Dog Knowledge

Claritin for Dogs: Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

loratadine for dogs

Seeing your loyal companion suffering from endless allergy reactions can be a nerve-racking experience. You’ll be running up and down, trying to find a lasting solution to their sufferings. In such cases, you can administer Claritin for dogs, but only under veterinary supervision.

Before using any drug on your pet, it’s vital to know its uses, dosage, and side effects. That’s because some medicines can cause more harm to the dog than you expected. This article helps you understand Claritin, how it works, its uses, dosage, and possible side effects on dogs.

How Claritin for Dogs Works

Claritin is an antihistamine drug that treats allergic symptoms, including itchiness and inflammation. Loratadine, the active chemical in Claritin, works by blocking histamine in dogs’ bodies. This way, your dog doesn’t suffer from allergic reactions.

A dog’s immune system will first identify a foreign substance in its body as an allergen. Then, it will trigger mast cells that contain histamine. Once this activation happens, histamine gets released from the mast cells.

This inflammatory biochemical travels through the dog’s body and binds to H1 cellular receptors. The result is allergic symptoms such as redness, swelling, and itchiness.

Vets prescribe antihistamines like Claritin to relieve these symptoms. Loratadine binds the H1 cell receptors so that histamine has nothing to hold on to, disrupting the natural allergic cycle and bringing a relief action.

Besides Claritin, you can administer antihistamines like cetirizine and diphenhydramine to your dog. Vets recommend Claritin because it doesn’t cause drowsiness and lasts longer than other antihistamines.

Uses of Claritin For Dogs

Claritin for dogs can be administered to treat the following conditions.

To Treat Dog Allergies

The common allergens in dogs are food rich in proteins, beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, and dairy products. Dogs also show allergic reactions after exposure to mold spores, dust mites, and pollen.

The result is itchiness, inflammation, redness, and other allergic reactions. Giving Claritin to your dog can help manage all these allergy symptoms, regardless of the allergen.

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Treating Bites and Stings

Insects and bugs will always leave a mark on your furry friend’s body after bites and stings. The site will seem swollen and itchy. In this case, you can give Claritin as a first-aid medication to soothe these symptoms and stop further complications.

Given to Dogs Suffering From Mast Cell Tumors

Dogs suffering from cancerous mast cell tumors are likely to develop frequent chronic inflammation due to excessive blood histamine levels.

Vets prescribe antihistamines such as Claritin to relieve the inflammation symptoms, although they aren’t effective against cancer.

Vaccination Reactions

Vaccines have played a vital role in protecting canines from lethal diseases. Interestingly, some dogs are hypersensitive and will show severe allergic reactions to routine vaccines.

These allergic reactions can be scary, but they shouldn’t deter you from administering vaccines to your dog. Your vet may recommend Claritin as a preventive measure for the reactions.

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The dosage instructions you are about to read are just general use for all dogs and should never replace advice from a professional veterinarian. Always ask for individual pet advice from the vet before administering over-the-counter drugs like Claritin on your dog.

Though Claritin can treat allergy symptoms in dogs, it’s only safe when you administer the correct dosage.

Similar to giving Benadryl to your dog, the ideal dosage depends hugely on your dog’s weight and how severe the allergy symptoms are. The recommended formula is 0.2 milligram of Claritin for each pound of your dog’s body weight. But you should give this medication as per the dosage recommended by the vet.

Here is a more precise insight on Claritin for dogs dosage.

  • For a small dog weighing between 1-14 pounds, give 2.5 milligrams of Claritin twice daily.
  • Dogs with bodyweight between 15-40 pounds, usually mid-sized, should get a 5-milligram tablet twice a day.
  • Lastly, those above 40 pounds should get 10 milligrams of Claritin twice a day.

Ensure you don’t overdose your dog on Claritin. Overdosing may result in some nasty side effects. In the worst-case scenario, it can cause other severe conditions, such as stroke.

Remember to administer the right Claritin to your dog. Drugs like Claritin-D may contain pseudoephedrine which is lethal to dogs.

Checking the label is the only way to know if you’re working with the right Claritin. Its active ingredient should read loratadine or loratadine for dogs.

Side Effects of Claritin For Dogs

Unlike traditional antihistamines, Claritin doesn’t cross from the blood to the dog’s brain. It won’t cause drowsiness or hyperactivity in your dog. That said, your dog might show the following negative signs after ingesting Claritin.

  • Stomach upsets
  • Decreased tear production
  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary retention

The side effects are usually not lethal and should go away after some time. However, the impact of a Claritin overdose on your dog can be pretty severe.

Your dog may become hyperactive, depressed, or even experience a rapid heart rate. That’s why it’s always advisable to consult your vet before administering Claritin.


While Claritin for dogs is commonly prescribed for allergy relief, it can be fatal for pets suffering from certain conditions or currently on other drugs. Loratadine formulations shouldn’t be given to:

  • Young puppies
  • Nursing and pregnant females. Talk to your vet to get an alternative allergy medication
  • Dogs ailing from liver, kidney, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca disease
  • Loratadine sensitive or allergic dogs
  • Dogs on other contraindicated drugs such as cimetidine antacid, erythromycin antibiotics, or ketoconazole antifungal drugs

So, should you purchase Claritin from a drug store and give it to your dog? Most antihistamines are made with people in mind, but what is safe for human beings may be poisonous for pets.

Tablets meant for humans might contain a sweetener known as xylitol which is highly toxic to dogs.

Bottomline On Giving Claritin To A Dog

Claritin for dogs may be safe and beneficial but should be given with caution and only after the vet’s approval. Ensure you administer the correct dosage, depending on your dog’s body weight, for better results.

Stop treatment and call your vet when you notice any adverse side effects after giving Claritin to your dog.

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