A common problem most dog owners struggle with is finding the quickest and most efficient way to treat their pet’s allergy. As a dog owner, I’ve been there too. Just like we humans develop allergies to various allergens, so do dogs. Allergies can be a frustrating issue for pet owners because it is difficult to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

What the dog really needs is a medication that doesn’t have any side effects, is easily available without prescription, and is able to control the allergic reactions effectively. One product that has all these features is Zyrtec for dogs.

Zyrtec for dogs is an over-the-counter antihistamine that is commonly prescribed by veterinarians for curing common allergies that affect dogs. Although allergens are generally harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies will develop an extreme allergic reaction to them.

As the dog’s body tries to eliminate these substances, a variety of digestive, skin, and respiratory symptoms may develop. If not treated, allergies can make the poor thing’s life miserable. I strongly suggest Zyrtec for dogs with allergies because it is well tolerated by most dogs, has relatively less side effects and is very efficient too.

CAUTION: Do not purchase antihistamines that are combination products (multi-symptom, cold/flu medicines, decongestants, etc.), especially products that contain decongestants (often labeled with a D, as in “Zyrtec-D”). These products often contain a high level of stimulants that are toxic, even life-threatening, to animals.


The immune system is designed in such a way as to protect us from harmful foreign substances. But when it mistakes harmless substances, also referred to as allergens as threats, then an allergic reactions sets in. Same is the case with dogs. A few of the most common symptoms of allergies in dogs include:

  • Itchy, moist, red or scabbed skin
  • Runny eyes
  • Increased scratching
  • Chewing paws
  • Constant licking
  • Ear infections and Itchy ears
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The best way to treat allergies is to get rid of the allergens from the environment. However, since certain allergens cannot be removed from the environment, the next best thing you can do to help your dog is to use a medication to control the allergic reactions.

Some of the common treatment options include the use of Corticosteroids, Cyclosporine, Antihistamines and Allergy vaccines. As soon as you suspect that your dog may be having allergy symptoms, it is important that you take him to a veterinarian.

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1. Zyrtec Allergy Relief Tablets

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How to Choose the Best Medication for Dog Allergies?

As I mentioned above, the first and best treatment method for pet allergies is to avoid the allergy causing substances as much as possible. Since it is impossible to avoid certain allergens, you may need medications to control the symptoms.

Finding the right treatment plan for allergy is very important for relieving your dog’s allergy symptoms. Due to the availability of a vast range of prescription and over the counter medications available for relieving the allergy symptoms, it can be rather confusing to choose the best medication for your pet.

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Many pet owners turn to human over the counter antihistamines as a safe and effective treatment for their dog’s allergy. When purchasing these medications, it is important to check the ingredients list first.

Because most of these medications may contain ingredients such as decongestants in addition to the antihistamines, which when given to a dog is likely to produce serious side effects including respiratory problems, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, vomiting, increased body temperature, disorientation and even blindness in some cases.

If your pet suffers from an allergic reaction, you must consult a veterinarian. Depending on your pet’s health condition, your vet will suggest the best antihistamine medications and the right dosage for dog allergies. Given below is a review of Zyrtec for dogs, which I think is one of the best anti-allergic medications for allergies.

Review of Zyrtec for Dogs

Zyrtec Allergy Relief Tablets, 30 Count
Price: $13.39
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Zyrtec for pet allergies belongs to a category of medications known as antihistamines. Not only is it readily available but is also considered safe for your dog. Antihistamines control allergy symptoms by inhibiting the effects of histamine, a substance that is released by the body’s immune system as part of defending the body against the allergens. These substances cause the increase in production of white blood cells at the trouble spot, leading to inflammation, redness, swelling and itching.

Zyrtec for dogs contains the active ingredient Cetirizine, a second generation drug that is more sophisticated and has a more targeted action with fewer side effects. Most pet owners favor this medication for their pets because unlike other types of antihistamines, it does not cause sedation. Zyrtec is recommended by veterinarians to relieve dog allergy symptoms such as itchy skin, runny noses and watery eyes.

Since there are several different formulas of Zyrtec available on the market, you need to make sure that you use the one that contains cetirizine.

However, Zyrtec-D should be avoided, because it contain pseudoephedrine in addition to cetirizine, which can be harmful to your dog. So before giving the medication to your dog, I suggest that you check the package label and make sure the only active ingredient in the product is cetirizine.


  • Easily available and can be bought over the counter
  • Tolerated well by most dogs
  • Rarely causes sedation
  • Effective in treating allergic symptoms like dermatitis
  • Has relatively fewer side effects


  • Tends to be a short-acting medication and its effect may not last very long.
  • A bit expensive when compared to antihistamines like Benadryl. Since Zyrtec for dogs sometimes have to be administered for weeks on end, the high cost becomes a rather concerning factor.

It is pretty obvious that Zyrtec for pet allergies is very feasible and beneficial for dogs as it is effective in relieving the frustrating symptoms of allergies. It is very effective in treating allergic reactions caused by seasonal weather changes and it can also be given to treat eosinophilic diseases. Zyrtec is a powerful drug that has no side effects and also doesn’t cause sedation.

