Everything You Should Know About Giving Your Dog Zyrtec

dog standing outside in grass

So what can I give my dog for allergies? Zyrtec is a brand name for cetirizine hydrochloride, a relatively new available over-the-counter antihistamine that’s commonly prescribed by veterinarians to help relieve common allergies that affect canines.

Many veterinarians prefer to use Zyrtec only when Benadryl doesn’t lead to any improvements in the dog’s condition.

Cetirizine is mainly intended for human use and not animal use, despite the fact that many veterinarians prescribe it to pet patients who have certain types of allergies.

Which brings us to the question, is cetirizine, or Zyrtec as we will be referring to it from now on in this article by its brand name, safe for dogs?

Is Zyrtec Safe For Dogs To Take?

In short, YES, Zyrtec is safe to use on canines, on one condition though, and that is that you follow all the rules and proper dosages that apply.

We will get to that in just a bit, though.

What Can I Give My Dog Zyrtec For?

Usually, the most common problems that veterinarians refer to Zyrtec to treats in dogs are skin problems that mostly show on pups between the age of 1-3 years, among which are:

  • Dermatitis: Where your dog’s skin becomes very itchy.

If your furry friend has skin allergies that needs something like Zyrtec to solve, you will see some or all of these symptoms in your canine:

dog with tongue sticking out

  • Skin itchiness and irritation that leads them to scratch
  • Excessive face rubbing
  • Hair loss
  • Swelling in various skin areas
  • Excessive head shaking
  • Excessive chewing of body parts like paws or legs
  • Excessive licking

If you see any of these symptoms in your pup, you have to immediately get them to professional animal care, because if left untreated, your dog could develop potentially life-threatening diseases.

Which Form Of Zyrtec Is Safe For Dogs?

You MUST make sure that the formulation of Zyrtec you give to your dog has only one active ingredient, which is cetirizine.

Other formulations out there, most common of which is “Zyrtec-D”, contains other very deadly ingredients to dogs such as pseudoepehedrine, and should never be given to animals.

So, make sure you carefully read the active ingredients on the product packaging before you give it to your canine as treatment, and make sure you NEVER EVER give “Zyrtec-D” to your dog.

Some studies show very scary numbers regarding “Zyrtec-D”, such as finding that as little as two tablets could be enough to kill a small sized dog.

What Is The Correct Zyrtec Dosage For Dogs?

Before we kick off this section, please note that any of these dosages are scientific estimates at best.

You should always consult your veterinarian before you start a course of treatment for your dog with this medication or any other, as they will tell you the exact cetirizine dosage for dogs and all other details you should know.

Generally, cetirizine is taken orally, in a tablet form, once a day. The required dosage is mostly determined by your companion’s weight.

different kinds of pills

The standard recommended Zyrtec dosage for dogs is:

  • Dogs over 10 lbs: Give one 10mg tablet once daily
  • Dogs under 10 lbs: Give one-half of a 10mg tablet once daily

You can feel free to give Zyrtec to your pet alone or with some food, whatever works best for them.

If you suspect that your canine has overdosed on Zyrtec, immediately contact your veterinarian so they tell you the necessary steps you have to do.

When Is Zyrtec Harmful To Dogs?

Here’s a list of some of the circumstances where you should be extra careful about giving your dog Zyrtec:

– Liver Or Kidney Problems: Giving your dog Zyrtec if they’re known to have liver or kidney problems can be very dangerous, mainly because it can cause urine retention and worsen either situation, so you have to consult with your veterinarian first to determine the severity of the issue

– Hypersensitivity: Some dogs are known to be hypersensitive to antihistamines, in which case they should not be administered any Zyrtec.

– Pregnancy: There are not sufficient studies that show that Zyrtec is safe to be given to dogs which are pregnant, so be extra careful on this one

– Nursing: Nursing dogs can pass some Zyrtec in the milk they give to their puppies, so they shouldn’t be given any during this period

Learn more about the use of antihistamines in dogs by checking out this video!

What Are Common Side Effects Of Cetirizine For Dogs?

Here are some of the most common side effects that dogs which are administered Zyrtec could show:

  • Vomiting
  • Hyper-salivation
  • Drowsiness (although this one usually fades away by itself as your dog gets accustomed to the medicine)
  • Heavy sedation
  • Constipation
  • Retention of urine

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, stop giving them Zyrtec and let your veterinarian know about the situation so they determine whether a dosage modification is required, or the prescription of another antihistamine altogether.


