Will Benadryl Help Kennel Cough? (And Is It Safe?)

You and Fido go to the dog park and he meets up with his favorite pals. But, a few days later you notice Fido developing a horrid, hacking cough. This accompanies lethargy, lack of appetite, and difficulty breathing. At some point, Fido contracted Kennel Cough. You have Benadryl on hand, but you’re not certain about giving it to Fido.

Will Benadryl help Kennel Cough? Yes, this classic antihistamine medication can help your dog with this bronchial disease. About a ½ tablet should suffice. However, you should first speak to your vet about it before you haphazardly administer it to Fido.

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is a bronchial respiratory disease in dogs. Also called Infectious Tracheobronchitis or Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD), it’s highly contagious. It can spread to a healthy dog after exposure to the secretions of another infected dog.

It’s a Bacterial Infection

It’s essentially a bacterial infection that dogs give to each other when in confined spaces with poor airflow and bad air quality. Animal shelters, boarding kennels, dog parks, grooming businesses, and doggie daycare centers can all be culprits in fostering CIRD.

How It Spreads

They can catch it via sneezing, coughing, or sharing chewy objects. This can develop three or four days after exposure. CIRD can last as little as one to two weeks. But, more severe cases can last as long as three to six weeks.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

This causes mild to severe symptoms that include inflamed bronchioles and trachea along with a dry cough. It sometimes sounds like the dog has something caught in its throat. This cough will be persistent and occur all day long. In some instances, white foam can result.

In severe cases, the dog may experience loss of appetite, fever, lethargy, and labored breathing. While it’s not fatal at the outset, it can progress to a life-threatening issue. Most dogs recover easily, but some may become fatally ill with pneumonia. If left untreated, they can die.

Dog feeling sick

Which Dogs Are Most at Risk

Puppies and older dogs are most at risk of developing severe cases of CIRD. This is because puppies have immature immunity and older dogs have decreased immunity. Also, pregnant dogs and dogs with preexisting health conditions are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.

What Does Benadryl Treat in Dogs?

Benadryl is one of those medicines that are perfect for your dog’s medicine cabinet at home. Of course, you should first confer with your vet to make sure that it’s going to be a good thing for your precious pup.

Allergy Treatment

However, it has the potential to treat a plethora of conditions in dogs to great effect. You can give it to dogs that have mild allergies. This includes seasonal, food-related, and environmental along with reactions to bites from insects and snakes.

Skin Irritations & Inflammation

It treats hives, redness, and itchiness for a myriad of skin irritations along with helping to reduce swelling and inflammation. Benadryl can treat coughing, sneezing, and runny noses. It’s also great for anaphylactic reactions.

Helps with Nervousness & Anxiety

Because Benadryl is famous for causing drowsiness, it can help nervous or anxious dogs. So, this is a good aid for travelling in the car, where your dog may experience anxiety or motion sickness.

Treatment for Mast Cell Tumors & Heartworm

Vets will often prescribe Benadryl to dogs that have mast cell tumors. This mitigates the histamine release emitted by the tumors. They also prescribe it to treat heartworms because it assists in reducing the allergic reaction that can sometimes happen with the therapy.

Some Side Effects

It’s equally important to understand the side effects of giving Benadryl to your dog before you jump the gun. In most cases, the side effects appear within an hour after administering it and subside shortly thereafter. These include lethargy, rapid breathing, cottonmouth, urinary retention, and hypersalivation.

If you notice vomiting, diarrhea, or an erratic appetite, then stop giving your dog Benadryl and take them to the vet right away. There could be something more serious occurring.

Certain Health Conditions Should NOT Have Benadryl

However, there are certain health conditions where you should avoid giving it to your dog. If your four-legged furry friend has cardiovascular disease, hypertension, glaucoma, lung disease, or is pregnant, DO NOT GIVE BENADRYL TO YOUR DOG!

Does Benadryl help Kennel Cough?

Many dog owners report how Benadryl very much helps if and when their dog contracts CIRD. It helps to open the passageways, clears up their stuffy nose, and helps reduce the coughing. In most cases, a ½ tablet is all that you need to administer.

For Large Dogs

However, if you have a larger dog, like a Rottweiler, Dalmatian, or Boerboel, then a whole tablet might be better. For enormous dogs, such as a Cane Corso or a Tibetan Mastiff, consider 1½ to 2 tablets. But, as always, talk to your vet before you give Benadryl to your dog.

Testing the Waters

If you’re new to giving this to your dog, start with a ½ tablet regardless of the dog’s size. You want to test the waters to see how this affects your dog and what kind of reactions it has. So, observe your dog for about an hour after administering it to see if their condition improves or worsens.

In the event you don’t notice a change, give a ½ tablet more and repeat the monitoring process. The moment you see your dog get sleepy or if you notice vomiting, don’t give the dog any more Benadryl. In the latter case, call your vet ASAP.

Want To Train Your Dog With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your dog properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, that you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

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  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
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Treating your dog’s Kennel Cough with Benadryl will often be a great at-home option to help mitigate the symptoms associated with the disease. But, it can also help with a host of other things such as allergies, tumors, heartworm, skin irritations, and many other conditions. However, there are some dogs that shouldn’t take it, so talk to your vet first.