Zyrtec for Dogs: Guide and Alternatives?

By | May 10, 2017

Zyrtec for Dogs

Spring time brings new life.  Flowers begin to bloom.  Leaves grow out and the world turns green.  We shake off old man winter and finally get back outside.  Our poor hounds often have even worse allergies than we do.  Zyrtec for dogs really can really help with that.

For millions of people it also marks the beginning of allergy season.  Dogs are no exception when it comes to allergies.  Your dog may some mild skin irritation.  If this irritation is left unchecked for long enough of a period of time they’ll often develop hot spots.

Although dogs and humans have vastly different physiologies, you may be surprised to know that you actually can give Zyrtec to a dog.  And by Zyrtec, I mean the actual product that you can buy over the counter at any pharmacy.

Zyrtec is the most common brand name for the drug cetirizine. Other popular names are Alleroff and Select.  It is an antihistamine.  Dogs can safely ingest and process the drug.


The two most common conditions that Zyrtec treats in dogs are Atopic Dermatitis and Allergic Dermatitis.

Is Zyrtec Safe for Your Dog?

The side effects of Zyrtec are pretty mild.  If your dog has any sort of liver issues, than you really should consider not giving it to them without at least speaking with a veterinarian.  Zyrtec is hard on the liver and you don’t want to damage an organ while it’s already not in the best state.

Beside the liver issues, Zyrtec has been know to cause hyper excitability in dogs.

When you do go to buy the Zyrtec, make sure that you aren’t purchasing Zyrtec-D which is their is their formula for nasal issues.  It has pseudoephedrine, which can really harm a dog.  Make sure that the only active ingredient is cetirizine.


Proper Zyrtec Dosage for a Dog

How much Zyrtec can you give your dog?  Like humans, weight is the number one consideration for administering a drug.  Unlike humans, adult dogs very in size tremendously.  Although Zyrtec is fairly harmless, it is not wise to just give your dog a few pills and see what happens.

Zyrtec Dosage Chart for Dogs

Dog Weight


Less than 15 Lbs. 1 tablet daily 5mg
15-39 Lbs. 2 tablets daily 10mg total
40+ 2 tablets daily 10mg x 2  20mg total

Zyrtec for Dogs: Safety

You should always consult your veterinarian before you give your dog any medication without speaking with the Vet first.

As mentioned above, it’s very important that you make sure you are buying a form of Zyrtec that only contains cetirizine, you don’t want the Zyrtec-D.   Avoid usage if the pooch has liver issues.

Are there any other options for dog allergies?

Yes diphenhydramine is a safe and effective method of treating dog allergies.  It is often recommended by veterinarians as the antihistamine of first resort.  It is relatively safe for dogs and works very well as a sedative.


Some common brand names include:

  • Sominex
  • Benadryl
  • Banophen
  • Diphenhist
  • Wal-Dryl
  • Nytol
  • Dramamine


Zyrtec is safe and effective for most dogs.  Just be careful with dosages.  You don’t want to overdo it.



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