When do Vets Recommend Zyrtec for Dogs?

When do Vets Recommend Zyrtec for Dogs?

Author WDF Staff


Love isn’t the only thing we share with our dogs; allergies are as well. Just like humans, dogs can develop allergies, which can be painful and somewhat irritating to deal with. Luckily, there are some available options for our furry best friends and us. The good news is - some allergy medication we can share.

There are plenty of remedies and OTC (over-the-counter) allergy medications available in your local drug stores, and Zyrtec is one of them. It is a relatively safe drug you can give to your dog if they are suffering from allergies, but there are some things you should know before you do that.

What is Zyrtec?

Zyrtec is a so-called antihistamine allergy medication. Its main goal is to control the histamine intake and ease the allergy symptoms. When our dogs (or us) are experiencing an allergic reaction, it means their body is overreacting to an allergen it is encountering. The compound responsible for the “allergic” response is called histamine. It binds itself to cells and blood vessels and initiates a reaction like watery eyes, runny nose, or itching.

Zyrtec blocks histamine from binding and helps ease the allergic reaction. It is a part of the second-generation allergy medications. It is quickly becoming one of the most popular human allergy medications. The active ingredient in Zyrtec is called cetirizine.

When do vets recommend Zyrtec?

Vets usually recommend Zyrtec for one type of allergy - environmental. That means this is not an effective drug or the best choice for other types of allergies: food, contact, and flea. In those cases, other options might be better.

One more thing you should keep in mind is that Zyrtec might not work for your dog. Medications can have different effects on dogs, just like on humans. Some of us might prefer Zyrtec and be completely happy with the effects; others might be happier with Claritin or Benadryl. The same can happen with your dog. It is vital that you don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t end up helping your dog. Instead, talk to your vet, and ask for advice on other options.

One of the most popular human medications that are safe for dogs is Benadryl. You can read more about it here - Benadryl for dogs.

Zyrtec dosage for dogs

Like with any other medication, there are some things to keep in mind, and the most important one is the dosage. If you do not follow the recommended dosage, you can end up overdosing your dog, which can have tragic consequences. Ask your vet for advice on proper dosages, and stick to them. Generally, vets will recommend following this formula - 0,5 milligrams for every pound of your dog’s body weight.

Zyrtec comes in pill forms, and two available pills are 5-milligram and 10-milligram. Here is a helpful chart that can help you determine how much Zyrtec you should give your dog.

  • 10-pound dog - 1 5-milligram tablet or half 10-milligram tablet
  • 20-pound dog - 2 5-milligram tablets or 1 10-milligram tablet
  • 30-pound dog - 3 5-milligram tablets or 1.5 10-milligram tablets
  • 40-pound dog - 4 5-milligram tablets or 2 10-milligram tablets
  • The maximum dosage is 20 milligrams, and even if you have a 100-pound dog, one dose should never exceed 20 milligrams.

Zyrtec-D for dogs

There are two versions of this medication; one is safe for dogs and one you should strictly avoid. The letter “D” stands for pseudoephedrine, which is extremely toxic to dogs. It can quickly overstimulate your dog’s heart and nervous system. It will most likely trigger seizures or heart failure. The worst-case scenario can end up being fatal.

Zyrtec side effects

Like with any other medication, there are some potential side effects. Luckily, this is a pretty safe allergy medication, and side effects are extremely rare. However, they can happen, and it would be best if you are aware of them. Some Zyrtec side effects are:

When should I avoid giving Zyrtec to my dog?

There are potential drug interactions you should avoid, so if your dog is taking diazepam, alprazolam (central nervous depressants), and digoxin. It would also be a good idea to tell your vet if your dog is on any supplements like vitamins or glucosamine. Also, if your dog has some of these preexisting conditions, you should avoid giving them Zyrtec:

Overdosing on Zyrtec

Overdosing on Zyrtec is not very likely to happen, but you should keep a close eye on your dog after the first few dosages of Zyrtec. The biggest problem that can occur is mixing Zyrtec and Zyrtec-D. The latter one contains pseudoephedrine, which is extremely toxic. If that happens, you should call your vet immediately and let them know you are coming. If they can’t take you, take your dog to the closest animal ER.

One possible way you can help your dog with itching is by giving them a bath with a mild shampoo. Check out this article - What is the Best Dog Shampoo?

Keep in mind that this is an informational article, and it can never replace your vet’s advice. Ask your vet for recommendations and advice on whether Zyrtec is a good option for your dog.

World Dog Finder team

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