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Atarax (Hydroxyzine) is a useful antihistamine for humans, but how about for a pet dog?
It’s a great question because this medication is effective for treating itchiness, anxiety and nausea—problems which very much apply to canines.
Here’s the deal:
While many vets use diphenhydramine, Atarax is arguably the most favored antihistamine for dogs.
Yup! They frequently prescribe Hydroxyzine for skin-related allergies. It is also utilized for nausea or to prevent motion sickness.
Atarax certainly works. But, as with any drug, side effects are a concern.
Dogs Can Take Atarax With a Vet’s Prescription
An initial diagnosis of your pet’s issue is an ideal first step. At the very least, involve your veterinarian for detailed dosing and other instructions.
Whatever you do, avoid providing a leftover supply.
You must minimize risks for your dog as much as possible. Atarax has not been FDA-approved for animal use.
Serious Side Effects
Drowsiness would not be out of the ordinary once your dog absorbs enough Atarax.
But a lot of other things can happen as well—there’s a long list of complications, some of which are serious.
Closely monitor for the following:
- Increased urination
- Trouble urinating
- Increased thirst
- Behavioral changes
- General weakness
- Loss of coordination (due to drowsiness and/or dizziness)
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
Providing Atarax (AKA Vistaril) to your dog requires careful consideration and a treatment plan.
Make sure to involve your vet regardless of the intended purpose.
Tip: Thundershirt often works wonders for anxious dogs. It’s great for car trips, thunderstorms and many other scenarios.
Atarax Dosing For Dogs
Below is for reference only:
Standard use is 1mg of Atarax for each pound of the dog’s body weight (taken up to 4 times per day)
It cannot be stressed enough that dosing requires professional advice.
And keep in mind that Hydroxyzine is not intended for long term use!
Pet Dogs And Anxiety
Anxiety in dogs is pretty common. It can usually be helped by making a few lifestyle adjustments.
You could try to upgrade their dog food as a start to see if that helps calm their nerves. It could be a nutritional imbalance that is causing anxiousness.
For situational anxiety, you can get a prescription that can be administered before the triggering even so that you can avoid it altogether.
Canine Motion Sickness
Most dogs love a good car trip, sticking their head out the window and enjoying themselves immensely. Others don’t like the sensation, have trouble finding their footing, and can even get nauseated and vomit in the car.
Luckily there are plenty of motion sickness remedies for dogs that your vet can recommend or that you can pick up from pet stores.
The Bottom Line
Atarax also works for dogs, but there are reasons to be cautious.
While this antihistamine may do the trick, there are also plenty of possible side effects.
Get your vet’s prescription and their detailed directions.
Whether for allergies or nausea, Atarax may be an option for your dog. Just don’t go it alone!