Antihistamines for Dogs

Antihistamines for Dogs: How to Deal with Those Sneezes & Coughs

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission. See our advertising disclosure.
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.
See our advertising disclosure.

Allergies in dogs are no fun so why not give antihistamines for dogs?

Who wants to see their beloved pup scratch and itching like crazy? Allergies can lead to other more serious and painful symptoms!

Luckily there are ways you can stop your pup from having a violent allergic to allergens. Keep reading to find out what to do when your pet is susceptible to allergies.

What Are Antihistamines for Dogs?

What Are Antihistamines for Dogs

Antihistamines for dogs are drugs used to combat the effects of an allergic reaction in a dog’s body. There are specific antihistamines for humans, dogs, cats, and all kinds of mammals you can think of!

Scientists aren’t yet sure exactly why some dogs are genetically more prone to developing allergic reactions than others. But, for the time being, keep in mind that most pet allergens are proteins found in plants, animals, foods, and insects.

There are also some seasons when your pup is more likely to develop an allergic reaction. These are called seasonal allergies and it affects cats, dogs, and humans alike. Just think of how during the start of spring, you find more people sneezing and wheezing on the street. It’s all that pollen!

Dog antihistamines are used to treat these allergic reactions, which can range from mild to severe. There are medications that are safe for pets and others that are not.

Allergy Medicine for Dogs: What Does an Antihistamine Do?

When a dog comes into contact with something they’re allergic to (pollen, dust mites, ragweed…), their body produces histamines. These chemicals trigger the symptoms we’re used to seeing in people and dogs with allergies. Think of a stuffy nose, runny eyes, itching, inflammation of the skin and inner ears, a dry mouth, and more.

Antihistamines for dogs are part of every owner’s and vet’s emergency handbook when fighting dog allergies. These drugs block the histamines from having any effect on a dog’s body. This means that the negative symptoms of an allergy won’t be triggered — which is great!

But antihistamines for dogs don’t fix all the problems in all dogs. Your dog’s allergic reaction may be due to mast cell tumors. Giving them an antihistamine will take care of the visible symptoms, but it won’t take care of any underlying problems.

What Can I Give My Dog for Allergies?

There are different kinds of medicine that can treat allergies. Instead of using antihistamines, you could use steroids or even allergy shots, but these two are usually not the first-option treatment. Alternatively, there are some home remedies that do work on mild bouts of allergic reactions.

So, if you’re choosing to give your dog antihistamines, it’s important to know that not all drugs on the market are suited for pups. Always look at the components of the drugs and get a vet to decide whether or not they’re safe for your pets.

While medication is the best way to get over an allergic reaction, prevention is the best cure. To avoid having to put your dog through this nagging and painful bout of allergies, you should find out the cause.

Trying an elimination diet is a good way of finding out if your dog has food allergies. But if you’d rather not go through this hassle, you can always ask your vet for an allergy testing session. That will tell you if you should shelter your pup from pollen, mites, a specific food, or something else.

Treating with Vets Preferred Omega-3 Fatty Acids!

ets Preferred Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Some dog owners prefer to go down the natural-medicine route — and we completely understand that! There are health supplements that can help with allergies and other health problems.

Vets Preferred is a dedicated company that specializes in dog health supplements. Their supplements are high in Omega-3 fatty acids that can help puppers get over their allergic reactions. Not only that, but a diet that’s rich in Omega-3 and other fatty acids is a big step towards preventing these reactions from happening as often.

It’s great for dogs who are usually fighting the allergy symptoms! It’s all about strengthening their immune systems and building up a healthy and resilient skin and coat!

This course of action (preventing the appearance of allergic reactions) is called prophylactic treatment and has a lot of supporters worldwide. Holistic doctors and owners recommend it as a good alternative to using traditional meds.

Zyrtec for Dogs: A Dog Allergy Medicine

zyrtec for dogs

Get it on Amazon

If you’ve dealt with allergies yourself, you might have a bottle of Zyrtec lying around in your medicine cabinet at home. It’s only logical to wonder whether or not you can give Zyrtec to your furry friend as well.

Can I Give My Dog Zyrtec?

You can give your dog Zyrtec but with one condition. Dogs can only handle Zyrtec that does not have pseudoephedrine in it. This means that Zyrtec-D is safe for humans but not for dogs!

