Everything You Need to Know About Cetirizine for Dogs

Cetirizine is an antihistamine that vet suggests giving dogs to several health problems like itchy skin, skin irritation, and swelling etc. Cetirizine for dogs is usually known by its brand names like Zyrtec and Benadryl because the main ingredient of these drugs is cetirizine.

Originally these drugs have not been formalized for dogs or any animal but human but doctors have tested it on dogs to treat the different skin related problem. Today, these drugs are more known for their usages for pets like dogs and cats as compared to the human. This is why cetirizine for dogs are more famous as compare to cetirizine for a cat or any other pet.

If you have recently adopted a dog or planning to adopt one, then you must know about cetirizine because, in difficult times, this antihistamine could help you to get rid of tensions which could be caused due to health problems of your dog.

Following you will found complete detail about cetirizine, the drugs which contain cetirizine and how they are different from each other. Following we have also covered general and advance information related to cetirizine including cetirizine overdosage, side effects, how to give cetirizine to your dogs and cats and much more.

1. Overview of Cetirizine (Zyrtec®) for Dogs and Cats

2. Cetirizine vs Diphenhydramine

3. How Cetirizine Helps Relieve Canine Allergy Symptoms

4. How to Give Your Dog Cetirizine

5. Common Canine Side Effects of Cetirizine

6. When Cetirizine Should Not Be Given to an Allergic Dog

7. Conclusion

Overview of Cetirizine (Zyrtec®) for Dogs and Cats

The most popular brand name for cetirizine is Zyrtec but it has been sometimes got confused with cetirizine and Benadryl.

Benadryl does contain this antihistamine but with a different formula, that’s why Benadryl has been classified as diphenhydramine.

Or you can say that the other name of Diphenhydramine is Benadryl.

Zyrtec is popular as compare to other allergies related medicine because it does not cause sedation in dogs and cats while this drug has the least among side effects which have been hardly reported by the dog owners.

This is why Zyrtec is popular and vets suggest using Zyrtec to treat dermatitis.

Cetirizine vs Diphenhydramine

Cetirizine and Diphenhydramine can be used to treat allergy in dogs and cats but diphenhydramine is good in allergic reactions including a runny nose, runny eyes and red eyes etc because it has a different amount of cetirizine in the medical formula where on other hand cetirizine is better to use in seasonal pet allergies.

How Cetirizine Helps Relieve Canine Allergy Symptoms

Allergy in Dogs happened due to the overproduction of histamine.

Cetirizine can help to relieve the allergy symptoms which causes due to this overproduction of histamine.

Histamine is a chemical that has been produced by the dog’s immune system in response to an allergy.

The canine allergen includes food ingredients, dust mites and flea and its symptoms are:

  • Irritation in dog’s skin
  • Swelling in any part of the body
  • Excess face rubbing and scratching
  • Itching, leg and paw chewing.

So, if you notice any of these symptoms in your dog and even in your dog then its means that your pet is suffering from allergy and required your attention.

How to Give Your Dog Cetirizine

It is very important to know how to give your dog Cetirizine because overdose can cause a very serious illness to your dog.

Visiting veterinarians and asking about the cetirizine dosage is the best way to know how much cetirizine your dog required to get rid of the allergy.

But generally, there is an amount of cetirizine dosage that has been suggested by the vet for general use.

The dosage of cetirizine depends on several things which include the age of the dog, breed of dog, health condition, gender, and weight.

Usually, 1 tablet within 24 hours has been given to the dog whose weight is more than 10lbs where the dog who is under 10lbs should be given the only half tablet of cetirizine.

The tablet can be given by mixing in food or water if your dog can not swallow it raw.

Usually, the tablets have been sold in the 10mg tablet.

So the ideal dosage of cetirizine is 1mg per KG for all pets including dogs.

Common Canine Side Effects of Cetirizine

If you are using cetirizine for dogs then you should know about its side effects. You should not be worried about the side effects of cetirizine hydrochloride as it has very few side effects and hardly the dog owners have reported them.

Usually, you faced the side effects of cetirizine hydrochloride only if you give the excess amount of cetirizine to your dog, your dog has other health problems and you have given cetirizine to your dog without vet’s permission. The most common side effects of cetirizine are:

If you notice any of these side effects in your dog, then stop giving cetirizine to your dog. In the case of vomiting or any other serious illness, contact your veterinarian’s office.

When Cetirizine Should Not Be Given to an Allergic Dog

Warning, do not give any drug to your dogs and any pet without the permission of vet because cetirizine overdosage can be caused other health problems and make the current health of your dog worse and more painful for your dog.

Cetirizine for dogs is safe until the dog is suffering from any other serious illness e.g. kidney problems because of cetirizine and Benadryl cause urine retention which can create complications with the pre-existing condition.

If your dog is pregnant then do not give cetirizine without the permission of cetirizine. The dog who feeds her milk to the newborn puppies should not give cetirizine because this can be transferred to the body of puppies through milk.

Video: Dog Allergies in Children – From the makers of ZYRTEC®

Click here to see the video.


Cetirizine for dogs is an excellent antihistamine which can treat different types of skin allergies among dogs and other pets including cats. Zyrtec is a popular brand whose main ingredient if cetirizine.

While this is an excellent drug but still should not give to dogs without the permission of vets because of its common side effects. So, before giving Zyrtec to your cats and dogs, always concern with their vets to get only positive results.

If you’re interested in reading similar articles, here’s good one on Zyrtec for Dogs. We’ve also posted a good guide Arthritis in Dogs.