Can I Give My Dog Allegra?

Can I Give My Dog Allegra?Some pets, when exposed to certain allergens, are hypersensitive and can develop allergic symptoms. Your dog can also be affected with skin irritations, runny eyes and sneezing. You, like many owners, may be considering Allegra for such problems.

While humans rely on popular antihistamines to reduce the effects of allergies, use for canines isn’t so clear cut. So is Allegra suitable for pets or are the risks just too great? Let’s learn more for your dog’s sake.

While Allegra can reduce the effects of histamine in dogs, you really should get a professional diagnosis first. The good news is that allergens are mostly harmless substances. But, if symptoms persist, most types of allergies should be addressed.

Can I Give My Dog Allegra? Answer: Yes, with vet approval

It’s effective for pets but should only be given under guidance from a veterinarian.

Allegra, the brand name for Fexofenadine or Fexofenadina, must be given for the right purpose and at the correct dosage. Get your dog a professional diagnosis when persistent allergic reactions arise for which you cannot trace the source. A thorough examination may reveal what’s actually causing the allergy and the most effective treatment becomes possible. Allegra may or may not be the best option.

We’ve had luck with a natural skin treatment made for dogs which works well for itchy skin and cracked paws.

Tackle Allergies Head On

Veterinarians do give dogs antihistamines such as Allegra, Benadryl or Claritin but they do so with proper training and knowledge. They can be dangerous but they do work to block the effects of substances or chemicals that trigger certain allergies. Allegra in particular, according to some sources, shows no evidence of toxicity at oral doses up to 2mg per kilogram in dogs.

Common Causes & Symptoms

Typical allergens in dogs are dander, mold spores, dust, feathers, cigarette smoke, some food ingredients and harmful prescription drugs. Dogs prone to allergies are affected in many ways. Canine allergic reactions can surface as red and itchy skin, watery eyes, increased scratching, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea and constant licking.

If you see your pup struggling with any of these then allergies are possibility the culprit.

Tracing the Source

Your dog’s problems may come from the environment or their food as well as other external factors. It can be difficult to trace the root source of allergies. That’s why taking them to a vet, for a thorough check-up, will help to identify what your dog is allergic to and how to best treat them. It may be premature to turn to Allegra.

Side Effects of Allegra

Compared to other antihistamines, Allegra has the fewest side effects. Your dog may get a mild stomachache and dizziness, but this is rare when given medication under proper administration. If your dog has severe side effects after taking Allegra, such as coughing and vomiting, stop its use and contact your vet right away.

Make Some Changes

When your dog has an allergy, instead of depending on Allegra, consider evaluating your home. Make a strong effort to clean your house by sweeping and mopping the floors. Also, vacuum the rugs and furniture. Pet dander can reach every part of your home so try to eliminate them to the best of your ability.

Consider purchasing an air purifier with a HEPA filter to help catch allergens that cannot be eliminated with routine cleaning. These are things that can actually cure your dog’s allergies, something Allegra cannot do.

Some Home Remedies

For skin irritations, like itching and scratching, mix baking soda in water and pour it on your dog’s itchy parts. Bathe them in oatmeal dissolved in cool water for about ten minutes. Mineral oil may also help to reduce itchiness.

Conclusion on Allegra

This antihistamine is sometimes prescribed by vets to help with canines allergies. Allegra is, however, not a cure and you should work to eliminate the actual source of your dog’s allergic reactions. A diagnosis will go a long way towards eliminating such problems. We don’t recommend using a leftover supply of Allegra as a quick fix, although it is not known to be particularly toxic.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Marlo October, 2015

I have a Bichon. He’s all white and has the tear stains. I have tried everything. Many other Bichon owners avoid corn in their food and buy bottled water. I’ve changed his food accordingly and also bought a filter for my tap water. Yet he still has those tear stains. I clean them with wipes but they drain within 2 hours, then more tear stains. I read that Clear Eyes is loaded with antibiotics which isn’t good. I would love to clear this up. Now I’m trying a small does of Allegra. Does anyone have another idea?


