Loratadine (Claritin) For Dogs – Is It Safe?
Allergy sufferers around the world turn to loratadine to solve an array of irritating symptoms.
With humans finding allergy relief with daily loratadine (Claritin), many wonder if our canine friends can benefit from this medication as well.
Veterinarians have begun to utilize loratadine in situations involving acute or chronic allergic reactions in our canine friends.
To help you better understand how this medication can help your pup, let’s get into the many details below.
In this article we will be using the terms Loratadine and Claritin interchangeably, as these terms refer to the same medication.
What Is Loratadine?
Loratadine, or Claritin, is an antihistamine used to treat chronic and acute allergies in humans.
Loratadine is a member of the piperidine class of antihistamines, and has been found to be effective in helping our canine companions as well.
Some dogs do not respond to other antihistamines like Benadryl and Cetirizine, but experience significant relief with this medication’s chemical structure.
One of the most significant differences between Claritin and other antihistamines is the fact that it does not cross the blood-brain barrier.
Loratadine will not cause significant drowsiness in our pups for this reason, making it ideal for long term use.
Is Loratadine Safe For Use In Dogs?
Loratadine is safe for use in dogs when following the guidance of your veterinarian.
Serious side effects from Claritin use in dogs are considered rare, and the medication has few drug interactions.
As long as you follow your vet’s dosing instructions and keep them informed on your pet’s symptoms along the way, your pup should be just fine when taking this medication.
While this is the case with any other medication, your dog will need to be closely monitored if they have any chronic conditions that impact their body’s metabolism.
Medical conditions like liver and kidney disease can make your pup more at risk of experiencing side effects, so these pups may require special consideration.
Your vet is the only one that is educated on your pet’s health and medical history, so we always suggest speaking with them before starting any new over the counter medications.
Is Claritin The Same As Claritin-D?
While most dogs can safely take Claritin, you should never give your dog Claritin-D.
Claritin-D contains an ingredient called pseudoephedrine to target congestion, and it can be extremely toxic to our canine friends.
Pseudoephedrine is a sympathomimetic ingredient that stimulates the cardiovascular and nervous system, but the dosing in these medications can be fatal to dogs.
Claritin-D consumption in dogs can lead to extreme agitation, restlessness, tremors, seizures, rapid heart rate, respiratory distress, and difficulty breathing.
If your pup ever gets their paws on a medication with pseudoephedrine, we suggest contacting your veterinarian immediately.
Experts are beginning to research the potential benefits of small doses of pseudoephedrine in dogs, but it does not mean we should offer our dogs anything with this ingredient without veterinary guidance.
If you have any questions about ingredients in over-the-counter medications, we always recommend giving your vet a call.
Is Xylitol In Claritin?
Some dissolving loratadine tablets may contain xylitol to offer a more desirable taste.
Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar.
These medications are designed with human consumption in mind, and this ingredient is essentially harmless to us.
Due to this potential risk, we suggest steering clear of any chewable or dissolvable human medications for your pup.
If you are ever in doubt, you can always ask your veterinarian for their advice.
Why Would A Dog Need Loratadine?
Loratadine targets medical conditions that release histamines, meaning this is a wonderful tool to manage acute and chronic allergies in our canine companions.
Some dogs have a better response to this type of antihistamine than others, as well as the fact that it will not cause the typical drowsiness you expect from diphenhydramine.
Some of the most common reasons a veterinarian will prescribe loratadine include:
- Insect bites and stings
- Vaccine reactions
- Acute skin allergies
- Chronic skin allergies
- Eye irritation due to allergies
While loratadine may be a first line of defense in some situations, many vets will explore this route when dogs lack significant relief from other antihistamines.
With it being a different form of antihistamine than others, some dogs will have a better response to this option.
Dogs with mast cell tumors may benefit from the use of Claritin as well.
Dogs with mast cell tumors can experience chronic inflammation and allergic responses due to the release of histamines from the tumor.
By using daily loratadine, these pups can find relief without constant drowsiness.
Side Effects Of Loratadine In Dogs
Side effects of loratadine use in dogs are rare, but they occur occasionally.
Most of these symptoms are minor, and those with significant side effects often struggle with underlying medical conditions.
Some of the most common side effects of Claritin use in dogs include:
- Dry mouth or increased thirst
- Dry eye
If your dog develops any of the above symptoms after starting loratadine, it’s best to reach out to your veterinarian for further guidance.
Some dogs will simply require a change in dosing, while others may need to explore a different treatment route.
Will Loratadine Make My Dog Drowsy?
Loratadine does not cross the blood-brain barrier in dogs, so it should not cause drowsiness in your furry friend.
If your dog does experience any drowsiness when offered Claritin, it could be a sign that their body is having a hard time metabolizing the medication properly.
This could be due to having liver or kidney disease, or even due to taking other medications that interact with the antihistamine.
If your dog is suddenly drowsy or lethargic after starting Claritin, we suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.
They may be able to offer a simple explanation based on your dog’s medical history, adjust their dosing as needed, or even suggest performing diagnostics to rule out any underlying conditions.
Loratadine (Claritin) Doses For Dogs
You should always reach out to your veterinarian for proper dosing of loratadine, but there is a general guideline when it comes to offering Claritin to our pups.
Most dogs will be dosed with anywhere from 0.1 to 0.5mg per pound of body weight, with doses ranging based on how severe their allergies are.
This can also vary based on your dog’s health condition and current medication use, so it’s important to refrain from giving your pup this medication until you speak with your vet.
Claritin is an effective antihistamine that can be used to treat allergies in our canine friends.
If your pup struggles with chronic irritation from environmental allergies, it may be time to discuss the use of loratadine with your vet.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.