Claritin for Dogs: Is it Safe?

Claritin for Dogs: Is it Safe?

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 19.04.2021

Many paw parents have recently begun questioning whether or not the human-made allergy medication, Claritin, is safe and effective for their doggos too. 


Runny nose? Endless itching? Irritated and red eyes? We’re all too familiar with allergies, affecting millions of individuals every year. Unfortunately, allergies don’t discriminate, our four-legged fur babies can get them too.


Dog allergies can be a constant struggle and cause agitation and discomfort, especially during those spring and summer months. Knowing that your best friend may be suffering just as much as we are makes paw parents wonder about what they can do to help. 


In today’s article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about Claritin for dogs. As it’s one of the most popular allergy medications on the market for us humans, it’s also important that you know a few things about this medication before giving it to your pup. 

What is Claritin?

Claritin, also scientifically known as Loratadine, works to alleviate allergy symptoms and mild to moderate allergic reactions that may result in hives. In many instances, veterinarians will prescribe Claritin for dogs for the same reasons that us humans take it. 



Do note though, Claritin does not cure allergies. Allergies are manageable, not treatable. Your dog may still suffer from the unpleasant symptoms when they aren’t taking the medication. Claritin works to temporarily relieve the symptoms and help make the seasonal changes more doable for your puppers. 

How Does Claritin Work for Dogs?

Well, when histamine attaches to the H-1 receptors (histamine-1 receptors), located on smooth muscles and small blood vessels, they trigger a reaction that may include itching, irritated eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. Claritin is an antihistamine, meaning that it prevents histamines from attaching to the H-1 receptors. Thus, preventing an allergic reaction. 

What is Claritin Used for Exactly?

A) Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Claritin can help with alleviating symptoms of canine atopic dermatitis. This is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that results from a hypersensitivity to normal environmental substances like dirt and dust. Dogs that are affected by atopic dermatitis may get incredibly itchy, leading them to constantly lick and bite, in an attempt to relieve allergy symptoms. If this goes untreated, it can quickly lead to the development of bacterial infections and hot spots. 

B) Allergies

Just like us humans, doggos with allergies suffer from red eyes, runny noses, and irritation. Affects dogs may also suffer from extremely itchy and irritated skin, causing uncontrollable episodes of scratching to relieve agitation. Constant itching, scratching, and biting can lead to many skin problems, including bacterial infections and scarring. Ouch!



When a dog’s allergies are at an all-time high, a vet may prescribe Claritin to help relieve allergy symptoms and potentially help prevent more skin damage from occurring.

Nine Signs of Allergies

Before considering whether or not Claritin may be fit for your four-legged friend, paw parents must be able to first recognize allergy symptoms and understand that allergic reactions and allergies have different levels of severity. Even if your pup’s symptoms are very mild, he or she may still benefit from an allergy medication. 

1. Wheezing

Certain environmental allergens may cause wheezing, especially if your dog has any pre-existing health conditions, including breathing issues. Before your vet prescribes an allergy medication, like Claritin, they will need to definitively identify allergies as the culprit for the wheezing and x out other potential causes, like bacterial pneumonia. 

2. Irritated Skin

Itchy skin is one of the most common signs of allergies in canines. People may often associate itching with bug bites, but not to get confused, dogs with allergies can experience itchy skin too. Itchy, irritated skin on the base and back of the tail typically indicate flea allergies. Itchy and irritated skin on the ears and paws typically indicate food allergies. 

3. Sneezing

One of the most easily noticeable signs of allergies, in humans and animals, is often sneezing. Persistent sneezing is likely allergy-related, occasional sneezing is totally normal, just FYI.

Nasal discharge is often accompanied by sneezing too. When the sneezing results from allergies, the discharge is usually clear. Green or yellow discharge indicates there is an infection going on that may require treatment. 

4. Snoring

If your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction, this may narrow their airways, causing them to snore. 

5. Coughing

Dogs with allergies may cough here or there, especially if they have a medical condition that affects their breathing. Again, your vet will need to ensure that he or she has ruled out any other serious health issues, like heart failure, that may be the cause of the unruly cough. 

