Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Canine allergies / Claritin? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: Canine allergies / Claritin?
Category: Family and Home
Asked by: peteallen-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 07 Aug 2004 22:56 PDT
Expires: 06 Sep 2004 22:56 PDT
Question ID: 384925
We have a 10 year old female chcolate laborador who is exhibiting
signs of canine allergies, we believe.  She sneezes, has itchy eyes
and itchy skin, wheezes as she breathes, coughs frequently, vomits
occasionally, and has discharge from her nose and eyes.  She has been
examined by a vet who has cleared the possibility of disease, and has
had her lungs x-rayed.  The x-rays showed that no cancer or other lung
disease was contributing to this condition.

However, the vet has been unwilling to discuss the possibility of
canine allergies, specifically whether or not it would be safe to give
the dog Claritin or Benadryl to ease the symptoms.  I know that you
probably cannot offer a diagnosis or a recommendation of treatment
over the internet based on this information, but mainly what we are
looking for is more information on canine allergies, and specifically
what (over the counter) medications would be safe to try to see if
they improve her quality of life.  Any studies or even personal
accounts you can find online of people giving their dogs claritin
and/or benadryl would be great.  I've searched and was bombarded by
sites trying to sell me claritin, but no relevant info on dogs.

Thanks in advance for your time, and we look forward to reading your answer.
Subject: Re: Canine allergies / Claritin?
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 08 Aug 2004 00:19 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi peteallen,

Thank you for your question.

I'm not a vet and the only advice a researcher can give you is general
information.  (Please see "IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER" at the bottom of this

I've provided several links for you to look over as per your request
for personal accounts.

I'm placing this first because Claritin and Claritin-D are quite different.

My dog Isabella has allergies, and is having a particularly hard time 
this summer. The veterinary allergist who's treating her suggested that I 
add Claritin to her drug regimen for a while.

That was fine, but unfortunately I didn't realize that there is a 
significant difference between Claritin, which is safe, and Claritin-D.
Claritin-D contains pseudephedrine (same as Sudafed), which is gravely 
toxic to dogs. The two pills Izzy received have landed her in the Animal 
Medical Center and would probably have killed her if she had not received 
prompt treatment.


A wonderful Forum named i-dog - a forum discusses How much Benadryl?

Claritin and Tavist are dosed TOTALLY different than Benedryl. Tavits
islikely the best for atopic (inhaled) allergies of ALL
antihistamines, BUT it can also have some whopping side effects. (huge
drinking water thing but maybe that was just MY dog)

The doseage for Benedryl is (according to the Pill Book Guide to
Medications for your Dog and Cat OR the Vet PDA OR Giffen & Carlson's
Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook)

1-2 mg/lb body weight two to four times a day. 

Keep the 2 mg/lb for serious anaphylactic reactions ilke stings. 

Over the counter benedryl (diphenhydramine) is 25 mg caps or capLETS.
(NO "severe cold formula" -- remember no tylenol/acetaminaphin -
POISON to dogs)

Wal-Mart's Equate is probably the best of all generics. But you can't
split them. Target's generic IS a caplet and you CAN split that.

Tavist is tough to dose for a small dog -- it's a MUCH MUCH tinier
dose and pill and splitting that pill into microns is tough

Benedryl liquid (Elixer) is 12.5 mg/teas. So it's easier to use that
for a small dog.

BUT CAUTION -- don't just try a day or two of Benedryl. USE IT FOR A
SEASON. What dogs breathe in takes up to a week to show on the skin as
an 'allergy' -- in part antihistamine works AS the body takes the
allergen in, so dosing it every day 2-4 times a day is a big deal.

Clemastine and the drug that's in Clarinex last 12 hours in the body
-- don't give them more often.

That "Pill Book Guide to Medication for your Dog and Cat" is heaven
sent. It's $6.99 and you can get it from Amazon. com. Dell Publishing.
Not 100% up to date with new drugs, but man, it's the best resource I


Your Dog May Have Allergies, Too

Dogs, like humans, can also suffer from allergies. Itching of the skin
is the most common symptom of a dog allergy. The respiratory tract can
be affected causing coughing, sneezing, and/or wheezing. At times, the
eyes and nose may develop a discharge. Also, the digestive system may
be affected causing vomiting or diarrhea.


Can dogs get allergies just like people?

