Zyrtec for Dogs: Better Safe than Sorry

Just like people, dogs can experience allergy symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, and itchiness during the spring season. These symptoms arise in both dogs and humans due to the pollen and dust in the air. When it comes to medication, a common recommendation is Zyrtec, especially for dogs.

Some owners feel that their dogs can get over their allergies on their own, but that’s only the case if the symptoms are minor. If your dog experiences severe allergy symptoms, it can escalate further into something life-threatening. It’s essential to avoid that risk and give your dog allergy medication to get rid of any allergy symptoms before it’s too late.


Are Allergies Dangerous for My Dog?

When your dog is outside during allergy season, he or she will most likely get some pollen in their system. Pollen stimulates the release of histamine from mast cells, which could get into blood vessels and cause severe dilation. When blood vessels dilate, blood flow heightens. The constant blood flow can result in swelling, congestion, and redness. Histamine can also get into the lungs resulting in constriction, which can lead to wheezing, sneezing, and other unfavorable problems.

If these allergy symptoms are left unmanaged, it can cause tissue swelling, which can obstruct the throat. With an obstructed throat, air and oxygen will not be able to properly enter the system. Because of this, your dog may have trouble breathing, which requires an immediate trip to the vet.

Other dangerous complications of allergies are bacterial infection and shock. Histamine can cause severe pruritus and itchiness. When your dog keeps scratching, their claws can rip through their own skin. The open wound would make him or her susceptible to bacterial infection.

Bacteria can get through the wound and into the bloodstream, causing shock. With a shock, your dog may experience low blood pressure, severe fever, shakes, and chills. If left unmanaged, these complications can be very life-threatening for your four-legged companion.

Related: Does CBD Oil Help Dogs with Allergies

What is Zyrtec?

Zyrtec contains an active ingredient called cetirizine, which contains antihistamine properties. The medication works by blocking receptors on various blood vessels, tissues, and lungs so that histamine would not be able to bind to them. When histamine can’t bind to those receptors, it will not be able to dilate your dog's blood vessels, therefore reducing symptoms of sneezing, watery eyes, or other unfavorable symptoms.

This second-generation antihistamine medication is often prescribed for humans, but it can be used for dogs as well. The best thing to do is to talk to your vet about it so they can prescribe the proper medication with the correct dosage.

Allergy Symptoms for Dogs

Dogs and humans often experience similar symptoms when it comes to allergies. When dogs get allergies, you may notice:

  • Skin irritation
  • Redness
  • Excessive itching
  • Swelling
  • Watery eyes
  • Rubbing of the face and muzzles
  • Biting their legs or paws

If you don’t treat the symptoms properly, skin infection and hair loss may occur.

Keep in mind that constant scratching can cause open wounds, which in turn makes them susceptible to infections leading to hot spots. If your dog has severe allergic reactions, they can get hives and anaphylactic shock. Like in humans, anaphylactic shock in dogs can be dangerous and life-threatening.

If you observe any sudden diarrhea, seizures, and vomiting, then you’d better get your dog to the vet right away! If you check your dog's gums and notice that they are paler than normal instead of a healthy pink, then it means your dog may be suffering from shock. You can take a look at their paws to feel the temperature. With symptoms of shock, their paws might be cool to touch.

Related: Dog CBD Treats

Why Does Your Dog Have Allergies?

There are a variety of reasons why your dog could get allergies. Some of the most common allergy causes are flea bites, grass, pollen, weeds, dust mites, and food.

Where Do I Get Zyrtec for My Dog?

The most common mistakes that dog owners make is purchasing Zyrtec from a drugstore and giving it to their dogs. Unfortunately, the dosage and ingredients for dogs and humans are completely different. Keep in mind that humans weigh more than dogs, so they definitely have a different dosage. And the dosage will also vary from dog to dog.

It’s best to go to your veterinarian and ask for a prescription for Zyrtec. Your vet will take your dog's breed and weight into account to find the proper dosage. Plus, the ingredients found in regular Zyrtec that people use could be detrimental for dogs. That is why it’s essential to obtain Zyrtec medication that is specifically designed for dogs because they have all the safe and healthy ingredients that are required to treat your canine companion.

Why Should Zyrtec-D Be Avoided?

If you see Zyrtec-D, do not give it to your dog. Zyrtec-D contains pseudoephedrine, which is extremely harmful and dangerous for your dog. Pseudoephedrine is a synthetic ingredient that activates the alpha receptor to stimulate the fight and flight response. This action can help cut up mucus to alleviate congestion, which can occur during an allergy attack. It’s safe for humans, but definitely not for dogs.

This is mainly because pseudoephedrine can significantly elevate blood pressure and stimulate seizures in dogs. After all, both humans and dogs have different brain structures and signals as well as blood vessel structures, so they react differently to the medication.

Even though pseudoephedrine can increase our blood pressure by a little bit, it can significantly elevate the blood pressure in a dog leading to severe hypertension and possibly organ failure if it’s not addressed promptly.

What are the Side Effects of Zyrtec?

Since Zyrtec contains antihistamine properties, your dog may experience side effects of: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Constipation
  • Impulsive response
  • Urinary retention
  • Excessive salivation

In addition, Zyrtec can cause severe kidney and liver problems. Even though this is a rare side effect, it’s best to avoid this medication in dogs with kidney and liver dysfunction.

Major Precaution With Zyrtec

Since Zyrtec causes urinary retention, it would not be good to prescribe this to a dog with renal problems. If your dog has lower abdominal tenderness, it’s a good idea to bring him or her to the veterinarian for an examination. The vet may have to insert a catheter to drain out all the urine from the bladder.