6. Chronic Ear Infections

A telltale sign of allergies in canines? Ear infections. If your dog is constantly touching their ears or has persistent wax buildup within their ear canal, be sure to ask your vet if allergies may be the one to blame.  

7. Swollen Paws

Swollen and itchy paws are a common sign of allergies. If your puppers is constantly licking and or biting their paws, tenderness and swollenness are sure to lurk around the corner. 

8. Red Eyes

Like us humans, doggos with allergies may often experience red and itchy eyes. Eye discharge is an allergy symptom yes, but it may also indicate that something way more severe is going on. Don’t automatically assume your pup has allergies, this type of irritation may require antibiotics. 

9. GI Problems

Allergies in dogs may also include gastrointestinal issues. Diarrhea and vomiting often follow a new food brought into your dog’s diet. It may not agree with your dog’s GI tract. 

What are the Symptoms of a Dog Allergic Reaction?

Severe allergies must be treated as an emergency because of the potential for anaphylaxis, which is a form of shock that can be deadly if not treated ASAP. 

Clinical signs of anaphylactic shock may include:


  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Collapsing
  • Seizures
  • Uncontrolled urination
  • Uncontrolled stool

What Causes Allergies in Canines?

Paw parents should understand that many factors may lead to dog allergies, these factors may be trickier to figure out, thus, being harder to prevent. Most allergies, however, fall into one of four categories: food, medication, flea/tick, or environmental. 

1. Food Allergies

Identifying specific food allergies is not easy. Diagnosing a food allergy may involve an elimination diet. This means no human food or doggy treats! Then, over time, slowly incorporate specific foods back into their diet to see what’s causing the allergies. Although this process may take a lot of time, it can be rewarding if your vet can’t quite find the food “to blame”. 



2. Medications

Many doggos may have medication allergies. Some instances, allergic reactions may be mild, Claritin may be all that you need to help relieve fido’s symptoms. Other instances, severe reactions to new medications may occur, meaning a medical intervention would be necessary. 

Keep an eye on your dog whenever you introduce a new medication to them, it may be life or death for your dog. 

3. Fleas and Ticks

A tiny, little flea bite can leave your pup itching for weeks on end. Luckily, paw parents can take preventative measures to avoid this type of possible allergic reaction. Whether you choose a traditional flea medication, or an all-natural alternative, tick and flea prevention is a necessity. 



4. Environmental Allergies

The most common reason that vets prescribe Claritin for dogs? Environmental allergies. They are the hardest to avoid, as it’s almost impossible to completely prevent each and every environmental trigger. 

Environmental allergens include:


  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Dander
  • Pollen
  • Perfume
  • Laundry detergents
  • Household cleaners
  • Trees, grass, plants

Claritin Adverse Effects

Like many conventional antihistamines for dogs, Claritin has potential side effects that pet owners should know about prior to administration. 

These may include:


  • Behavioral changes
  • Changes in stool regularity and consistency
  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Urinary retention
  • Excessively dry eyes



Paw parents may wonder if their dog’s mild allergies are worth these potential side effects. It really comes down to each paw parent’s decision. These are potential side effects, your pup may not experience any side effects at all! If you do have concerns about giving Claritin to your doggo, talk to your vet and determine the best move for your dog. 

Claritin Dosage

Claritin may depend on several factors: body weight and allergy severity. 


The recommended dosage is 0.2 mg of Claritin per pound of body weight. 


All doggos are different, so follow your vet’s prescribed dose. 

Claritin for Dogs: Final Thoughts

Our furry friends mean the world to us humans! When it comes to treating and preventing seasonal allergies, Claritin may be the help your dog needs to get the relief they deserve most. Some dogs may experience severe adverse reactions to this medication, while others see marvelous allergy relief!


As a responsible and caring paw parent, you should take the time to learn as much as possible about a new medication before giving it to your puppers. Knowledge is key my friends! The more you know about a medication, the better off you’ll be able to make logical decisions that benefit your dog’s well-being. 

Leave a comment