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Using Claritin for Dogs

Our four-legged pals develop allergies just like we do, and the symptoms can become more than just a minor discomfort for them, too. So if Claritin works for you, will it help relieve your dog’s allergies, as well? Is it safe to give your dog Claritin?

Many pet owners often reach inside their medicine cabinets to treat common dog ailments with human OTC medications. Consulting your vet before giving your pet pal any type of new medication is a must. Needless to say, while our dogs are also family, they have a different biology and may have a different reaction to human medications. Read on to find out if it is safe to use Claritin to treat dog allergies. 

Using Claritin for Dogs

What is Claritin and how does it work?

Claritin, also known as Loratadine, is a medication that treats mild to moderate allergy symptoms. In both humans and dogs, Claritin works by relieving the symptoms through its antihistamine effect. This means that the drug prevents histamines - chemicals that trigger the allergic response - from attaching to receptors so that the body does not produce the usual allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, and itching.

Claritin does not treat allergies; it only manages the symptoms. You or your dog will continue to experience the symptoms when you’re not taking the antihistamine. 

Using Claritin for dogs

Using Claritin for Dogs


Veterinarians typically prescribe Claritin to also treat allergy symptoms in dogs, including irritated and watery eyes, runny nose, and itchy skin. Fido will typically scratch, chew, and lick the itchy area obsessively, and these can lead to more serious skin problems. You can give him relief from his symptoms by giving him Claritin. Ask your vet about the proper dosage for your dog.   

Atopic Dermatitis

Canine atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin inflammation caused by hypersensitivity to an environmental substance, such as dust. If your dog has such a hypersensitivity, he will have recurring episodes of itchiness every time he is exposed to the environmental trigger. Vigorous and non stop scratching, licking, and chewing of the irritated skin can lead to hot spots and bacterial infections if the condition is left untreated. Claritin may also be prescribed by your vet to give Fido relief from the itching. 

Common dog allergens include:

  • Dust
  • Dander
  • Pollen
  • Certain plants, such as grass and shrubs
  • Bug bites, particularly from ticks and fleas
  • Smoke
  • Perfume
  • Laundry detergents
  • Household cleaners
  • Certain ingredients or food formula
  • Certain medications

Symptoms of allergies in dogs

If you notice your pet pal exhibiting any of the following symptoms, he may be having an allergic reaction and you should ask your vet about giving him Claritin. 

  • Sneezing which persists for hours or throughout the day. The sneezing may also be accompanied by clear nasal discharge. 
  • Red, itchy, and watery eyes that accompany sneezing also indicate allergies. However, do not confuse an eye infection with an allergy symptom; if left untreated, an eye infection can lead to a more serious and even permanent eye problem. 
  • Itchy and irritated skin is a common allergic reaction in dogs. Familiarize yourself with the differences between bug bites and skin irritations caused by an allergen because Claritin will not work on the former. 
  • Itchy and swollen paws may also be a symptom of allergies. If you notice Fido constantly chewing and licking his paws, look for other allergy symptoms; consult your vet if you’re not sure what the problem could be. 
  • Coughing is a common allergy symptom among dogs that also have asthma. If this is a new symptom for your dog, have him checked by your vet before giving him Claritin for allergies as the coughing could be a sign of a more serious condition. 
  • Wheezing indicates difficulty breathing, which is also a common allergic reaction. However, it may also indicate a respiratory infection so it’s important that your vet make a proper diagnosis. 
  • Chronic ear infections are actually a sign that your dog is allergic to something. Take your best bud to the vet to properly identify the specific trigger. 
  • Stomach issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea, may indicate a food allergy. If his gastrointestinal issues persist even after changing his diet, there may be a more serious underlying cause and you should take him to your vet. 
Using Claritin for Dogs

What is the right Claritin dosage for dogs?

You should ask your vet for the correct Claritin dosage to give to your dog. There are a number of factors to consider when determining the proper dosage for every dog, such as age, body weight, and the severity of the allergies. Generally, the recommended dosage is 0.2 mg of Claritin for every pound of body weight. 

  • For dogs who are 20 lbs or less: 2.5 mg or half of a 5 mg tablet, 1-2 times daily
  • For dogs between 21 and 50 lbs: 5 mg or half of a 10mg tablet, 1-2 times daily
  • For dogs who are 51 lbs or greater: 10 mg or two 5 mg tablets, 1-2 times daily

You should also take note that you should only give Fido plain Claritin or Children’s Claritin tablets; never give your pet Claritin-D. Claritin-D contains pseudoephedrine, which is fatal to dogs. 

Potential adverse reactions you should watch out for when you give your dog Claritin are as follows:

  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Excessively dry eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Changes in bowel movement
  • Urinary retention
  • Behavioral changes, such as irregular moods or excitability

Claritin for dogs - Final Thoughts

Using Claritin for Dogs

Vets typically prescribe OTC human medications to treat mild ailments in dogs; antihistamines are one of them. But don’t forget that every dog reacts differently to a certain medication. Fido may not get any relief from Benadryl, for example, but responds well to Claritin. Before starting your pet on any new medication, always consult your vet. 

Claritin is commonly prescribed by vets for mild allergy symptoms in dogs, but its use in animals is not regulated by the FDA as there are currently no studies that support the effectiveness and safety of this drug when given to animals. 

If your dog’s symptoms do not improve after a few days, discontinue use of Claritin and consult your vet. If you observe any adverse reactions, you should also immediately stop giving your dog Claritin and have him checked as soon as possible.