Benadryl is a common medication used for calming anxious dogs. However, there are alternatives that can be just as effective and they do not involve chemicals or side effects. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing 6 natural alternatives to Benadryl for dogs.
Let’s face it, Benadryl is not the best choice for dogs with anxiety. It can cause harmful side effects including upset stomach, constipation, and even diarrhea. If your dog overdoses on Benadryl, it can prove to be fatal.
However, alternatives to Benadryl for dogs are just as effective and they do not involve chemicals or some of the more nasty side effects.
Alternatives to Benadryl for Dogs
Many dog owners are understandably cautious about giving medicines like Benadryl to their furry friends. It’s not hard to see why, we have a detailed article that discusses Benadryl’s pros and cons that you can read here. to their furry best friend. If you fall into this category, then all is not lost. There are natural safe alternatives to Benadryl, and here’s a selection of 6 popular, easy to find options:
Quercetin belongs to a group of plant pigments called Flavonoids that give certain fruits, flowers, and vegetables their colors. It is abundant in nature and food. There are over 6,000 types of Flavonoids identified so far in research.
- Studies even suggest it can lower the risk of getting certain cancers.
- Improves bone and heart health
Quercetin can be found in the skin of fruits such as:
NEVER give onions and grapes to dogs even if these are rich in quercetin. Onions and grapes are VERY TOXIC TO DOGS!
How does Quercetin work?
Histamine is produced in the body when it detects an allergic substance such as:
- Flea saliva
- Cleaning materials
The body will then react by creating:
A dog’s body is a complex machine. When in contact with allergenic substances, it fuels just about every awful symptom associated with allergies. Quercetin blocks or at least greatly reduces histamine production in the body, and therefore reducing allergy symptoms.
Quercetin is often called nature’s Benadryl.
Bromelain is a mix of enzymes found in pineapples that also reduces inflammation and swelling.
Bromelain and Quercetin are often formulated together to make it more effective.
Take the weight of your dog and multiply it by 1,000 mg then divide it by 150. For example, if your dog is 75 pounds in weight, multiply that amount by 1,000 =75,000 divided by 150 is 500. Therefore a 75-pound dog’s dosage will be 500 mg per day, or 250 mg twice a day.
Ask your vet if Quercetin is right for your dog.
Warning – Too much Quercetin can damage your dog’s kidneys.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is rich in minerals, enzymes, amino acids.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Folic acid
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B12
Aloe Vera also comprises 75 healing constituents, no wonder it is known all over the world as the “Wonder Plant”.
It is effective as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal treatment.
In this case, Aloe Vera can be an excellent alternative to Benadryl for your dog’s skin allergies:
- Simply cut open a fresh aloe leaf and remove the gel.
- The yellowish liquid that appears is latex which contains saponins and must be removed.
- Next is the outer skin which is mildly toxic and may produce a laxative effect on dogs.
- Discard immediately to prevent a messy cleanup.
- Rub the gel to your dog’s irritated skin twice a day.
Here’s a fantastic video that walks you through the process from Aloe Vera Plantation Curacao
The healing compounds and cooling effect of aloe work quickly to soothe inflamed or damaged skin.
Aloe Vera can be applied to:
- Dry itchy skin
- Skin folds with fungal infections
Ask your vet if Aloe Vera is right for your dog.
Do not give to dogs that have kidney or liver disease, are pregnant, or are lactating
3. Coconut Oil
Similar to Aloe Vera is Coconut Oil, a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral treatment.
Simply rub coconut oil directly to your dog’s dry irritated skin. Don’t be surprised if your dog develops a taste for coconut oil and keeps licking it off as It definitely tastes better than Aloe Vera.
The benefits of coconut oil in dogs goes beyond healing skin:
- Quickly metabolized – Increased energy levels
- Improves coat
- Improved digestion
- Fatty acids help in cognitive decline
- Parasite control
- Bone health
- Reduce allergic reactions
- Prevents obesity
If adding coconut to your dog’s diet, introduce it gradually.
Start with 1/4 teaspoon a day for small dogs and 1 tablespoon for bigger dogs once or twice a day. More is not necessarily better.
Too much coconut oil can cause diarrhea.
You can also apply coconut oil to your dog’s cracked paws but do this before your dog sleeps at night to prevent your dog from slip-sliding around the house.
Ask your vet if coconut oil is right for your dog.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an effective anti-fungal and anti-microbial treatment that you can use on your pet.
Make a paste of equal amounts of baking soda and water and apply it to your dog’s skin for 20 minutes and rinse.
In between wet baths, you can give your dog a dry bath by sprinkling a cup of baking soda in large dogs and half a cup for smaller dogs.
Avoid the head.
Gently massage it in then leave it on for a few minutes to let it absorb odors then gently brush it off to give your dog’s coat a refreshing feel.
There are no harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin. This also kills fleas naturally.
Baking soda that falls on the floor while brushing your dog can be easily vacuumed. You can also do this outside the house for less clean-up.
Baking soda sold in supermarkets contains aluminum. Try to buy aluminum-free baking soda from health stores.
Ask your vet if baking soda is right for your dog.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix 50/50 Apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray directly to rashes and itchy spots caused by yeast infections.
Do not spray to open wounds. ACV is acidic and might sting.
You can also put this 50/50 mixture in your dog’s water bowl to support digestion and help with weight control.
ACV makes your dog’s PH slightly acidic which naturally repels fleas.
Leave a bowl of plain water in case your pet refuses to drink the mixture.
Spray this solution on your dog’s coat when going outdoors to prevent fleas and ticks.
It can also be used to clean your dog’s ears using the same 50/50 mixture. Simply soak a cotton ball in this mixture and gently clean inside your dog’s ears as far as you can see to kill harmful bacteria and yeast. Keep wiping until the cotton balls come out clean. Make sure to dry with a cotton pad.
Probiotics formulated for dogs can eliminate skin problems caused by food allergies.
They help the body fight pathogens by balancing gut bacteria. Probiotics flood the gut with colonies of good bacteria and crowd out the bad bacteria.
Probiotics are wonderfully beneficial for your dog. You can give yogurt to your dog several times a week. 1 teaspoon for small dogs and 2 teaspoons for larger dogs.
You can give it directly or mix it with their food.
Check out our detailed article that’s all about Probiotics and what they can do for your dog.
alternatives to Benadryl for dogs – Final Thoughts
Natural substitutions for Benadryl can be just as effective and in some cases, better for your dog. Our top 6 alternatives are natural, affordable, and without the harsh chemicals found in Benadryl.
These amazing items can be easily found at your local supermarket or health store. You may even find many of them already in your kitchen cabinets.
We hope this blog post has been helpful to you. Please leave your comments below and let us know if there are any alternatives that work well for your anxious dog!
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All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice.
Transforming anxious pups with her wealth of hands-on practical experience, and qualified in the following disciplines: Holistic Healing, Canine Anxiety & Therapy, Zoopharmacognosy, and CBD Oil for Animals
Founder of Anxious Canine and proud member of the Complementary Medical Association.