Zyrtec Dosage For Dogs

Make sure to consult your veterinarian before administering any kind of medication to your dog. Zyrtec dosage for dog allergies will be prescribed by your vet. It is usually dosed in dogs at 0.5 mg per pound of body weight (1 mg/kg) orally once to twice daily.

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For treating Atopic Dermatitis dosage for dogs will be 0.5 mg/lb every 24 hours.

For treating Allergic Dermatitis dosage for dogs will be 0.5 mg/lb every 12 hours.

If your pet’s allergies are quite significant, the dosage for dogs may need to be higher. However, if your dog is older, he might not be able to tolerate a higher dose. In that case, rather than giving a larger or more frequent dose, your veterinarian might recommend additional medications.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give Zyrtec to my dog?

Yes, you can. Zyrtec is considered a safe drug for your dog. It is also widely tolerated by most dogs and has comparatively few side effects. So I would recommend Zyrtec as a good choice for treating pet allergies. Zyrtec is a second generation drug, which means that it does not cause sedation like other antihistamine medications, like Benadryl.

But one important thing to keep in mind is that this drug is a human medication, which is not licensed for use in dogs. Although it is considered very safe, it hasn’t been fully tested in dogs.

While using the drug, it’s best to follow the guidelines that are set down for humans. Pregnant ladies are not recommended to take Zyrtec because its effects on the fetus are not completely understood. Keeping this in mind, its best not to give the drug to pregnant dogs or to female dogs feeding puppies.

As I had mentioned earlier, you must only give Zyrtec (cetirizine) to your dog and NOT Zyrtec D, which contains other active constituents that can be harmful to your pet.

Is Zyrtec safe for dogs?

When you buy Zyrtec for dogs, make sure to be very careful which the packet you choose, because although Zyrtec is safe for dogs, there is a similar product known as Zyrtec D, which is NOT at all safe. In addition to the active ingredient Cetirizine, Zyrtec D also contains an additional ingredient called, pseudoephedrine, which is a decongestant.

This ingredient overstimulates your dog’s central nervous system and heart, which is highly dangerous as it can lead to seizures, dangerously high levels of blood pressure, and ultimately death in the case of some dogs.

So the most important thing to keep in mind while buying Zyrtec is that you need to always check and recheck the packaging to see what ingredients the product contains. Buy Zyrtec only if you are cent percent sure that it contains only cetirizine and no other toxic ingredients.

Can you give dogs Zyrtec for allergies?

Yes, you can. Although Zyrtec is not formulated for canines, it is prescribed by many veterinarians to treat dog allergies. Many pet owners consider this drug an effective solution for curing stubborn allergies, especially allergic reactions on the skin.

In spite of the fact that it is a powerful drug, Zyrtec is well tolerated by most dogs. However, if not used properly, Zyrtec many cause side effects like liver damage. Always stick to the dose for dogs recommended by your vet and make sure not to misuse the drug.

What is the appropriate Zyrtec dosage for dogs?

Zyrtec dose for dogs is recommended typically based on the animal’s weight. The most commonly recommended dosage by most vets is 0.5 mg per pound of your dog’s weight. Generally, it is given orally, in a tablet form, once a day. While a small dog takes half of a 10mg tablet, a large dog will have to take a whole one.

If you have an itchy dog, especially if he has been stung by an insect, then giving him Zyrtec twice a day can help reduce his discomfort. If your dog is being treated for atopy, Zyrtec needs to be administered only once a day. Zyrtec can be given either on an empty stomach or with food.

However for a speedier effect, it is better to dose on an empty stomach because food in the stomach slows down the absorption of the drug into the blood stream. Given below is a summary of Zyrtec administration in dogs in accordance with the weight of the animal:

  • 5 mg once each day for 0- 15 lbs dog weight
  • 10 mg once each day for 16 – 39 lbs dog weight
  • 10 mg twice each day for 40+ lbs dog weight
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What are the side effects of Zyrtec in dogs?

All dogs are not the same. While most dogs may be tolerant to Zyrtec, some dogs may develop a bad reaction to the drug, such as heavy drooling or vomiting. However, this is just a temporary reaction that stops once the medication has made its way through your dog’s system. One of the biggest advantage I find in this drug is that it does not cause sedation if used correctly.

But if you overdose your dog, especially a small dog, there is the possibility he may experience sleepiness and sedation. Giving the precise recommended dosage may not be possible most times because of the difficulty in breaking the tablet into smaller pieces.

So you need to be extremely careful and make sure that you give the recommended Zyrtec dose for dog. The good news though is that overdosing is not likely. Scientific research indicates that for a dog to show symptoms of an overdose, he needs to take 95 times the recommended amount of medication.

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Final Verdict

When it comes to treating dog allergies, Zyrtec is the preferred choice of most pet owners as well as veterinarians. It has been proven to be a highly safe and moderately effective way to offer relief to your pet. Most dogs are able to tolerate it with almost no significant side-effect.

However, a serious consideration is the fact that it is quite expensive and also the drug has to be used for longer duration to completely cure the problem. Nonetheless, if you are looking for the safest option, then Zyrtec is the appropriate choice.

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