What are Xanax and Benedryl?
Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam which is a type of benzodiazepine and it is commonly prescribed for humans to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
Side effects of alprazolam are relatively mild and common to most anti-anxiety medications: dizziness, drowsiness, increased saliva, and decreased interest in sex. Alprazolam is available by prescription only.
Benedryl is a brand name for a common antihistamine, diphenhydramine. Antihistamines are used as a treatment for allergic reactions of all kinds including seasonal, pet dander, and dust.
Diphenhydramine is also sometimes used as a short-term, non-addictive sleep aid or as an as-needed anti-anxiety medication used to treat mild cases of periodic anxiety.
Why would you give Xanax or Benedryl to your dog?
Xanax and Benedryl are both given to dogs to treat periods of anxiety or phobia disorders. The circumstances under which they are given are different. Neither should be given to your dog without first consulting your vet.
Your vet may recommend one of these options for the treatment of your dog’s anxiety symptoms.
Benedryl is used to treat isolated, situational anxiety. Many vets recommend its usage during the 4th of July to help ease a dog’s fear of fireworks or to reduce anxiety during travel. It should not be used long-term to treat anxiety or environmental allergies.
Xanax is used to treat chronic anxiety disorders and phobias in dogs. It is taken as an ongoing prescription, sometimes alongside behavioral training to help reduce the impact of these disorders. Xanax is almost never prescribed for situational or short term anxiety.
Can I give my dog Xanax?
Never give your dog any prescription drug without first consulting your vet. Dogs are sometimes prescribed Xanax treat the symptoms of anxiety.
Although the Xanax used by humans and the one used by dogs are chemically the same drug, you should absolutely never give a dog a pill from a prescription that was given to a human.
The difference in dosage between a human and a dog is large. Giving a dog even a half or a quarter of a pill intended for humans can be harmful or even deadly.
You should never give your dog Xanax unless it has been prescribed for them by their vet. Never give a dog a pill from another dog’s prescription because the recommended dosage might be very different depending on the dogs’ sizes and levels of anxiety.
If your vet has prescribed Xanax to treat your dog’s anxiety or phobias then follow the instructions as given on the bottle to ensure proper dosage.
A sudden succession of Xanax is associated with potentially dangerous side effects from withdrawal including seizures. Do not stop giving your dog their prescribed Xanax without first consulting your vet.
Can I give my dog Benedryl?
Benedryl is sometimes given to dogs to help with allergies. Also to help with mild anxiety due to things such as fireworks. Compared to a human, the sedative effects are far less in dogs making it ineffective as an anxiety treatment.
Benedryl is an effective treatment for mild environmental allergic reactions in both dogs and humans. However, Benedryl should not be used for an acute allergic reaction.
If your dog’s face or body begins to swell as a reaction to eating something or being stung by a bug do not administer Benedryl but seek immediate medical attention.
Your veterinarian may also recommend giving your dog Benedryl before bringing them in for their vaccines or other procedures.
This can reduce the chance they will spike a fever afterward and reduce discomfort in the muscles and joints.
Some vets recommend that Benedryl be given alongside anti-inflammatory medications. Always follow your vet’s recommendations before giving your dog any medications.
How much Benedryl can I give my dog?
The standard dosage recommendations for dogs are 1mg of Benedryl per 1 pound of body weight. Most Benedryl tablets are 25 mg (although you should check your packaging to confirm the mg) which would be suitable for a 25-pound dog.
Benedryl can be given 2-3 times a day, as needed. If you are estimating your dog’s weight, it is better to underestimate rather than overestimate.
The best course of action is to consult your veterinarian for the correct dosage information for your dog. They will have the best and most accurate information available. You should always follow your vet’s advice concerning any medication and dosages.
What dogs shouldn’t take Benedryl?
There are situations and conditions that make it dangerous for a dog to be given Benedryl. A dog that is currently pregnant should not be given Benedryl due to potential side effects being a risk to the puppies.
Additionally, any dog with cardiac disease (any heart conditions), low blood pressure, or glaucoma should not take Benedryl. Like some humans, some dogs might have the opposite reaction to Benedryl. They will become hyperactive instead of experiencing mild sedation.
If your dog has ever had an adverse reaction to Benedryl in the past do not give them a dose without first consulting your veterinarian.
It’s always better safe than sorry
Xanax and Benedryl are both medications and they should not be treated lightly. Seek advice from your veterinarian if you are in any way unsure or hesitant to give your dog any medication at any time and do not administer it.
If you are unsure when the last dosage you gave was, do not give another dose until you are absolutely certain the minimum time between doses has elapsed.
If you believe you may have given your dog too much of any type of medication, contact an emergency veterinary hospital in your area for a recommendation as to whether you should bring your pet into their office or not.