Johnny Morales November, 2015

Marlo’s tear stains, without any other problems, are a result of dogs like yours and mine (Japanese Chin) having eyes that bulge out. They must tear all the time to keep their eyes wet to keep them clean and free of infection and disease. While it is possible that your dog has allergies, clearing them up will not stop the tear stains.

Heaven forbid you find something that stops your dog from tearing. Dogs with dry eyes have the same issues humans with dry eyes have. They are extremely injury and infection prone without all that tearing. It could blind the dog.

A typical Bichon show dog will have to live with constant bleach and peroxide treatments around their eyes. Bottom line is part of having a Bichon is having to accept that you’ll likely have a dog that has tear stains, which are harmless by themselves.


Colleen April, 2015

My vet gave me this info:

Zyrtec – 5mg once daily @ approx 30 lb
Claritin – 5 mg once daily @ approx 30 lb
Benadryl – 25mg tab 1.5 tab twice daily @ 30 lb
Omega 3’s (fish oil) – 600mg EPA/DHA total daily


Maggie August, 2015

Thank You! The expensive scripts from our vet caused too many side effects. She never suggested human OTC drugs for him.


Judy September, 2015

Hi Maggie. Colleen has provided a very nice bit of information relative to dosing of specific OTC drugs. However, the information does not specifically provide dosing on a per pound of body weight basis. From my own experience with dogs, it’s critical to understand that dogs metabolize drugs very differently than humans. As an example, last year my dog was prescribed a dose of 25mg of Atarax three times a day. The human dose is usually 10mg.

Consistently, throughout the posts, you will note that many of us with dogs have done well with the dose of 180mg. You will find reports of doses people have used with smaller dogs. Someone made a suggestion of using the children’s preparation. If your dog is small, perhaps starting with the children’s dose would suffice. You can always increase the dosage gradually.


Al March, 2015

You didn’t give us dosage levels for small, medium and large dogs by weight. Our dog is 8 lbs…


Judy November, 2014

Your experience confirms what so many of us have found with using Allegra. Certainly it works better than all the meds prescribed by vets for the problems described. Thanks for the affirmation.


Jennifer November, 2014

Many years ago I had a Cocker Spaniel that had severe allergies. We tried everything, changing her food, steroids and childrens’ Benadryl per the recommendations of our vet. The Benadryl worked better but not great and I had to give it to her several times a day which never went well because she struggled with me every time. She was not good at taking the pill and hiding it in peanut butter never worked, she was always suspicious of what I was giving her.

That said, we had a human prescription for Allegra. I was desperate and split the pill in half to give her (the dog weighed approximately 30 pounds). She was always scratching at her ears and toes and tummy, licking till they were red. I basically thought to myself, this is ether going to help her or kill her but either way she will be better off. Luckily it helped her, dramatically.

The itching and scratching and licking stopped. Her ears became fine and her skin cleared right up. An added bonus was I only had to fight with her once a day to take a pill and if I missed a day it didn’t seem to wear off right away. She has since passed away, but it worked well for her when she was with us. It didn’t have any adverse effects, and I would say that they are able to metabolize it pretty well from her experience. Made her existence so much better. She was always crying and whimpering as she scratched at her ears, otherwise without it, and I felt so sorry for her.


Thomas May, 2015

I found that giving a small amount of peanut butter is a very helpful way to give a dog a pill. The first time that I went to give my Lab a pill, he gave me a deep growl. So knowing that his treats are made of peanut butter, I got a spoon and put some on it with the pill. That was several years ago and I’ve been doing it ever since. This has made our life easier.


Maggie September, 2015

My dog rejects peanut butter unless it is on something. I have gotten good at hiding pills in various things. Cheese or ham is his favorite. I started using the children’s chewable tabs, often breaking them in half as they can be large. This way they don’t get a nasty taste if they bite the pill itself. It’s also harder for him to spit out. The ones that dissolve quickly are the best.


