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My Dog Is Having an Allergic Reaction!

Summer months are great for being outside with your dog at camp or out for a good long walk on a nature trail. With that fun, comes insects that are potential hazards to you as well as your dog. These pesky insects see our pets as one delicious blood meal, and they are relentless.

Clients will call during the summer months, about their dogs having some reaction to a bug that bit or stung them while having fun in the sun. The winter months can also be hazardous for pesky bug bites as well. Winter spiders living in our homes are also looking for a meal, and that usually is your sleeping pet. Usually, these client calls are in the morning when they are awakened by their swollen faced dog wagging its tail ready for breakfast. Good news though, antihistamines are easy and inexpensive to buy. They are fast acting, medication and things can quickly be back to normal after a few doses.

How do antihistamines work? Histamine is a chemical made by the body in response to our immune system. Normally there isn’t an issue when pets don’t have allergies. However, when pets have allergies, their body overreacts causing unwanted swelling. The antihistamine blocks the H1 receptors which stop them from reaching their target, so swelling is reduced or doesn’t even start.

Can antihistamine’s be used for preventative measures? Yes, they can! For example, some dogs are allergic to vaccines. So, on their first reaction, we will have the owners treat with Benadryl every eight hours for two days post vaccines. Then for any future vaccines, they will pretreat starting two days before their appointment and two days post-appointment and avoiding any reactions from the vaccines.

How much do I give my dog?
The standard dosage for liquid Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is 1mg per pound, given 2-3 times a day. Most drug store Benadryl (diphenhydramine) tablets are 25 mg, which is the size used for a 25lb dog. Always double check the dosage before giving an over the counter medication. Many formulations are combined with other medicines such as Tylenol so make sure Benadryl tablets contain only diphenhydramine.

Always consult your vet when you are unsure as to how much or how often you are to treat your dog.

Written by: Jennifer, Receptionist

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