Cetirizine (brand names Zyrtec®, Reactine®) is an antihistamine used to treat pruritus (itching) associated with atopic dermatitis, urticaria (hives) and insect bite reactions in cats and dogs. Its use in cats and dogs is off label or extra label.
Yes, you can give your dog Zyrtec. In fact, Zyrtec is one of the safest over-the-counter medications for dogs. It’s an excellent first aid choice and has wide safety margins – it’s not likely to cause any problems even when given in large doses.
Cetirizine (Zyrtec): ¼ – ½ mg per pound (one 10 mg tablet per 30-40 lbs) twice daily. Loratadine (Claritin): ¼ mg per pound (half a 10mg tablet per 20 pounds) once daily.
Zyrtec is available in 5 and 10 milligram (mg) tablets. Use only pure Zyrtec (cetirizine) and avoid using Zyrtec-D due to potentially serious side effects. The dose for dogs is approximately 0.5mg per pound or 0.5mg/lb, 1 to 2 times daily, not exceeding 20mg per dose.
Pet Allergy Relief
If you can’t live without your pet, a dog and cat allergy medicine can help control your pet allergy symptoms. ZYRTEC® starts working at hour 1 and stays strong day after day, allowing you to reduce your cat and dog allergy symptoms.
Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is the most popular antihistamine for humans and can also be effective for dogs. However, be aware that Benadryl has sedative properties, so your dog could become very sleepy. Other safe antihistamines for dogs include Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine).
The most common side effect of using Zyrtec in dogs is drowsiness. It’s still relatively rare, but can occur if your dog is just starting out on the drug or if the dosage is too high. Smaller dog breeds are more prone to this side effect.
Zyrtec works quickly once your dog has digested it and within 1-2 hours you should be able to see signs of improvement. Your vet will advise you on how many doses to give your dog each day.
Benadryl is commonly used to treat itching in dogs caused by skin allergies and it also reduces many of the other symptoms of allergies including: AKC participates in affiliate advertising programs that are developing were used to a means for websites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to akc.org.
The best allergy medication for dogs is Apoquel tablets for dogs. This medication treats the most common form of dog allergies, skin irritations, quickly and with minimal to no side effects.
Cetirizine (Zyrtec) ¼ – ½ mg per pound (one 10 mg tablet per 30-40 lbs) twice daily.
Both cetirizine (Zyrtec) and loratadine (Claritin) are considered safe for dogs at the correct dosage. However, they are also often combined with other ingredients such as decongestants that may harm your dog.