Claritin, also known by its chemical name Loratadine, is an antihistamine medication that’s given to dogs to mostly treat skin irritation caused by certain allergic reactions.
Even though antihistamines such as Claritin were originally manufactured for human use, it’s a very common practice among veterinarians to prescribe such medications to dogs that need them.
A Very Important Note About Claritin VS Claritin-D
When it comes to giving your dog Claritin, there are different formulations you can choose from depending on what you need exactly, but your dog should only be given one of two formulations.
- Plain Claritin formula
- Claritin’s children formula
If you ever come across Claritin-D, never give this to your dog, as Claritin-D contains an ingredient called pseudoephedrine which can be very toxic to dogs, even potentially fatal.
The only form of Claritin you should (ideally) ever be giving your dog is one that has Loratadine as the sole active ingredient in it.
Can I Give My Dog Claritin? Is Claritin Safe For Dogs?
Yes, Claritin is an over the counter medication that you can buy and give to your dog without having to get a prescription from a veterinarian for it.
Even though Claritin has only been FDA-approved for the use in humans and has not yet been FDA-approved for the use in dogs, this medication nonetheless remains one of the most popular veterinary-prescribed drugs out there.
Claritin is considered to be one of the safest antihistamines that can be given to dogs, even safer than the very popular Benadryl for dogs that is known to cause more sedative effects than Claritin.
However, and just like we advise when talking about any medication out there that’s meant to be given to dogs, we urge you to talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any dosage of Claritin.
Here are some things you’re going to especially want to tell your veterinarian before you give your dog any dosage of Claritin.
- Any medical condition or health problem that your dog currently suffers from, or has suffered from in the past
- Any other medications or supplements your dog is currently taking (Claritin is mostly known to terribly interact with Ketocaonazole, Amidoarone and Cimetidine – just to name a few).
- Any allergic reactions your dog has previously had when given Claritin before
Claritin For Dogs Usage
The following list covers some of the most common purposes that Claritin can help your dog with.
- Helps reduce the effect of insect bites/stings in your dog
- Helps reduce the symptoms in your dog after they suffer an allergic reaction (most common of which is itchy skin)
- Helps reduce the negative reactions that happen in your dog’s body after they’re given a bad vaccination that didn’t go down well with their body for whatever reason
How Can I Give My Dog Claritin?
As far as the forms of Claritin available for you to give your dog in are concerned, the most popular forms of Claritin given to dogs are in tablet form, where you can choose to go with either regular swallowable tablets or chewable tablets.
Whichever form of Claritin you ultimately decide to go with, DO NOT choose the orally disintegrating tablet form (also known as orally dissolving tablet form), since these tablets tend to contain certain levels of Xylitol in them, an element which is very poisonous and toxic to dogs.
There’s also an oral solution of Claritin which you can give to your dog, but this is not at all as popular as the tablet form of Claritin, one of the reasons being that it tends to cause a higher sedative effect than Claritin tablets.
Claritin Dosage For Dogs
Before going ahead and giving your dog any dosage of Claritin, always talk to your veterinarian first and leave the task of determining the appropriate dosage of Claritin that your dog needs for them to do.
Never try and be your own veterinarian by specifying the necessary dosage of Claritin your dog should be given by yourself.
With that being said, there exists a ballpark figure/range under which the majority of Claritin for dogs dosage recommendations fall under, and we’ll include this in here just for estimation’s sake.
- A minimum dosage of 0.12 mg/lb
- A maximum dosage of 0.55 mg/lb
These dosages are usually given to dogs once a day, or (as other dog owners may prefer for whatever reason) are divided into two equal dosages a day.
In the end, your veterinarian will be able to give you the best and most accurate dosage amount that your dog needs, according to several factors such as their weight, their size, their age and how severe their case is.
One thing is for certain, though, that whatever the dosage of Claritin specified by your veterinarian turns out to be, you must follow through with the course of treatment till its entirety.
If you stop treating your dog with Claritin midway through the full course, their condition will come back very soon and stronger than it was before.
Claritin Overdose In Dogs
Because of how safe of a medication this is for dogs to be given, you have more leeway than is the case with other medication even if your dog is given a little more dosages than they should.
In other words, if you give your dog a slightly higher dosage of Claritin than they should be given by mistake, don’t panic, as chances are your dog won’t be harmed because of this one time event.
Compared to other medications in which even the slightest bit of higher dosage can cause disastrous effects when it comes to your dog’s health, this is a sigh of relief for many to learn.
However, always remain in contact with your veterinarian about this if you notice any unusual side effects or behavioral changes in your dog, and be ready to take them to the nearest pet emergency care center if need be.
Claritin Side Effects In Dogs
Even though Claritin is one of the safest antihistamines you could ever give to your dog, and is known to cause side effects in dogs only in rare occurrences, your dog might just be one of these “exception to the rule” cases.
Some dogs’ bodies just don’t accept antihistamines no matter how safe they are, something you should be ready for just in case this turns out to be what your dog’s system is like.
Here are some of the most common side effects you should be looking out for in your dog when giving them any dosage of Claritin.
- Loose stool
- Inability to fully urinate
- Excessive thirst
- Dryness around the eyes area
- Dryness around the mouth area
- Sedation (Usually not to a large extent)
- Lightheadidness (This is a more serious side effect that usually signifies something very wrong and/or that your dog may have overdosed on Claritin. If you notice this symptom in your dog, immediately get in contact with your veterinarian about it).
When Is Claritin Bad For Dogs?
Just like there are times when any medication out there may be bad for you and I (or our pets), the following is a list of times when you’ll want to refrain from giving your dog Claritin, or at the very least consult with your veterinarian before doing so and make sure that you’re given the “good to go” sign from them.
- When your dog has shown any signs of hypersensitivity or allergy to Claritin at any given point in time before
- When your dog is pregnant or lactating
- When your dog suffers from liver disease/liver problems
- When your dog suffers from kidney disease/kidney problems
- When your dog suffers from a condition called “dry eye”
This list is by no means an exhaustive list when it comes to cases where Claritin is bad for dogs, which is why you should always talk to your veterinarian first so they can make sure no other obstacles stand in the way of you giving your dog this medication.