Zyrtec for allergies in dogs?
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Thread: Zyrtec for allergies in dogs?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2013

    Question Zyrtec for allergies in dogs?

    I'm trying to move away from using Atarax (hydroxyzine) for my dogs allergies during the day time and wanted to try a "non-drowsy" (and cheaper) antihistamine.

    I researched zyrtec and dogs and found dosage (<10lbs 5mg po qd, 10-50lbs 10mg po qd, >50lbs 10mg po bid).
    I also found results that said most dogs responded better to Zyrtec over other antihistamines.

    So, I talked to my vet that prescribed the Atarax and she said she has never even heard of a medication called Zyrtec and doesn't know what's in it... I'm wondering why I still go to this vet.

    Zyrtec is actually a metabolite created when Atarax is broken down in the body.

    Does anyone use Zyrtec (cetirizine) for allergies in their dog? Did it help? and what dosage per weight did you give?
    -Borador Owner!-

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Damon'sMom's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Southern Indiana, USA

    Re: Zyrtec for allergies in dogs?

    I use Loratadine for my dogs and it works wonders. We sell Hydroxyzine and Loratadine at the clinic as our main (cheaper) go to antihistamines to try before we go to something stronger. And if my vet didn't know what Zertec was, you can be sure I would be finding a new vet. lol
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  4. #3
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    Sep 2012

    Re: Zyrtec for allergies in dogs?

    My vet recommended zyrtec for my dog. She said claritin was ok but zyrtec would be more effective. It doesn't make her tired like the benadryl & helps with her allergies. I just buy the generic @ Target.

    I give 5 mg of Zyrtec once a day.....my dog is 10 pounds & change - just under 11 pounds. I have a pill splitter & split the 10mg tablets. The 5 mg tablets can be hard to find & are much more expensive (most kids - who also need 5mg- take the liquids not the pills - but I think adding half a pill to my dog's breakfast is easier than measuring out liquid medication every day).

    If I saw a vet that did not know what zyrtec was, I would be finding a new vet.
    Last edited by Caro; 04-19-2015 at 03:37 AM. Reason: added dosage

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  6. #4
    Senior Member cookieface's Avatar
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    Jul 2011

    Re: Zyrtec for allergies in dogs?

    I've used generic Zytec (10mg bid) for my 43lb dog. It didn't work as well as benedryl, but even that isn't working as well as did last year. Benedryl do not have a sedating effect on my dog (oh how I wish it did!).

    When you asked your vet about it, I wonder if she were focusing on veterinary drugs not human drugs. Perhaps if you had said, "Zyrtec, the human allergy med" she would have been able to place it. That kind of thing has happened to me before. Although, given that you were talking about allergy meds, it is odd that she didn't recognize it. That said, if that's the only issue with the vet, I don't know that I would switch.

  7. #5
    Senior Member gingerkid's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Alberta, Canada

    Re: Zyrtec for allergies in dogs?

    There are different types of histamines which contribute to allergic reactions, so the antihistamine that is most effective for one dog might not be as effective for another.

    I think also, when working cross medicine boundaries (vets to physicians and vice versa) using the compound name instead of the trade name might help. Perhaps the vet hasn't heard of zyrtec but know of cetirizine, or the more common tradename of cetirizine - Reactine.
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  8. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Re: Zyrtec for allergies in dogs?

    I have used just about every antihistamine commonly available in dogs and found that though in most cases, antihistamines do not work all that well in severely allergic dogs, but in those that respond to them, most dogs tend to respond to most of the antihistamines, though not equally. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) seems to be the most used one partially because most owners are familiar with it. Most dogs do NOT get sleepy with most antihistamines, but there certainly are exceptions. I have had somewhat less success with Claritan and Zyrtec for treating canine allergies, and the cost is often not worth the continued effort if after a week or two of use, there have been no positive results. The advantage of these two antihistamines in humans is that they produce little to no sleepiness in people… but as I discovered and said already, rarely do my canine patients show any lethargy with the more common and much cheaper drugs (diphenhydramine, chlorpheneramine and hydroxyzine). However, most antihistamines appear to be fairly safe when the proper dosages are used. Even long term side effects are extremely rare. If you are lucky enough to own a dog that responds to antihistamines for their allergies, you should be happy as these drugs are not only readily available, but safe with very few side effects (unlike steroids). For those that want a much cheaper alternative to Zyrtec, but one that is available without a prescription, chlorpheneramine is hard to beat (aka Chlortrimaton)… though it does have a horrible flavor (so not a great option in cats who taste and hate about any drug you make them swallow). It is available extremely cheaply in bottles of 100-1000. Ask your vet for the proper dose, though! This one is less likely to make your dog sleepy, for those who have dogs that do get sleepy with Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Atarax (hydroxizine).

  9. #7
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Charleston, SC USA

    Re: Zyrtec for allergies in dogs?

    If you approach your Vet and communicate so that she understands, she should be able to locate a comparative table of OTC antihistamines and what they will help with, as well as canine dosages. Although I've seen a fairly complete table and can't put my hands on it, a conventional pharmacist may be able able to help you. It is important, b/c each antihistamine can provide very different responses.

    I had some very inexpensive Zyrtec and Claritin from Costco. And, I gave Shep 1 tablet every 12 hours, rather than 2 tablets per day, changing meds as the seasons changed. When we moved from TX to Charleston, the allergies changed, and these don't seem to help... but his allergies aren't as bad.

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