Read This Before Giving Your Dog Zyrtec For Allergies!

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Zyrtec is a possibility if your dog has allergies. It can be especially helpful for atopic dermatitis.

Can I Give My Dog Zyrtec?All sorts of itchiness and irritations of the skin can be alleviated with Zyrtec.

The active drug, Cetirizine, can be used off-label. It’s not formulated for canines, but it is prescribed by vets.

With that being said, the Zyrtec-D version is off limits!

Learn more before providing this antihistamine.

Dogs Can Take Zyrtec (with some precautions)


Zyrtec-D (pictured here) is terribly toxic. Like Sudafed, providing it can be life threatening.

Here’s the good news:

Regular Cetirizine, a branded or generic version, is generally a good temporary treatment for dogs.

Just be careful with dosing – which we’ll get to in a moment.

Do Your Dog No Harm

A big concern is damage to the liver and other vital organs.

Make no mistake about it:

All histamine blockers have a potential to harm your dog.

The best thing you can do is avoid the following chemical:

Pseudoephedrine. It’s in the D-version and is basically poisonous for pets.

Which Zyrtec Is Best?

For a pet dog, Zyrtec should contain the active ingredient called Cetirizine.

It cannot be stressed enough:

The D-version may as well stand for Death!

As far as antihistamines in general, they are not recommended for nursing dogs. Pets with liver disease or related problems are at increased risk as well.

Providing Zyrtec to a puppy, without professional help, is also a bit worrying.

What 2 Studies Found

Be sure to read the details of a study of 23 dogs given Cetirizine.

To sum it up:

Zyrtec was found to be effective and well-tolerated (although 2 of the dogs had side effects).

As for the other study…

Utrecht University of the Netherlands concluded the following:

“Cetirizine has no effect on pruritus in dogs with chronic non-food-induced or food-induced atopic dermatitis. Hence, such medication should not be recommended for the control of pruritus in dogs with long term allergy.”

Conflicting information! We think the big picture is this:

Zyrtec is relatively safe for dogs, but it certainly isn’t a cure!

Cetirizine: A Dog Dose?

Regarding Zyrtec dosage for your dog…

You really should talk with a vet. The thing is there could be specific factors to take into account.

For Reference Only: Half a milligram (0.5mg) per pound of body weight taken once (not more than twice daily).

Get Professional Help

Does your dog bite at their legs, or gnaws at parts of their skin?

If so, you should address it.

You may have a severely allergic dog, especially if there are no signs of fleas or ticks.

A vet’s diagnosis will help to eliminate your dog’s allergies.

Zyrtec is not a real fix. Besides, there are many other options. For example, Apoquel works great for stubbornly itchy skin.

The Bottom Line

Never give Zyrtec-D to your dog because it is way too dangerous!

Regular Zyrtec is much safer, but it only makes sense on a short-term basis.

Get your dog to a professional for a case of serious allergies.

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

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15 thoughts on “Read This Before Giving Your Dog Zyrtec For Allergies!”

  1. A lot of people are talking about dosing twice a day. Zyrtec is a 24 hour medication.

  2. Something that some vets forget to mention when prescribing to a dog is the generic name may not simply say Cetirizine and instead it may say Cetirizine Hydrochloride.

    It sounds scary but it is the same thing. I buy Wal-Zyr from Walgreens (generic brand) when it is on sale and it saves us a ton of money.

  3. My dog sneezes from time to time and sometimes she has a greenish discharge. She does have allergies, but nothing severe. She is 12 years old, has had 3 different cancers and has been doing very well. Eating, drinking and defecating normally.

    I didn’t read where Zyrtec was good for drying up a runny nose. Does anyone have any information as to the effectiveness of using Zyrtec for a runny nose related to allergies?

  4. My dog is 10 pounds. How much Zyrtec can I safely give him?

    1. I would consult your veterinarian on the exact dosage. Better safe than sorry. My dog is 16 pounds and takes 10mg twice daily as per veterinarian recommendation. But she is young, does not have liver or kidney issues and has extreme allergies.

  5. Can this give my dog the scoots?

    1. Most likely, if your dog is scooting, it is due to allergies or anal gland issues. I would consult your veterinarian if this continues.

  6. Good basic info, but I was frightened to see the Zyrtec-D box as the only product shown on this page. Even though you repeatedly warn not to use that version, some people might look at the box and skip the reading!

    1. I was also concerned that the picture on the page showed Zyrtec-D, which can be lethal to animals. Instead, they should display the one that’s safe. A lot of people skim through articles and will remember the image only.

    2. Me too! That is very confusing and should be made much clearer! I would have bought the D formula for sure had I not read the entire page.

  7. My vet told us to give our dog one Zyrtec twice a day, not Zyrtec-D, just regular Zyrtec. It has helped her a lot.

  8. I have a 28 kilogram male American Staffy who does the common (for his breed) licking and chewing of his feet to excess due to allergies. My vet suggested one 10mg Zyrtec tablet daily help relieve his allergies. I give these to him every now and again as I find they can make him a little bit sleepy. I also give them with his meal.

  9. I was told to give my dog a antihistamine following a Diamondback Rattlesnake bite to reduce swelling. Is this safe?

  10. Elizabeth says:

    They tested Zyrtec on dogs first, before it was available to humans. Vets still prescribe it to pets for allergies.

    1. I never give any antihistamine that has a decongestant in it, ever! So anything that says D at the end is a no-no.

      Changing foods should be tried. See if it’a certain meat. Maybe a fish-based food would be helpful. Testing should be done to see what allergies your dog has.

      I give antihistamines because I already know what environmental allergies he has and they are unavoidable. He also takes Atopica and the antihistamines are on the off days.

      I find that Benadryl does nothing. After trying many, I like Zyrtec as my favorite OTC antihistamine.

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