As a dog owner, it’s natural to be concerned when your pet exhibits unusual behaviors like sneezing. Understanding the reasons behind this and finding safe and effective treatments is a priority for many pet parents.

This blog explores the common causes of sneezing in dogs and delves into whether Benadryl, a medication familiar to many, can be a suitable remedy.


Understanding Sneezing in Dogs

Sneezing in dogs can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Allergies: Dogs can have environmental allergies, causing sneezing along with symptoms like watery eyes or scratching due to itchiness​​.
  • Play Sneezing: Dogs might sneeze during play as a sign of happiness and to signal playful behavior​​.
  • Reverse Sneezing: This phenomenon, often in response to excitement or irritants, involves sudden, repeated inhalations through the nose, sounding like honking​​.
  • Airborne Irritants: Pollen, dust, scented candles, smoke, or cleaning products can irritate a dog’s nasal passages, causing sneezing​​.
  • Foreign Bodies: Objects like grass or sticks stuck in nasal passages can cause severe irritation and sneezing​​.
  • Nasal Infections: Fungal or bacterial infections, sometimes originating from an infected tooth root, can lead to sneezing​​.
  • Nasal Mites: These bugs can severely irritate the nasal area, leading to frequent sneezing and discharge​​.
  • Nasal Tumors: Particularly in older dogs, nasal tumors can increase sneezing frequency, sometimes causing bleeding​​.
Sneezing In Dogs

Certain symptoms like sneezing blood, or concurrent sneezing and coughing or wheezing, can indicate more serious conditions​​​​​​.

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl is a brand name for diphenhydramine HCl, an antihistamine that blocks histamine receptors in the body, alleviating allergy symptoms like itching, sneezing, and hives. Though not FDA-approved for veterinary use, it’s widely considered safe and commonly used in veterinary practices in the U.S.​

You may also like reading about: Does Benadryl Treat Vertigo In Dogs?

Efficacy of Benadryl in Treating Sneezing in Dogs


Benadryl, a brand name for the antihistamine diphenhydramine, is commonly used in dogs to manage allergy symptoms, including sneezing.

Although not officially approved by the FDA for use in animals, it’s widely employed off-label in veterinary medicine for treating allergies, allergic reactions, and motion sickness.

By blocking histamine receptors, Benadryl helps alleviate itching, inflammation, runny nose, and sneezing associated with allergies in dogs​​.

Veterinary Insights and Studies

Veterinarians often recommend Benadryl for its safety and effectiveness in managing allergic reactions and symptoms in dogs. However, some studies and veterinary experts indicate mixed opinions about its effectiveness, suggesting that the drug may not always be effective for all the listed uses in dogs.

Despite this, its widespread use in veterinary practice underlines its perceived benefits​​.

Dosage and Administration

The safe dosage of Benadryl for dogs typically depends on the dog’s size and weight. The general dosing guideline is 1 to 2 milligrams of Benadryl per pound of body weight. Benadryl is available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, chewables, oral liquid, and injections.

It’s crucial to follow veterinary guidance on the correct dosage to avoid the risk of overdose​​.

Potential Side Effects


While Benadryl is generally considered safe for dogs, it can have side effects. Common side effects include;

  • central nervous system depression (e.g., lethargy, sedation)
  • gastrointestinal effects (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting)
  • and excitement or agitation

In cases of overdose, more severe symptoms like seizures, respiratory depression, and cardiovascular abnormalities may occur​​.


Benadryl can be an effective treatment for sneezing in dogs caused by allergies, but its efficacy might vary. The appropriate dosage, determined by a veterinarian based on the dog’s specific needs, is critical to avoid potential side effects or overdose.

Always consult a vet before administering any medication, including Benadryl, to ensure it’s the right treatment for your dog’s condition and to get guidance on safe administration.


Can I Give My Dog Benadryl for Other Symptoms Besides Sneezing?

Yes, Benadryl can be used for a range of allergy-related symptoms in dogs, including skin and environmental allergies, severe allergic reactions, insect bites or stings, inflammation or itching from allergies, hives, runny nose and eyes, coughing, anaphylactic reactions from vaccines, travel anxiety, and motion sickness​​.

Are There Any Breeds That Should Not Take Benadryl?

Specific information regarding dog breeds that should not take Benadryl was not found. However, it is known that dogs with certain health conditions like glaucoma, hypertension, heart disease, lung disease, hypothyroidism, and seizure disorders may be adversely affected by Benadryl and may require different treatments​​.

What Should I Do if My Dog Has a Negative Reaction to Benadryl?

If your dog experiences any worrisome symptoms after taking Benadryl, such as pronounced sedation or agitation, severe unsteadiness, disorientation, aggression, slow breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, coma, or seizures, you should immediately call your veterinarian for advice​​.

Doctor Xeeshan

Doctor Xeeshan

I am Doctor Xeeshan, located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. In this blog, I am providing authentic information about dog breeds, diseases, medications, etc.

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