What is Claritin?
What is Claritin?
Claritin, known generically as Loratadine, is an over-the-counter antihistamine drug used to treat allergy symptoms in human beings, including those resulting from moderate food allergies to seasonal allergies. Claritin works by blocking histamine, a substance in the body that initiates symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and itchy skin. Claritin can be an effective tool in any person’s arsenal come “hay fever” season. But what about Claritin for dogs? Can you give Claritin to your canine companion who is suffering from similar symptoms?
Recent trends have shown that many owners are ready and willing to administer “made for human” medications to their dogs in order to treat a variety of conditions. Whether your pooch is itching uncontrollably due to allergies or reacting badly to a vaccination, there is a popular push to administer to his needs with a dose of Claritin.
What causes allergies in Dogs?
Dogs can suffer from several different types of allergies, just like humans.
Characterized by itchy skin or skin irritation, this type of allergy is the most common type of allergic reaction in dogs. These are typically caused by environmental allergens, food allergies, and allergies to fleas.
This type of allergy is not as common in dogs, however, it is important to be aware of. Symptoms of food allergies range from hives and swelling, to vomiting, diarrhea and even chronic ear infections.
Is Claritin Safe for Dogs?
Is Claritin a safe drug to give to your furry friend in order to relieve his allergic reactions? In a short: talk to your vet. Pets of all species should never be administered “made for human” drugs without a veterinarian consultation. In the case of Claritin, your vet may very well be on board with treating your dog with this antihistamine. After all, it has been known to relieve many allergy symptoms in dogs when they are administered with the correct dosage.
Your vet should calculate the proper dosage based on your dog’s body weight, age, and extent of the allergies. It’s important to talk to your vet before giving your dog Claritin to be sure that it’s the right choice for your dog and that you’re providing the right dosage.
Appropriate dosage amounts can range wildly when the age, weight, and medical history of your particular pooch are taken into account. Only trained veterinarians familiar with your dog should be consulted in regards to administering “made for human” drugs, as it isn’t worth risking your dog’s life over.
Why Do People Give Dogs Claritin?
Some veterinarians have suggested Claritin in order to treat allergies in dogs. Their noses run, their eyes get red, but worse than that, allergies can cause intense and aggravating itchiness of the skin. Claritin can be used to treat these and a number of other less obvious afflictions.
Inflammation from mast cell tumors can be treated with Claritin as the symptoms are often congruous with those of an allergic reaction. Come vaccination time, Claritin may also be helpful in allaying those short-lived side effects that are plaguing your puppy.
Which Claritin Formula Can I Use?
The plain Claritin formula or the children’s version are the only type you can safely use on your dog. Never give your dog Claritin-D. Claritin-D contains pseudoephedrine, which can be lethal to canines in doses as small as 240mg. If your dog has ingested pseudoephedrine, contact the ASPCA pet poison hotline at (888) 426-4435.
Side Effects of Claritin for Dogs
When humans take over-the-counter medication, they often expect instant relief, but sometimes—and for many, far too often—they instead suffer the side effects of the drugs taken. This holds true with puppies as well. Antihistamines such as Claritin can help your dog through his allergic affliction but may also cause:
- Dry eyes
- Confusion or behavioral changes
- Increased thirst
- Changes in bowel movement consistency and regularity
- Dry mouth
- Urinary retention
The fact is you can never know for sure how your dog is going to react to Claritin until you have dosed him. That is why it is incredibly important to consult your veterinarian before administering this drug and to immediately call them if your dog’s reaction is sizeable after he’s taken the Claritin.
Claritin Overdose in Dogs
Though unlikely when given the correct type of Claritin, overdoses are possible and potentially very dangerous for dogs. The side effects listed above will become very obvious and a high enough dosage could possibly lead to a stroke.
It is very hard to watch your dog suffer through allergy season. He can’t tell you how he feels but you can see in his big, red, runny eyes that all is not right in his world. Claritin may bring both you and your pup a measure of relief when the winds of spring and fall roll clouds of pollen into town, but always consult with your veterinarian first.
If Claritin is not the right choice for your dog, there are other antihistamines used to treat human allergies, including Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine). As always, consult your vet before distributing any of these medications to see what is the safest and best choice for your dog.
Regardless of whether he’s a Great Dane, a Golden Retriever or a Miniature Poodle, your dog is unique, 100% one-of-a-kind, and he may react to any medication in a number of different ways regardless of size or breed.
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