Annette September, 2014

I’m a bit worried about Piriton, half per day due to drowsiness. I’m considering Allegra.


Sandra July, 2014

I have been reading up on Colostrum (from a cow) and it seems that animals have reacted very well to it, it helps alleviate allergies. Has anyone tried this before? Thanks


Judy July, 2014

Hi Sandra. You seem to not have complete information on colostrum and, therefore, you should take a moment and review information on a site such as Web MD. All female mammals produce colostrum around the time of birthing, and that includes humans. The production of colostrum does not continue, but rather is the first milk that is produced.

It’s true that antibodies are passed through breast milk (which is why mothers are encouraged to breast feed,) but in all probability they are species/breed specific. So it doesn’t seem logical that cow’s colostrum would benefit a dog. I have never seen it commercially available. I don’t know where you got this information, but I don’t think it’s plausible.

You may think of it this way: for humans with allergies, allergy shots are often recommended. The person is first tested for specific allergies, and then a shot is prepared from the specific antigen.

Over time an immunity is built up to the offending allergen (antigen). Building up an immunity to a specific antigen results in the production of specific antibody – often referred to as the lock-key relationship.


Wanda June, 2014

I have a 9-pound Yorkie with terrible allergies. She is constantly licking paws, watery eyes and scratching (has even broken skin inside her ears). She doesn’t have mites or fleas (allergies only as determined by our vet). She was on prescription meds, Apoquel, until the vet ended up out of stock. Zyrtec doesn’t really help. Can you tell me what dosage I can give her of children’s’ Allegra? I have 30mg chewables.


Judy June, 2014

Wanda, the way drugs are metabolized by dogs is quite different than humans. I once was prescribed 10mg of Atarax. Subsequently, my dog was prescribed 25mg of Atarax, several times a day. After getting multiple bug bites on my legs, I took one of the dog’s 25mg of Atarax and was in la-la land for over a day.

My point is that it’s hard for lay people to know the correct dose for an animal with a drug appropriate for both. I would look on the package and see if there is any dosing instructions for administering Allegra to children by weight. In your case, the thing that concerns me is both the size and breed of your dog. I would be very clear about potential side effects of the drug. As you will see by reading previous posts, several of us have found that the full adult dose works for a 75 lb dog.

As a lay person I would never recommend a dose for your pup, but if you wish to try the Allegra purchase a pill splitter. Try splitting the pill into 4 parts. You may consider trying the smallest dose to see if there’s any effect. In human care, the dose can then be raised until there is a favorable response with no side effects.

In truth, I have no idea what would work for such a small pup, but you may consider partial dosing with increases as needed. Since Allegra is not presently prescribed for dogs, there is no way to call someone and get the correct answer, Good luck!


Kerry September, 2015

Maybe look into the type of Allegra made for children. Surely they make such a thing.


Lorie May, 2014

Hi everyone. I’m reading up on effective treatments for my dog’s allergies. He’s been on steroids so many times, and I hate to keep him on them. I’m at the end of a 3-month prescription-only diet. It has helped, but I’m realizing that environmental allergens still trigger his discomfort.

It makes me so sad that he doesn’t play and isn’t happy. I’ve tried Benadryl to no avail. I’m going to try 60mg per day of Allegra. I like what I’m seeing you all say about the results. Wish me luck!


Sandra May, 2014

My vet told me I could use Chlor-Tripolon for dog allergies as well. My German Shepherd scratches a lot and rubs her eyes; hoping the Chlor-Tripolon helps.


Judy May, 2014

I did an internet search of the drug you identified, and discovered that the drug is also referred to as Chlorpheniramine and subsequently learned that it is also called Chlor-Trimeton. This is an over-the-counter antihistamine and in fact, is advertised by 1-800-Pet-Meds.