  1. PLEASE double check the information you have given here on dosage. You said .5mg PER POUND for a dog. This could very easily lead someone to overdose their dog, potentially killing it!!! Shoot, as a HUMAN over 200#s even I only take ONE 10mg tablet per day!

    The standard recommended Zyrtec dosage for dogs is:
    Dogs over 10 lbs: Give one 10mg tablet once daily
    Dogs under 10 lbs: Give one-half of a 10mg tablet once daily

  2. My dog’s kidney numbers were higher than normal in a blood test. Should I be concerned if the vet prescribed 5mg Zyrtec daily for skin allergies

  3. How much is daily dose for 65lbs dog for allergies? 32.5mg daily dose ? Can I give 15mg twice a day? Or would one time 30mg be better? Human max dose in 24hours is 10mg. Little confusing to me. Please let me know. Thanks in advance.

    • Omg no you’ll kill them 10lbs 10 mgs once a day…Under 5 5mgs once a day and make sure it’s zertic not zertic d…Zertic d has psueduephedren in it and it will kill them…To be safe contact your vet first or at least weigh them…

    • My vet prescribed (2) 10 mg tablets twice a day. He is a collie mix weighting 65 lbs. Where do you get a (1) 10 mg tablet for a dog weighing over 50 lbs? One tablet lasts about 10-12 hrs, then he is back to biting his paws and rubbing his eyes.

  4. Was told by our Vet that dogs have a different metabolism and can take more (based on the dogs weight), than the 10mg 1x a day for us humans. Check with your Vet for specific amount. Our 80 lb Rough Collie is supposed to take 4 – 10 mg pills (scared me to death at first, but seems to help). Of course he just scratched his eyelid again and I am using warm compresses and the dreaded E-Collar!!!

  5. I think you have to be careful where you get any medical information whether it’s for people or animals. Professional information is safest. This article states Zyrtec helps to CURE allergies. They are not cured, it gives the dog temporary relief.

  6. My vet just prescribed 5 (10mg) Zyrtec pills once daily for my 116 LB German Shepherd. It seems like a very high dose. Anyone else have a dog this big taking this dosage?

    • My 80lb dog was prescribed 4 10mg tabs 1x a day and is doing great with it! His atopic dermatitis from allergies is cleared up. 5 for 116 lb dog sounds rightn

    • My vet prescribed 3 10mg a day for my English Bulldog, who is 60 lbs. Considering the bottle says 10mg max for a human, I am STILL nervous about giving that much to my baby girl.

    • My vet has me giving my lab mix that weights 65 lbs 2tabs that are 10mg each and it is working great she has been on them now 6 weeks

  7. My vet just prescribed 5 – (10mg) Zyrtec pills once daily for my 116 LB German Shepherd. It seems like a very high dose. Anyone else have a dog this big taking this dosage?

  8. My dog is 11 pounds and I gave him half the 10mg that we adults take. Now reading these comments I should have given him 2.5 mg. Ugh so frustrated!

    • I have a long-haired Chihuahua and the vet told me to give her 10 mg every 12 hours it seems like a lot so I’m only giving her 5 mg every 12 hours

  9. I’m just curious to exactly what kind of allergies your dogs had to be prescribed Zyrtec? Mine seems to have seasonal during the summer to grass or whatever is in the grass. Wanting to know if the Zyrtec will help this?

  10. Just reading this Deb, my 60lb Boykin was prescribed Zyrtec 10mg-20mg per day, he sneezes and has terrible blood shot eyes with drainage. As a mommy and a RN its ALWAYS BEST to give them the smallest dose so 10mg (for 60lb dog) and if they do well at a lower dose it’s better on their kidneys, liver, etc…Also when we give him his flea/tic medication sometimes it makes him itch, common side effect and we give the 20mg only if he’s itching a lot. Most important also is to take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups to ensure thyroid, kidneys are all working with a simple blood test. Also anonymous the dose is 5mg for dog under 10 lbs, and they do sell the 5mg NOT 0.5mg, 10mg for over 10lbs, just don’t give them Zyrtec-D!!


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