Is Claritin Safe for Dogs?

Allergies plague creatures of all species. While you’re sneezing, coughing, and dealing with red, itchy eyes, it’s possible that your canine companion is also suffering the ravages of pollen and ragweed. If Claritin is a staple in your medicine cabinet, it’s possible that this little pill is the answer for your pooch’s allergies, too.

Can I Give My Dog Claritin?

Claritin (loratadine) is a very popular antihistamine for humans, and it’s also safe to give to dogs under your vet’s supervision. Given at the correct dosage, it’s both safe and effective at treating environmental allergies and it has minimal dog side effects.

Is Claritin Safe for My Dog?

If your vet has recommended Claritin for your dog, then it is very safe for them. Loratadine is an antihistamine, which means it counteracts histamine, the body’s chemical response to something it sees as an invader. These invaders can be anything from pollen to an insect bite. Even food allergies can create a histamine response in dogs. When a dog has an allergic reaction to something, the symptoms aren’t always identical to yours. While you might have a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and a sore throat, your dog will most likely experience reddened skin, rashes, hives, and even swelling in the face and throat. A severe allergic reaction will result in the swelling of the actual airway.

The only times Claritin isn’t recommended is if your dog has liver disease or they’re on other antihistamines. Research has shown that mixing Claritin with drugs like erythromycin, ketoconazole, and cimetidine can produce marked drowsiness. If your dog is regularly taking any kind of medication, always mention it your veterinarian to avoid any negative interactions.

Use Caution When Purchasing Claritin

Always read the label! You know how easy it is to accidentally buy sugar-free ice cream, and it’s just as easy to buy the formulation of Claritin that’s dangerous to your dog. Under no circumstances should your dog ever have Claritin-D. One of the active ingredients in this formulation is pseudoephedrine, a decongestant. When you read the label, the only active ingredient should be loratadine.

Avoid the liquid version of Claritin. Many liquid medications contain alcohol as a main ingredient and the amount is much too high for your dog to safely metabolize.

How Much Claritin Can I Give My Dog?

How much Claritin your dog requires for a noticeable reduction in their allergic response will depend on their size and the severity of their reaction. The average dog dosage that’s typically administered to dogs is 0.2 mg for each pound of body weight. Your vet might recommend 5 mg every 24 hours for dogs that are on a smaller size. Larger dogs, like Labradors and retrievers, can safely take 10 mg a day. However, this dose might be lower if your dog’s allergies aren’t that bad, or the dose could be higher to battle severe allergies. Seeing your vet for a quick visit will ensure you’re giving your dog the correct amount for their individual case. Your vet will also show you how to calculate the correct amount and then administer the right dose based on the formulation you’re giving your dog.

What Does Claritin Treat?

Claritin treats a wide variety of allergic symptoms. It’s very good at treating allergies that create skin irritation in your dog, especially a condition known as atopic canine dermatitis. Atopic canine dermatitis presents with your dog licking and chewing their paws and legs, excessive itching, and hair loss. Hot spots are also common. If you don’t know what a hot spot is, it starts out as a small sore on your dog that they constantly chew or lick. The more they lick it, the bigger it gets. It eventually starts oozing, and the hair surrounding the sore begins to fall off. Hot spots are very painful and irritating, and they are easily infected.

Atopic canine dermatitis is usually caused by inhaled allergens like mold or pollen. Dogs who suffer chronically benefit from a regular schedule of antihistamines, anti-inflammatory medicines like steroids, a limited-ingredient diet, and fatty acid supplements.

What Can I Give My Dog for Allergies?

There are lots of medication options for your dog. If one thing doesn’t work, chances are there’s something else out there that will do an amazing job at relieving your dog’s misery. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is a commonly recommended antihistamine to treat allergies, but it does have quite a sedative effect on some dogs. Chronic allergies that don’t go away and cause extreme itchiness can be treated with Apoquel, a drug specially formulated for pruritis. It typically provides relief within four hours of administration and controls the itching for at least 24 hours. It’s safe when used in conjunction with most other medications, too, including NSAIDs, antibiotics, and other allergy medicines.

If your dog has lived with allergies for most of their life, you’ve seen how miserable they are. Restless nights and obsessive chewing and licking are enough to make you want to treat your dog with anything you think might work. However, you should have a detailed conversation with your vet about your dog’s symptoms before giving them Claritin. It’s best to cover all of your bases before you give your dog a human medication just in case there are better options available.