Zyrtec is a antihistamine, sometimes used for dogs, to alleviate itchiness and allergy-related skin irritations. Many pet parents consider this medication for stubborn allergies, specifically those affecting the skin.
Regular Zyrtec is a brand name for Cetirizine which isn’t formulated for canines yet it’s commonly prescribed by veterinarians. Despite being a powerful drug, regular Zyrtec seems to be well-tolerated by dogs.
Your vet would likely prescribe something else. But you can, in fact, use most Zyrtec products if you know the risks and properly dose them for your dog. In any case, a proper diagnosis is certainly the best course of action.
Can I Give My Dog Zyrtec? Yes, properly dosed with some restrictions
But Zyrtec-D (pictured here) is absolutely toxic and can be life threatening.
Otherwise, people do successfully give this over-the-counter antihistamine to their dogs. As with any human drug, there are definitely risks. In the short term, a medication such as this one may not appear to cause dire effects. If used improperly, however, Zyrtec could render internal damage to your dog’s liver and other vital organs. So make no mistake, Zyrtec can do more harm than good.
We cannot stress enough that you should never provide Zyrtec-D to a dog since, among other reasons, it contains a dangerous chemical called pseudoephedrine.
Restrictions and Dosing
You must know a few things before providing Zyrtec to a dog. Besides the D version, which might as well stand for Death, all the Zyrtec products contain Cetirizine which is the preferable active ingredient. Never give an antihistamine to a pregnant dog or one that is still nursing. Pet’s with liver disease or other related problems should also not be taking it. Providing it to a puppy is questionable.
Talk with your vet about proper dosage but, as a rule of thumb, half a milligram per pound of body weight taken twice daily is considered reasonable.
A Sensible Perspective
Dogs are very curious beings. They are constantly checking things out with their noses. So it stands to reason that they would be prone to some allergy troubles including pruritus. Removing suspected allergens, when possible, from areas your dog frequents could be a big step forward.
Also, ask yourself, is your dog getting outdoors enough? By their very nature, they should be outside fairly often, to shake themselves off and receive fresh air, which also helps to rid their fur of allergens.
Acting on Allergies
As much as people hate to see a favorite pet struggle, dogs are pretty good at tolerating a bout of itching or sneezing. They don’t make a big deal out of allergy annoyances the same way us humans do. In truth, most cases will pass on their own so one solution is to do nothing! Tomorrow may prove that Zyrtec wasn’t needed after all.
But help with severe allergies is where you come in. If your dog is biting at their legs, or gnawing at specific parts of their skin then you should act. If you can’t see any good reason for such skin-related problems, like fleas or ticks, then you may have a severely allergic dog. Professional diagnosis is expensive in the short term but it may go a long way towards permanently eliminating your dog’s allergies. That’s something Zyrtec certainly cannot do!
Tip: If Fido is experiencing itchy skin on a prolonged basis, they may greatly benefit from a drug designed specifically for dogs called Apoquel.
Conclusion on Zyrtec
Never give your dog Zyrtec-D which is basically Sudafed. Regular Zyrtec can be used to treat canines for allergies once you’ve become well-informed. Know that this strong medication does nothing to cure or eliminate the underlying reasons for an allergy problem. If your dog’s issues seem to be worsening, especially if they have an acute reaction, get them to a professional instead of trying Zyrtec. More serious symptoms, wheezing or trouble breathing, may be emergency situations requiring urgent medical attention.