Yes, dogs can get allergies just like people do. There are many ways
in which the allergy can display itself. Some allergic pets will have
respiratory symptoms. Another form of allergy involves the digestive
system, resulting in vomiting or diarrhea. The most common forms of
allergy show up as skin problems.

What kinds of things can animals be allergic to?

Almost anything that an animal comes in contact with has the potential
to produce an allergic response. The most common types of allergies in
the dog are bacterial, contact, inhalant, flea, and food allergies.


Inhalant Allergies

Inhalant allergy, or atopy, is the most common kind of allergy seen in
pets. The condition is similar to hay fever in people, but the
symptoms are manifested in the skin rather than the respiratory
system. Dogs may be allergic to tree pollen, grass pollen, weed
pollen, mold spores, and house dust mites. Allergies to plant pollens
are usually seasonal. Mold and house dust can create problems anytime
of the year. The symptom is usually the same for any of the inhalant
allergens. Dogs will typically scratch, shake their head, rub their
ears or muzzle, or lick their feet. There are several methods to treat
inhalant allergies. The most common method is to give
anti-inflammatories. Corticosteroids and antihistamines, if used
carefully, can be a safe, effective way to treat allergies. Your
veterinarian can best determine what combination and dosage should be
used. Medicated Shampoos may also be used to treat allergies.
Hypoallergenic shampoo is soothing and can provide temporary relief to
inflamed skin.



Dogs With Allergies
Dogs can suffer from the same type of allergies as humans, although
the symptoms may vary somewhat.


A vet tech told me this morning to give my dog LIQUID Benadryl


Antihistamines - rec.pets.dogs: Canine Allergies FAQ 
Antihistamines can be used with relative safety in dogs. Aboutone
third of owners report success with them. The major drawback, as with
people, is sedation. Dr. Ackerman recommends that a minimum of three
different types of antihistamines be tried before owners give up on
this therapy. According to Dr.
Johnson, the most common problem with this type of treatment is
that owners give the drugs at doses that are too low. Check with your
vet on correct dosing. Examples of antihistamines commonly used for
dogs include: Tavist, Benadryl, Chlortrimeton, Atarax and Seldane.
Personally, I have seen the best results with Atarax.


Other dog health questions I've answered can be viewed at the following links:

Best regards,

Request for Answer Clarification by peteallen-ga on 08 Aug 2004 00:29 PDT
Thank you very much for the thorough and prompt answer.  I have one
question about giving Claritin to the dog; if you can't find the
answer, that's ok, I'm just curious.  Did you happen to see anywhere
what a good dosage of Claritin would be?  Is the standard 10mg pill
too much or too little for a 70-80 lb dog?  Again, if you can't find
the answer, that's fine.  The most important aspect was finding out
whether or not the drug was safe, and thank you for pointing out the
danger associated with pseudoephedrine in dogs!

Clarification of Answer by tlspiegel-ga on 08 Aug 2004 01:37 PDT
Hi  peteallen,

In reference to your clarification request...

I've found nothing regarding CLARITIN (Loratadine) - quite possibly
because it's a fairly new antihistamine and not widely used for dogs

I searched inside the book at which was posted in my answer
"The Pill Book: Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat" by Kate A.
W. Roby, Lenny Southam and Claritin or Loratadine was not listed.

I performed an extensive search on Claritin when I was doing the
research for my answer and found very little.  Mostly Benadryl had
been the drug of choice recommended by veterinarians.

When entering keywords "Claritin Loratadine dog allergy antihistamine
veterinarian" most all sites addressed the issue of humans who were
benefited by taking Claritin when they were allergic to dogs or cats. 
Or the site lead to Viagra or some such!  :)

The doseage for Benadryl (according to the Pill Book Guide to
Medications for your Dog and Cat OR the Vet PDA OR Giffen & Carlson's
Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook) 1-2 mg/lb body weight two to four times a day

Or as listed in the PDF Document I posted in my answer:

Benadryl - over 50 pounds

25 mg cap/tab
3x daily
2-3 tabs

I hope this additional information has been helpful to you.  

Best regards,
peteallen-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Excellent information, much better than I was able to find out on my
own.  Thank you very much!

Subject: Re: Canine allergies / Claritin?
From: tlspiegel-ga on 08 Aug 2004 02:39 PDT
Hi peteallen,

Thank you for the 5 star rating, comments and generous tip!  

