Can I Give Zyrtec To My Dog & Zyrtec Dosage

There is nothing worse than watching your furry friend struggle with itchy skin. Constant itching can deeply impact a pup, causing chronic irritation and secondary complications.

Humans often turn to Zyrtec to help take care of their itchy allergies, so can it work for dogs as well?

In this article we will discuss the details of Zyrtec use in our canine companions, and help you understand how to safely offer this medication to your pup.

Can You Give A Dog Zyrtec?

Can I Give Zyrtec To My Dog

Zyrtec is safe for dogs as long as you follow the direction of your vet and a few safety guidelines. Zyrtec, or Cetirizine, is a popular method of itch relief in our canine friends due to how few side effects there are, and the fact that Zyrtec does not cause drowsiness like other allergy medications.

While Zyrtec is safe for dogs, you should never give your dog ‘Zyrtec-D’. This form of Zyrtec contains an ingredient called pseudoephedrine, which is added to the medication to combat congestion.

This can act as a stimulant for our canine friends, leading to kidney and liver complications in some cases. This is why it is so important to examine the label closely when purchasing any over the counter meds for your pup.

It’s important to note that Zyrtec is not recommended for use in some dogs.

You should always speak to your vet before giving Zyrtec to:

  • Pregnant or nursing dogs
  • Dogs with other medical conditions
  • Dogs taking other daily medications or supplements
  • Dogs under 1 year of age
  • Dogs with seizure disorders
  • or senior dogs

What Does Zyrtec Do For Dogs?

The active ingredient in Zyrtec is an antihistamine called Cetirizine, which aims to control symptoms like itchy eyes, itchy skin, runny noses, and even hives.

Though Benadryl is a common competitor for this impressive medication, it is free of any residual drowsiness that often comes along with other products.

To help you better understand how this antihistamine can help your pup, let’s list the most common uses of Zyrtec in dogs below. We should note that even though we are discussing the use of Zyrtec for your dog, you should never offer it to your pup without speaking to your vet first.

Zyrtec For Seasonal Allergies In Dogs

Some dogs can experience seasonal allergies due to an influx of certain plant material or pollen in their environment. Seasonal allergies can cause many of the same symptoms as they do in humans, ranging from itchy skin to sneezing.

Zyrtec can be useful in decreasing these symptoms, and providing relief on days they seem to struggle.

Many pet owners turn to Zyrtec as a curative method for allergy symptoms, or even as a preventative method during periods they usually struggle through.

Zyrtec For Itching In Dogs

Dogs can experience itchy skin due to conditions such as flea allergies, food allergies, seasonal allergies, and more. Due to Zyrtec being an antihistamine that targets the source of the allergic response, it can help to limit skin irritation and prevent further trauma due to biting and scratching.

While chronic itching should always be addressed by a professional to identify the factor, Zyrtec can help to offer some immediate relief.

Zyrtec For Insect Bites In Dogs

Zyrtec can help to limit an allergic response due to insect bites. Similar to you and I, things like ant bites and mosquito bites can cause an allergic response that leads to skin irritation.

While Zyrtec is not an adequate treatment for severe allergic reactions, it can help to resolve localized skin itching around the bite.

Zyrtec For Hives In Dogs

Zyrtec works by blocking the naturally occurring histamine when a dog has a reaction, meaning Zyrtec can help to treat hives in some cases.

Hives often form as a response to an allergen exposure, ranging from vaccine reactions to food allergies.

While hives should always be addressed by a veterinarian, some will recommend the use of Zyrtec if your pup is displaying signs of a minor reaction.

Zyrtec Side Effects To Watch Out For

One of the reasons Zyrtec is so popular for use in dogs is due to the minimal side effects that it causes. When dosed correctly, the side effects of Zyrtec are virtually nonexistent.

While a small number of small breed dogs have experienced some drowsiness, this is still quite rare.

The likelihood of Zyrtec side effects increase when dogs receive too large of a dose, or when given to dogs that are warned against taking the medication.

As we mentioned above, there are a few categories of canine friends that should avoid the use of Zyrtec.

Some possible side effects of Zyrtec overdose include hypersalivation, vomiting, hyperactivity, and drowsiness.

If your pup ever gets their paws on a large amount of Zyrtec, we highly suggest contacting your veterinarian for further care.

Drug Interactions For Zyrtec In Dogs

There are a few potential drug interactions to be aware of when offering your pup Zyrtec for their itchy skin.

Some of the most common drug interaction to be aware of for Zyrtec include:

  • Diazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Digoxin
  • Phenobarbital

It’s not necessarily dangerous to take these medications together, but it can result in an increased likelihood of side effects.

If your pup takes any of the following medication, you should always speak to your vet before offering any antihistamines.

What Is The Zyrtec Dosage for Dogs?

The best way to determine a safe Zyrtec dose for your dog is by speaking with your vet. Each dose will vary based on your dog’s size, as well as the current issue you are trying to treat.

While you should always speak with your vet before offering a specific dose, we can briefly discuss the general dosing guidelines for this medication.

The standard Zyrtec dose for dogs is generally 0.5mg per pound of body weight, not exceeding 20 mg per day.

For example, a 20 pound dog should receive 10mg of Zyrtec for their once daily dose.

If the calculated dose for your dog’s weight range exceeds 20 mg, you should always double check with your vet.

Zyrtec does have a large safety margin, but it’s always best to be safe.

Are There Better Options Than Zyrtec For Dogs?

Zyrtec can be a wonderful option for itchy furry friends, but there are better options available.

A step up would involve prescription allergy and itch medications from your veterinarian, as these medications target the allergy related cytokines at the source.

Medications like Apoquel and Cytopoint help to eliminate itching in dogs with severe allergies, offering a significant improvement in skin irritations and secondary infections.

While these options are more expensive than daily Zyrtec, they are more effective in the long run.

Zyrtec Alternatives For Dogs

Thankfully for our furry friends, there are a few safe over the counter antihistamine options for our dogs. While other options can cause more drowsiness, they are typically safe for use in dogs.

Some Zyrtec alternatives include:

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Meclizine (often used for motion sickness)

Just as you would with Zyrtec, we always suggest speaking with your vet before offering any of the above medications.

Final Thoughts

Zyrtec is safe over the counter option for our canine companions. Be sure to review the dosage amount and consult your vet if you have a larger dog that would exceed the 20mg daily limit.

As with all medications, you should consult your local veterinarian for further instructions and correct dosage.

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