The urinary retention side effects occur because of the fight or flight response that the antihistamine agent from Zyrtec stimulates. If your dog has a pre-existing liver or kidney problem, then it's best to avoid the medication. Other conditions that you should use caution with are: 

  • Glaucoma
  • Seizure disorders
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Senior pets
  • Working dogs
  • Pregnant or nursing mothers

Some studies have shown that Zyrtec is not safe for pregnant dogs. If your dog has given birth to a litter of puppies and is nursing, it’s best to stay away from Zyrtec. This is mainly because the medication can pass onto the puppies through the mother's milk.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the veterinarian should be aware of any other medications that your dog is taking. Some medicines can interact with the ingredients found in Zyrtec, which can result in unfavorable side effects.

Related: CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs With Seizure

What To Do In Case of Emergency? 

While we hate to think of emergencies with our pets, it is best to be prepared before they occur. The risk of your dog having an overdose of Zyrtec is low, but the effect could be dangerous. If your dog is experiencing an overdose or adverse reactions to the medication, call your vet office right away. If this happens during off-hours, be sure you have the number and location of an emergency vet so you can rush your dog there as soon as possible. 

Home Remedies for Allergies

If you like to experiment with different natural home remedies, then you are in luck. We have some home remedies for allergies that you can try on your canine companion.

Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal baths are often the main go-to strategy for people suffering from eczema. Additionally, it can also be given to dogs with allergy symptoms. Oatmeal is a powerful remedy to alleviate and soothe irritated skin.

It’s very easy to set up; all you have to do is add water to the oatmeal and apply it to your dog's skin. You can even fill the whole tub with water and oatmeal, and give your dog a fun-filled and delicious bath. Allow your dog to soak in there for at least 10 minutes to soothe any irritated skin.

We here at Dope Dog have a fantastic Oatmeal Lavender CBD Dog Shampoo that your pup is sure to love. Since oatmeal has a strong anti-inflammatory component, it can reduce the swelling and redness that your dog gets from their constant scratching. It also includes jojoba oil, marjoram oil, and vitamin E which are best for moisturizing the skin and reducing irritation.

Related: Should My Dog Be Using CBD Shampoo?

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains high amounts of lauric acid, which can help soothe irritated skin. All you have to do is apply a small amount on your dog's coat or mix it with their dog food.

If you decide to feed your dog coconut oil, it’s best to use a small amount, about 1/4 teaspoon for small dog breeds and 1 tablespoon for large dogs. You can also infuse CBD with coconut oil for maximum effects. The powerful combo can help reduce skin issues and relax your dog at the same time.


CBD oil helps promote healthy skin, and it does wonders for dogs with sensitive skin. You can mix the oil with their food or apply directly to their skin. This is a very useful treatment strategy for dogs with skin allergies or eczema. It can help reduce itching, irritation, redness, and swelling that comes with the allergy symptoms.

There are also CBD dog treats that can help decrease your dog’s allergy symptoms. One of the significant issues with allergies is that it can cause extreme stress and anxiety, which promotes constant scratching.

Fortunately, the CBD components from the dog treats can help alleviate the stress signals from your dog's brain, which can help relax him or her. When your dog is relaxed, it can weaken the histamine action, which reduces the allergy symptoms. In addition, the terpene compounds found in CBD dog treats, it helps restore healthy skin and promotes a shinier coat.

Why Give Zyrtec Instead of Other Medication?

Other medications are phenomenal, but Zyrtec can definitely take the headaches out of your dog's life. Zyrtec is a second-generation antihistamine, which means that it will not cause your canine companion to be drowsy or fatigued.

Zyrtec is active for up to 24 hours, so your dog will be free from a runny nose, itchy skin, sneezing, and other symptoms for the whole day. Also, Zyrtec is safer and has fewer side effects than other allergy medicine, which makes it the best remedy for your dog during the spring season.

It's very potent and yields excellent results for dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis. The only issue is that Zyrtec tends to be more expensive than other allergy medication for dogs.

How Much Zyrtec Should You Give Your Dog?

The safest way to determine how much Zyrtec to give to your dog is to consult with your veterinarian. Usually, dog owners will give their pets one tablet a day, but the amounts can be different depending on the dog's symptoms and size. This means that the type of symptoms that you are trying to get rid of will determine how much you give to your four-legged friends.

Owners are most successful in administering the medication by putting the tablet inside of a treat. If you provide the proper amount, your dog will be less likely to experience those unfavorable side effects from the medication. However, a high dosage can stimulate adverse symptoms, so it’s best to consult with your vet for the proper daily dosage.

How Do I Give It To Them?

Cetirizine medications are administered orally with tablets or syrups. Zyrtec can be given with food or without depending on your dog. If it is difficult to give alone or if your dog vomits after giving the medication, then administering with a small amount of food will be best. Owners are most successful in administering the medication by putting the tablet inside of a treat. If you provide the proper amount, your dog will be less likely to experience those unfavorable side effects from the medication.

Zyrtec will act quickly once your dog digests it, and within 1-2 hours you should be able to see signs of improvement.

Your vet will instruct you on how many doses you should give your dog daily. If you miss giving a dose, just administer the next one at the correct time. Never give your pet extra doses, and always administer the proper amount described by your veterinarian. 


Zyrtec is a common medication that people use to suppress allergy symptoms, and it can also be used for dogs. To minimize these uncomfortable allergies, it’s best to consult the vet. Talking to your vet before using Zyrtec helps your dog heal safely. The vet can help prescribe the proper dosage and medication to your dogs. It’s also important to be aware of any potential side effects so you know when to stop the medication.

At the end of the day, allergies can be a pain in the butt for both humans and animals. Fortunately, with all these great options available, your dog will love you for saving him or her from those uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Don’t forget to browse our shop for soothing CBD products that your dog is sure to love.

Check out other great home remedy uses of CBD for your dog here.


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