarian.

That being said, you will need to make sure that you observe your dog closely after giving them Benadryl in order to make sure that they aren’t having any adverse reactions to the medication.

Making sure that you are in tune with your dog and their normal behaviors is crucial to ensure that you could easily spot when something doesn’t seem right.

It is also worth mentioning that as with any medication, there are potential side effects of giving your dog Benadryl that you should always be aware of that I will go into more detail about below.

What Are The Side Effects Of Benadryl?

There are a variety of side effects that have been linked to giving your dog Benadryl that you will need to be aware of.

The majority of these side effects occur within the first hour following administration, so you will need to make sure that you closely monitor your dog in this time frame.

Common side effects associated with giving Benadryl to your dog include but are not limited to:

  • Drowsiness – Your dog may seem sleepier and more lethargic than they normally are.
  • Rapid breathing – Your dog might suddenly seem short of breath or like they are struggling to manage their breathing.
  • Urinary retention – You might notice your dog struggling or straining to go to the bathroom, with little to no luck when it comes to urinating.
  • Increased heart rate – Your dog might begin excessively panting or be short of breath.
  • Hypersalivation – Your dog may begin to salivate more than they normally would.
  • Dry mouth – Your dog might have saliva that is very thick, bad breath, or difficulty chewing their food due to their dry mouth.

The rare side effects of giving your dog Benadryl include:

  • Vomiting – Your dog might struggle to hold food down or eat at all due to vomiting.
  • Diarrhea – Diarrhea can very quickly lead to dehydration if you’re not mindful.
  • Decreased appetite – Your dog might seem as if they’re disinterested in their food or as if they’re not hungry at all even after exercise.
  • Increased appetite – Your dog might have an abnormally large appetite.

When Should You Consult With Your Veterinarian About Benadryl?

There are a variety of conditions that will require you to be more careful when giving your dog Benadryl. These include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Allergic lung disease
  • Seizures

Although it’s crucial to seek medical advice when your dog has these conditions, it’s always the safest option to consult with your veterinarian before you give your dog any kind of medication.

This comes down to the simple fact that every dog should be judged on a case by case situation, as you never know how your dog is going to react to certain medications. In some cases, giving your dog Benadryl can actually worsen your dog’s condition.

As your dog’s vet, they will know your dog’s medical history and be able to advise you on whether Benadryl is the best option to help tackle your dog’s anxiety or whether there are other methods you can try first.

In addition to this, your veterinarian will also be able to tell you whether Benadryl is likely to interact with any other medications that your dog may be taking.

Can A Dog Overdose On Benadryl?

Yes, it is possible for your dog to overdose on Benadryl. This is why it’s absolutely crucial that you keep all medicines out of reach of your curious dog, as they have a tendency to eat pretty much anything they can get their paws on.

There are a variety of signs and symptoms that your dog might exhibit if they have had too much Benadryl. These include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Seizures
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Constipation
  • Agitation

If you suspect that your dog has been given too much Benadryl, then you will need to contact your veterinarian immediately as this is a medical emergency.

Final Thoughts

Benadryl is a medication that you can use to help treat your dog’s anxiety. However, there are side effects that you will need to be aware of and you should always consult with your veterinarian to seek professional advice before giving your dog Benadryl.

If you suspect that your dog has anxiety, there are a variety of methods you can take before you opt to give them medication.

However, if you’ve tried other methods to no avail and you’d like to take the medical route, always seek further advice from your veterinarian first.