I wish you best of luck in helping your dear chocolate lab overcome
her discomfort.

Good luck to you!
Subject: Re: Canine allergies / Claritin?
From: athenawiles-ga on 08 Aug 2004 15:25 PDT
You asked "specifically whether or not it would be safe to give the
dog Claritin or Benadryl to ease the symptoms".  It looks like
tlspiegel already gave you a pretty complete answer, but out of
experience (rather than internet research), here's something else to
keep in mind:

Benadryl is effective in reducing a dog's allergy symptoms; however,
it has the side effect of drying out the dog's eyes.  One of our
family's dogs (a 30-pound beagle) has severe allergies, for which we
were, until recently, giving him 4 25-mg pills of benadryl each day. 
While it did stop his itching & sneezing, it started to cause problems
with his vision - it got to the point where he couldn't open his left
eye b/c his eyes were so dry.  Because you have a much larger dog and
would probably have to give it more benadryl to combat the allergies,
I suspect you would also face the dry-eye problem (and believe me,
trying to give a dog eye drops isn't exactly fun...), possibly even to
a greater extent.

Basically, it would probably be worth it to spend the time trying to
find out the correct dosage information on Claritin (standard dosage
for humans is 10 mg loratadine/24 hours - maybe try half a pill once a
day?)- and if you do resort to giving your dog benadryl, be sure to
watch your dog for the appearance of eye problems...

Best wishes for you & your dog,
 - jen
Subject: Re: Canine allergies / Claritin?
From: jabby_jabby-ga on 12 Aug 2004 14:31 PDT
I would like to mention that a common cause of allergies where there
is no apparent undelying medical condition is low quality food. I
recommend the book "Food Pets Die For" by Ann Martin
to learn about the pet food industry.

What many people around the world are discovering in regards to
allergies in their pets similar to your own is a more natural diet of
whole foods (raw meat and bones and pureed plant matter) cures their
pets of allergies that have no underlying medical cause.

A few wesbites to check out:
"Dogs do not have the digestive system to cope with grains. Grains are
one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs. Grains make up the
majority of dog food company food sources. Many people find when they
switch to an all natural diet, the allergies their dogs had disappear.
This is common."

This is just the beginning! Do a google search on "barf diet" and you
will get a plethora of information. (barf= bones and raw food).

Now, I am not saying go against what your vet it telling you, I am
just providing you with a supplement. I am not an expert myself
(planning on being a veterinarian in the next couple of years), but I
work with many carnivores on a daily basis and I also feed all of my
pets on a homemade, raw food diet and I have MANY good things to say
about it. Talk to your vet, do some research, and make the decision
that is right for you and your pup.

Good luck!
Subject: Re: Canine allergies / Claritin?
From: heart2004-ga on 21 Aug 2004 20:58 PDT
Our vet was positive that my cocker spaniel had allergies, so I took
her to a canine dermatologist specialist who comes to my town only
once a month. He gave her strong antibiotics (said it was a vast skin
infection) and *everything* cleared up almost immediately! Our own Vet
was shocked. Personally I would recommend taking your dog to a canine
dermatologist. Our first visit was $300 including medicine but well
worth it! Best wishes....
Subject: Re: Canine allergies / Claritin?
From: maharet14-ga on 23 Sep 2004 13:06 PDT
I realize this was answered a while ago, but if anyone is still reading it...

My bloodhound had very bad skin allergies due to bad food (Purina
Beneful).  It is hard to say whether it was the dyes, preservatives,
chicken by-products, wheat, etc... as there are too many variables
(just look at the label!).  My vet advised to check to see if it was
an allergy versus an actual infection by giving the dog benedryl (she
gave us the conversion from human dose to dog dose), and once this was
confirmed we switched over to a more natural food.  Currently, he is
eating Nutro Naturals Lamb and Rice, in which the only source of
protein is from lamb, the only carbohydrate is from rice,  and the
only preservative is vitamin E, which makes it easy to deduce what he
would be allergic to.  Thankfully, his allergies have gone away since
being introduced to this new food. So, the moral of the story is: dogs
can have allergies just like humans.  If your dog is still showing
signs of allergies in the winter, it's very possible that a food
allergy is involved. Don't just treat the symptoms with benedryl; fix
the problem by changing the food.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy