Is Claritin Safe For Dogs?
Dealing with allergies is irritating. If you have seasonal allergies, you know precisely how annoying they can be. One of the best ways to deal with that issue is by taking antihistamine medications, and one of the best-known brands of antihistamine is Claritin. Like humans, dogs can have different types of allergies. They can have seasonal, food, cleaning products, or insect bite allergies that can make their lives miserable.
It is not uncommon for vets to recommend giving dogs human medication. The off-label use of meds, like Claritin for dogs, is common. Luckily, many medications can help our dogs battle allergies. Claritin is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug that you can purchase in your local drug store. It blocks the influence histamine has on the dog’s body, and it is a relatively cheap and easy way to help dogs deal with mild allergies. However, you should only give Claritin to your dog under strict vet supervision. Never give any meds to your dog without consulting your vet first.
Let’s go through some basic things owners need to know about giving Claritin to their dogs.
Claritin is an allergy medication. It doesn’t need a prescription, but you should never give it to your dog without a vet’s recommendation. Claritin has an active ingredient called loratadine, which is a second-generation histamine antagonist that blocks the body’s reaction to allergens. A great thing about second-generation histamine antagonists is that they don’t make people or dogs sleepy. Meds like Benadryl might make our dogs and us sleepy, and that’s why Benadryl belongs to the first-generation histamine antagonists.
The good news is - YES, dogs can take Claritin. It is considered a relatively safe and harmless allergy medication that can help dogs deal with different types of allergies. However, talk to your vet and see if this is a good option for your dog. Your vet will know your dog’s medical history, and they are best equipped to know exactly what your dog might need and what the best option for them is.
As dog owners, we love to know what a specific medication does to our dog’s body. This doesn’t make us veterinary experts, but when we talk to vets in our team, we feel more at ease when we know what a drug does. Before we go into the specific effect Claritin has, we need to understand how allergies are triggered.
When an allergen enters the body, the dog’s immune system responds. Common allergens can be completely harmless, and things like pollen or chicken (typical dog allergens) won’t harm them. However, their immune system thinks these things are a threat and releases histamines to fight off the intruders. The immune system overreacts, and histamines will trigger responses like redness, swelling, and severe itchiness. This can be painful, but it can become life-threatening when the reaction happens in the dog’s throat.
Luckily, antihistamine medications, like Claritin for dogs, help block the effect histamines have on the dog’s body. They might block the histamine release completely. These types of medications are usually the first thing your vet might recommend. However, that is only used for minor reactions. If you notice your dog has trouble breathing or their throat is swelling up, you should take them to the pet ER as soon as possible.
Want to know more about allergy medications for dogs? Check out this article - Which allergy medications are safe for dogs?
Like any other medication, Claritin for dogs can cause some side effects. The good news is they are relatively rare. This is considered a reasonably safe drug for humans and dogs. However, some side effects can include;
- Urinary retention
- Higher chances of seizures in dogs with neurological issues
If you notice your dog is experiencing any of these side effects, it would be best to call your vet and let them know what’s going on.
When giving your dog any kind of medication, the key thing to do is follow your vet’s instructions regarding dosages and frequency. You must follow the instruction to the letter; you don’t want to end up overdosing your dog on any medication. This is even more true when it comes to the off-label use of human medication. Talk to your vet and see what the safe dosage of Claritin for dogs is. The typical Claritin dosages for dogs is 0.2 milligrams per pound of body weight. Here is a helpful Claritin dosage chart;
SAFETY NOTICE: Not all types of Claritin are safe for dogs. Claritin D contains pseudoephedrine, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Never give your dog medications containing pseudoephedrine.
World Dog Finder team