Claritin, the popular brand name of the drug loratadine, is commonly used for treating allergies. Claritin is an H1 histamine antagonist (anti-histamine), which, unlike many other popular anti-allergens such as Benadryl for dogs, does not tend to induce sedation in those who use it making it a highly popular alternative. Aside from allergies, the drug is also typically employed immediately after insect bites/stings to reduce the effects of the poison. Claritin is an over-the-counter drug which means you do not need a prescription for use, though it is always a good idea to double check with your vet prior to using any medication.
Is Claritin safe for dogs?
Claritin is a safe drug for use in dogs when given at the correct dosage, and is along the same lines as Benadryl, but with the added advantage of not causing drowsiness in your pet. Smart Dog Owners says that it is imperative that you check the label on the Claritin to make sure it’s safe for your dog. You should check the active ingredients on the packaging before using Claritin, as some of their products contain other substances which may be harmful to pets. For example, you want to stay away from Claritin-D which also contains pseudoephedrine. If the packaging lists only loratadine as the active ingredient, then that is what you want. The pharmacist will be able to help you with this if you’re confused. You should avoid
administering Claritin alongside other medicine of the same class (other H1 histamine antagonists) as mixing could lead to overdose symptoms. If during the course of treatment your dog begins to display any unforeseen negative side effects you should stop use immediately and seek veterinary instruction.
Uses of Claritin for dogs
Claritin is a non-sedating anti-histamine medicine, typically used to treat:
- Allergic reactions
- Stings and bites
- Bad reactions to vaccines
Much like Benadryl, the drug Claritin is used most commonly for dogs suffering from allergies. However, unlike Benadryl with the active ingredient diphenhydramine, Claritin’s active ingredient loratadine does not induce fatigue. Because of this trait, it is often a popular choice in the treatment of allergies.
Some safety precautions you should take before administering Claritin to your dog are:
- Be sure that no other medication your dog is taking interacts with loratadine
- Notify your vet if your dog suffers from liver disease
- Use the drug in pill form as the alcohol content in most liquid Claritin formulations is too high for dogs
- Do not mix with other antihistamines
- Usually, Claritin will not have any real adverse effect on your dog. However, you should never mix it with any other H1 histamine antagonists, as this may lead to an overdose. Furthermore, you should be aware that mixing the drug with ketoconazole, erythromycin, cimetidine or furanocoumarin derivatives may lead to increased drowsiness due to the drug’s interaction with those substances. There are several more popular alternatives for the treatment of allergies in dogs such as Benadryl which you may wish to try. As with any drug, it is always best to check with your vet before administering it to your dog.
Claritin dosage for dogs
The regular dosage of Claritin (loratadine) for dogs is 0.2 mg for each pound your dog weighs. Typically vets will recommend 5 mg every 24 hours for small to mid-size dogs, and 10 mg a day for larger dogs such as Labradors. You should take your dog to see the vet first before using this medication for specific dosage information, as cases vary. As an example dosage, a 50 lb dog would need 10 mg of the drug (0.2 x 50). Always administer the dosage advised by your vet and never exceed the safe amount.
Side Effects of giving Claritin to your dog
Despite being a non-sedative anti-allergen, your dog may still become slightly drowsy, though it is uncommon on typical dosages. Other side effects include urinary retention, dry mouth, blurred vision and stomach upset. If your dog suffers any serious negative side effects you should stop administering the drug immediately and seek urgent veterinary attention. Serious side effects in dogs taking this medicine are highly uncommon but if it is the first time you have ever given H1 histamine antagonists to your dog, you should remain extra vigilant. Use in dogs with known hypersensitivity to this type of drug should be avoided entirely.