As a nurse I can tell you this is an older antihistamine and may be considered a first generation drug. I cannot attest to the “better” effectiveness of Chlor-Trimeton vs. Allegra. However, if you read through some of the other comments you will see that others including myself, have tried a plethora of prescription drugs but seem to have found success with Allegra.

Two things to bear in mind 1.) while animals may be treated with human medications, the drugs may not have the same effect, and the doses administered may be quite different than what is ordered for humans. 2.) Animal allergies present quite differently than in humans. In addition to scratching and biting, paw licking is very common even to the point of dogs developing lick granulomas.

If the drug your vet has prescribed seems to not work, you know from this site that others have used many antihistamines but have found that the Allegra does work. Good luck! I know how difficult it is to watch your pet suffer with allergies.


Judy February, 2014

In my own experience, Benadryl did nothing for my dog. She had actually chewed a wound into her hind quarter, and as she walked she would bring up her hind legs as though to scratch.

I called the vet and got her some Atarax, an otherwise very effective antihistamine, but like the Benadryl, it did nothing to relieve her symptoms. After reading as much as I could about the Allegra for dogs, I tried the 180mg tab for my 75 pound Airedale. She has been symptom free since.


Brent April, 2014

My dog started on Cyclosporine, a generic and cheaper version of Atarax, and it worked great for about 2 years. Now it has no effect. I tried Benadryl with no results and I’m looking for the info you provided. Here’s hoping my boy can get some relief.


Judy April, 2014

Hi Brent. Cyclosporine is a chemotherapy. I absolutely cannot imagine why your dog would have been given that and clearly Atarax is not a generic for cyclosporine, again a chemotherapy. Atarax is a powerful antihistamine, but it may not work for your dog. The Allegra seems to work best, and I use the 180mg for a 75 pound dog. Give it a try.


Octavio February, 2014

My Labrador has been constantly dealing with allergies and leaks his paws. We have tried Benadryl but it makes him drowsy. I was thinking of switching to Allegra which comes in 180mg tablets since I take it myself. Can you recommend the right dose for his weight? He is 76 pounds.


Kathi October, 2013

My vet did ok giving my dog 2.5mg of Zyrtec, but I was looking to switch to a pediatric dose of Allegra due to inclusion of a decongestant. My dog has congestive heart failure due to cardiomyopathy and I’m just trying to get her some relief from the symptoms, generally unrelated to allergies, but similar symptoms.


Judy February, 2014

Please do not confuse congestive heart failure as having anything to do with allergies, or a condition that would be relieved by a decongestant. Congestive heart failure requires Digoxin to make the heart beat more effectively, and Lasix to pull off extra fluid stressing the heart. A antihistamine such as Allegra or Benadryl will work for itching, scratching, compulsively licking the paws.

If your dog is not having these symptoms, it doesn’t need an antihistamine and certainly not a decongestant. Remember that the products with the “D” for which you have to sign, relieve sinus congestion in people. Truly, the symptoms may seem the same, but clinically they are very different.

Also, keep in mind how small your dog is. Given that her heart is enlarged, you don’t want to do anything that would stress the liver or the kidneys. Please speak with your vet so that you have a better understanding of the interplay of the organs most especially in a dog the size of yours.


Breno September, 2013

My Cocker Spaniel weighs 33 pounds and I’m giving her 80mg daily. I chose Allegra because is the only one that works except for cortisone. I am considering an increase in the dose to 120mg daily. What do you think about it?


James September, 2013

Breno, in my opinion, 80mg should be working if your dog is 33 pounds. Do you not see any results at this dosage? Do you notice anything different at all? I would be very careful about increasing that Allegra dose but I am not a vet.


Angie September, 2013

Thank you for the answer. Is there a way to know the correct dosage to give a dog? My dog is 24 pounds and I have the 10mg Allegra tablets.


James September, 2013

Angie, because your dog is small, you have to start out with a low dose. A 10mg tablet would be the max I’d start out with. Try to see if you notice a difference with just one.


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