Both brand-name and generic Zyrtec can be found with no difficulty. You can find it online or at stores (such as pharmacies or pet clinics).

Zyrtec Dosage for Dogs?

The recommended dosage of Zyrtec for dogs is 0.5mg per every lb dog weight. This is a dose that should be given every 12 to 24 hours. If you follow these recommendations, you’ll see that your dog will get better in no time!

What About Apoquel Generic for Dogs?

apoquel for dogs

Get it on Chewy

Another popular antihistamine for itching puppies is Apoquel. Allergic reactions can be caused by a variety of factors, such as an over-sensitivity to fleas, atopic dermatitis, and other things. Apoquel can be given to some dogs, but you should talk to your veterinarian before you administer it.

Dogs who are lactating, used for breeding, and those who have a compromised immune system shouldn’t take Apoquel. If these descriptions don’t fit your four-legged friend, you may go ahead and give them Apoquel.

Claritin for Dogs: Yes, This Human Antihistamine Can Be Used in Dogs Too!

Claritin for dogs

Get it on Amazon

Claritin is yet another kind of oral antihistamines that is sold over the counter and is safe for dogs. But, as is the case with all other made-for-human drugs, you should talk to your vet before administering it.

Can Dogs Take Claritin: Loratadine for Dogs

Veterinarians will often recommend Claritin for dogs with allergies. It usually doesn’t have any side effects when administered properly. This means that you need to take into consideration your dog’s medical history (and ask your vet) giving it to your furkid.

You’ll find this drug sold under its brand name (Claritin) and under a generic. The name of the main active component in it is Loratadine. Make sure to look for other hidden ingredients when buying a generic.

Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Dogs: Which Is Best for Your Pup!

The tricky thing about allergies is that every dog reacts in a different way. This means that just because one particular drug worked on one dog, it doesn’t mean it will on another. Because of this, we can’t say for sure which of the two antihistamines will work best on your dog.

However, we can compare the active ingredients in each of the drugs. Zyrtec’s active ingredient is cetirizine hydrochloride (or cetirizine HCL), while Claritin’s is Loratadine.

Some people reported feeling dizzy after taking Zyrtec. But, since both drugs are second-generation antihistamines, drowsiness doesn’t happen often at all.

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl for Itching? Liquid Benadryl for Dogs

Benadryl for Dogs

Get it on Amazon

Benadryl is one of the most commonly used antihistamine drugs in humans. And the good news is that, yes, you can give your dog Benadryl for their allergies.

Diphenhydramine for Dogs

The main active ingredient in Benadryl is diphenhydramine. This is a completely safe substance for all dogs, but, if you’re still doubting whether or not to give Fido a dose, talk to your vet beforehand.

Generic Benadryl packets are also sold as a cheaper alternative to this brand-name drug. They, too, are completely safe (when they don’t have other additives) and have diphenhydramine as their main active compound.

Benadryl Dosing for Dogs

The recommended Benadryl dosage for dogs is 1mg per lb dog body weight. This means that if your furry friend weighs 20 pounds, the recommended dose is 20mg, and so on.

3 Facts You Need to Know About Allergy Meds for Dogs

If you’re still curious about allergy meds for dogs, here are 3 facts you might not already know.

  1. Antihistamines for dogs are the drugs most used to fight allergies, but steroids and allergy shots are also given in more serious cases.
  2. Not all human allergy meds are safe for dog consumption. So, it is important to talk to your vet if you think your dog is having an allergic reaction.
  3. Dogs need much smaller doses of allergy meds than those that are recommended for humans.

So, Are Over-the-Counter Antihistamine Pills Safe for Dogs?

Are Over-the-Counter Antihistamine Pills Safe for Dogs

While some over-the-counter antihistamines are safe for dogs, not all of them are. Zyrtec, Claritin, and Benadryl are just some of the meds that both humans and dogs can take safely. But other OTC antihistamines may have added decongestants, which are not safe for dogs.

Always read the label and ask your vet!

Common Questions on Antihistamines for Dogs

How do antihistamines work?

What drugs can I give to my dog to stop an allergic reaction?

Can I give any antihistamine to my dog?