Zyrtec is an over-the-counter antihistamine medication used to treat itching and other allergic conditions. If you’re looking for a fast way to help your dog with some itchiness or similar symptoms, you might have considered giving them some. It’s a good idea you decided to check first.
Many dogs do not process human meds very well, and owners can often exacerbate a problem a dog may have rather than helping. Remember that these sort of medications might not have dire effects in the short term, but could be causing internal damage to your dog’s liver and other organs which will create problems down the road.
Don’t become complacent about OTC medications and their effects on your dog. These are powerful drugs including Zyrtec. Even though you were able to pick it up at your local retail store, only recently did it become available without a doctor’s prescription. Your dog deserves its own medication, specially formulated for canine use. They also deserve to be seen by a professional, a licensed vet, to be sure it’s allergies they have. It could be something else that is troubling them!
Can I Give My Dog Zyrtec? No
The main reason why you don’t want to give your dog Zyrtec, also known as Cetirizine, is because it’s not formulated for a dog’s system. This drug will not react the same way it works for a human since it was developed specifically for use in people. Aside from our mammalian similarities, we still digest food and pills fairly differently.
If your dog is experiencing itchy skin for a prolonged period you may want to inquire with your vet regarding a great canine medication called Apoquel instead.
It’s not hard to find forums where owners and even vets are trading dosages for how much Zyrtec to give a dog. But think about it for a moment: changing the dosage on a medication that was intended for another species is supposed to change how that medication works? It’s supposed to make the possible side effects lessen? It’s supposed to make up for the fact that no long term studies or testing has been done on dogs?
Also, take into consideration the fact that these owners and vets are not getting all of the facts, and are not seeing the dog’s symptoms in real life, they’re just going off of what one owner is saying about one dog. It would be a bigger mistake to apply that person’s situation to your own. Only a vet that sees a dog and can evaluate it first hand will be able to accurately determine if it is allergies the dog has, or a different condition. From there they can prescribe a direct treatment route that likely won’t involve the use of Zyrtec or other human drugs.
Dogs and Allergies
Dogs can suffer from allergies the same way that a human can, but that does not mean that the same medication that works for us will work for them. While us humans don’t like to tolerate much in the way of itching or sneezing, a dog will take it as just a part of life and not make a big deal of it.
Most times the condition will pass, but if you notice that they’re biting at their own legs, or gnawing at specific parts of their skin, and you can’t see any other reason for it, like fleas or ticks, then you might have an allergic dog on your hands.
Your dog could be responding to an allergen within the home, or something they picked up from outside if they’ve recently been outside. Dogs have a knack for getting into places they don’t belong, and checking things out with their snout. That’s why they tend to get into more allergy trouble than other animals.
Removing suspected allergens from the areas your dog frequents is a big step forward. It could also be that they need to get outside more if they don’t already. Dogs like to get outdoors and get some fresh air and shake themselves, ridding their fur of any allergens at that time.
When to See the Vet
If your dog’s allergy problem is gradually worsening, or they are having an acute reaction to something in their environment, take them in or at least call. If your dog is wheezing and having trouble breathing, you should take them in directly.