Zyrtec is an over-the-counter antihistamine, sometimes used for dogs, to alleviate itchiness and allergy-related skin irritations. Many dog owners consider the use of this medication when a best buddy is suffering with stubborn allergies, specifically those affecting the skin.
Regular Zyrtec is a brand name for Cetirizine which isn’t formulated for dogs yet it’s commonly prescribed by most veterinarians. Despite being a powerful drug, regular Zyrtec seems to be well-tolerated by most dogs.
Still, if your vet could prescribe something specifically designed for canines it would be better. But you can, in fact, use most Zyrtec products if you know the risks and properly dose them for a dog. In any case, getting a proper diagnosis is your best course of action.
Can I Give My Dog Zyrtec? Yes, properly dosed with some restrictions
Never administer Zyrtec-D to your beloved dog because it is absolutely toxic and can be life threatening.
Otherwise, people do successfully give this antihistamine to their dogs. There are definitely risks though. In the short term, a medication such as this one may not appear to cause any dire effects. But if used improperly, Zyrtec could render internal damage to your dog’s liver and other vital organs. Remember, it says right on the box, “Prescription Strength”!
Make no mistake, Zyrtec can do more harm than good. Once again, 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 regarding proper dosage but, as a rule of thumb, 2mg 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 own 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 on your hands. 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 a dog Zyrtec-D which is basically Sudafed. You can, however, provide regular Zyrtec to treat a dog for some 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. More serious symptoms like wheezing, or trouble breathing, are considered emergency situations requiring urgent medical attention.