Is Cetirizine OK for Dogs? A Quick Guide!

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

Cetirizine is an antihistamine, sometimes used for dogs, but “Is cetirizine OK for dogs?” This is to relieve the allergies in dogs.

Being a responsible pet parent it is important to provide your dog with safe medicines, hence in this article, we are going to understand cetirizine. So, without further ado let’s begin…

Is Cetirizine OK for Dogs

Is Cetirizine OK for Dogs?

Yes, cetirizine is OK for dogs. The right dose depends on the dog’s size, breed, and health. Cetirizine is an antihistamine used for humans, to treat their allergy symptoms.

It blocks histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic reactions. By preventing histamine, cetirizine helps reduce symptoms such as itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes[1].

Always consult with the vet before giving your dog a cetirizine, they can see your dog and give him the right dose. Cetirizine is available in various forms, including tablets and liquid.

Choose as per your dog’s need and preference. Here are some common types of allergies that dogs feel, let’s look at them in detail:

  • Environment: Cetirizine can help control allergic reactions to environmental elements such as pollen, dust mites, and mould.
  • Season: Dogs, like humans, can experience seasonal allergies, and cetirizine may provide relief during peak allergy seasons.
  • Itching and Skin: Cetirizine’s anti-itch effects make it useful in soothing skin irritations caused by allergies.
Is Cetirizine OK for Dogs

How to Give Your Dog Cetirizine?

Give your dog cetirizine orally, either with or without food. You can hide tablets in a treat or crush them and mix them with a small amount of food.

For liquid forms, use a syringe or mix with a small amount of food. “As a general guideline, the recommended dosage is 0.5 mg per pound of body weight. For example, a 20-pound dog might be given 10 mg of cetirizine once daily”, confirms the experts from MSD.

You can give your dog cetirizine once a day unless otherwise directed by your vet. Always monitor their reaction after giving them cetirizine and if any sign of distress appears then consult with your vet.

Possible Side Effects

“Most dogs can tolerate cetirizine well, but some dogs may experience mild side effects. Common side effects may include drowsiness, lethargy, and mild gastrointestinal upset (such as vomiting or diarrhoea)” says experts from VCA Animal Hospital.

These effects are generally temporary and often go away as the dog’s body adjusts to the medicine. Serious side effects are very rare but they include difficulty breathing, facial swelling, or rapid heartbeat.

If you notice anything unusual then it is best to consult with the vet. While cetirizine is an antihistamine and used to relieve allergic symptoms still it may give allergies to dogs themselves, so always be careful.

Signs of allergic reactions are swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, hives, difficulty breathing, or collapse. If you ever feel that there is something like this occurring then quickly consult with the vet.

Dogs, like humans, can react differently to medications. What works well for one dog may not be suitable for another. So, it’s important to monitor your dog closely.

When starting cetirizine, it’s best to introduce it gradually to allow your dog’s system to adjust.

giving dog liquid medicine

Precautions to Take While Giving Dogs Cetirizine

Here are some precautions you must take while giving your dog cetirizine:

  • Always inform your vet about all the pre-existing health conditions your dog may have, such as liver or kidney issues.
  • Cetirizine may need dosage adjustments or may not be suitable for dogs with certain medical conditions. This consultation is vital to ensure the safety and well-being of your pet.
  • Inform your vet if your dog is pregnant, nursing, or breeding. The safety of cetirizine may not be clear for these dogs.
  • Monitor your dog while on cetirizine. Tell your vet about any changes in behaviour or health. This helps ensure it is working properly.
  • Give the dose of cetirizine prescribed by your vet. Do not change it without informing the vet first.
  • Schedule follow-up appointments with your vet. They can check your dog’s progress and adjust the treatment as needed.
vet checking a dog

Tips for Pet Parents

Here are some tips for pet parents to make sure your dog is recovering safely:

Watch for changes in your dog’s behaviour, appetite, or health on cetirizine. Look for allergy signs to check if it’s working.

Report any side effects, even mild ones, to your vet quickly. This allows timely adjustment. Maintain open communication with your vet throughout treatment. Share questions and observations.

Groom your dog regularly to prevent skin irritations. Ask your vet for grooming advice. Feed your dog a nutritious diet. Consult your vet on the best diet.

Always provide fresh drinking water to keep your dog hydrated. Hydration is important.


❔What Is the Best Allergy Relief for Dogs?

Antihistamines are commonly used to treat dog allergies. Their histamine-blocking quality tackles airborne allergens and reduces symptoms in your pup. The safest over-the-counter options for your dog include Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra.

❔Is Cetirizine OK for Dogs?

Cetirizine (Zyrtec®, Reactine®) is an antihistamine used to treat and prevent pruritus (itching) associated with atopic dermatitis, urticaria (hives), and insect bite reactions in cats and dogs. Its use in cats and dogs is ‘off-label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off-label use in veterinary medicine.

❔How Fast Does Cetirizine Work?

Cetirizine reaches peak plasma concentration after approximately one hour. Its effects typically begin after 20 to 60 minutes and persist for at least 24 hours. Food does not affect the extent of exposure (AUC) of cetirizine, but the time to attain peak concentration is delayed by 1.7 hours.

❔What Is the Side Effect of Cetirizine?

Unlike first-generation antihistamines, cetirizine is less likely to cause side effects such as dangerous drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and overheating. That said, Cetirizine can cause adverse effects, such as some drowsiness. excessive tiredness.

❔What Is the Strongest Natural Antihistamine?

Researchers haven’t yet established any natural product as the “best” or “most powerful.” Natural antihistamines with the most research backing their use include stinging nettle, vitamin C, quercetin, butterbur, bromelain, and probiotics.


In conclusion “Is cetirizine OK for dogs?” Cetirizine is an antihistamine that may be given by the vet to your dog. It helps relieve the allergy symptoms.

It prevents the histamine effects to control the itching and other signs. It can used for the short term as per the vet’s suggestion.

Remember every dog is different, so they all react differently. Always watch out for the signs of distress cause a healthy dog is a happy dog!


  1. Elsevier, Inc. (n.d.). Cetirizine tablets. Cleveland Clinic.
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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