Is Allergy Medicine Bad For Dogs

For a number of reasons, it is always preferable to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any over-the-counter drugs.

You must first determine the proper dose to deliver because there are differences between the doses for humans and canines. In order to prevent any negative outcomes, your veterinarian should check your dog’s medical history. Drug combinations can be harmful. Third, many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs should not be used on canines. Making the assumption that a medicine is safe for your dog simply because you can buy it over-the-counter might have harmful implications.

Antihistamines. Common antihistamines include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and loratadine (Claritin), which reduce allergy symptoms or prevent allergic responses. Antihistamines are mostly safe, however some dogs may become drowsy or hyperactive when taking them. OTC antihistamine medications could also have unsuitable components for dogs, including decongestants. Verify that the product solely includes antihistamine by carefully reading the label. Make sure the antihistamine you have is appropriate for your dog by consulting the medical staff at your local animal hospital.

Antidiarrheals/Antinauseants. For stomach problems, bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) is frequently stored in medicine cabinets and can be given to your dog. Consult your veterinarian healthcare team before administering if your dog has never taken it before. To treat both diarrhea and vomiting, a dose of 1 teaspoon for every 5 to 10 pounds of body weight may be used. However, contact your veterinarian if your dog throws up the Pepto-Bismol. Another anti-diarrheal that calms unsettled stomachs and is normally harmless is kaopectate. A large dog, however, requires a lot of Kaopectate at a dose of 1 ml per pound. You can get a dog-specific medicine from your vet.

Loperamide (Imodium). If given to your dog at a dose of 1 mg per 20 pounds of body weight, it should be safe to treat diarrhea in an emergency. Give just one dosage. Contact your veterinarian if the diarrhea does not stop. The condition can only be effectively treated if the cause of the diarrhea is correctly identified.

Cimetidine plus famotidine (Pepcid AC) (Tagamet). These drugs can be used to treat or prevent heartburn in humans, and they also function in canines. These drugs can improve a dog’s condition by reducing the generation of stomach acids. For dietary transgressions, it is acceptable to use them sometimes; nevertheless, if your dog continues to experience gastrointestinal problems, consult your veterinarian to identify the underlying cause.

creams, gels, and sprays containing steroids OTC steroid formulations are often quite safe and have a lower percentage of active components than prescription steroids. They have the advantage of making hot areas and bug bites less itchy. Steroids have the drawback of delaying healing, particularly if the incision is infected. Have your dog’s wound examined by your veterinarian if it still doesn’t appear to be healing after a few applications.

antibacterial topical cream. A typical topical antibiotic used on minor wounds and scrapes is neosporin. Every first aid kit should contain this ointment because it is generally safe for dogs. Check to be sure the cream only contains antibiotics and not steroids, which can actually slow healing. Before administering the antibiotic ointment, make sure your dog’s wound is clean. Cover the wound to prevent your dog from licking the lotion off.

Sprays, gels, and creams that are anti-fungal. The majority of fungal infections are too complex to be effectively treated with over-the-counter medications, but you can use them while you wait to take your dog to the vet. It’s crucial to rapidly and successfully treat these diseases since some fungal infections can spread from pets to people.

Peroxygenated water. If your dog consumes something he shouldn’t have, hydrogen peroxide can be administered orally to cause vomiting in addition to being applied topically to wipe out a superficial flesh lesion (i.e., your medications, rodenticides, toxic plants). However, vomiting can do more harm than good, so speak with your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital PRIOR to giving your dog an oral dose of hydrogen peroxide to find out how much to give.

a mineral oil There are several applications for this generally safe liquid. To prevent soap stinging your dog’s eyes, put a few drops in his eyes before bathing him.

synthetic tears Your dog may have dry eyes or may have some dust or debris in his eyes if he blinks or squints too much. The smallest speck in your eye or dry eyes can irritate you. Sometimes all that is required to clean junk out is a tiny amount of lubricating eye drops. Take your dog to the vet straight soon, though, if he continues to blink or squint. He might need to have a foreign body removed, have a scratch on his cornea, or have an eye infection. Contact your veterinarian right away if you observe a discharge or if your dog’s eyes appear red or inflamed. A prompt treatment helps ease your dog’s discomfort and could perhaps save permanent visual loss.

Can I administer allergy meds to my dog every day?

Here are a some of the frequently asked questions concerning dog allergy medications that we get from readers.

Before giving your dog any medication, you should always check with your veterinarian to be sure it’s safe for him. The dosage varies depending on the size and needs of the dog because every dog is unique.

Can I Give My Dog A Decongestant?

Decongestants for pets are discouraged by experts. Decongestants, such pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, can be fatal to dogs and result in vomiting, significant blood pressure changes, irregular heart rates and rhythms, tremors, and seizures, among other life-threatening symptoms.

If your dog accidently consumes any decongestant (they’re frequently found in human over-the-counter cold and flu medications, especially ones with a “-D at the end of the name), seek emergency veterinary assistance.

Can Dogs Take Claritin?

Yes, dogs can use Claritin safely and effectively. Veterinarians advise giving your dog between 0.1 and 0.5 milligrams per pound of body weight once or twice daily. To make sure any medication you give to your dog is safe, however, consult your veterinarian before doing so.

Can Dogs Take Zyrtec?

Zyrtec can indeed be a reliable and safe antihistamine for puppies. Veterinarians advise giving one to two mg per pound of body weight, once or twice daily.

Which is better for dogs who have allergies: Zyrtec or Claritin? It varies from person to person, just like with humans. You can discuss using each separately with your veterinarian to determine which seems to benefit your dog more.

Which allergy medications are off-limits to dogs?

Consulting your veterinarian is the best approach to find the ideal Benadryl dosage for dogs. The Merck Veterinary Manual suggests giving Benadryl two to three times each day at a dose of 2-4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. However, this dosage may change based on your dog’s health issues.

AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein advises against administering Benadryl to a puppy before seeing a vet because small puppies might be extremely sensitive to some drugs. Additionally, pregnant or nursing dogs should not take the medication.

Never give your dog time-release capsules because they are absorbed differently in dogs than in people and could change the dosage. They might also shatter when chewed and release too much medication at once, endangering your dog’s health.

If your liquid Benadryl contains salt, it’s recommended to avoid using it because sodium can have additional negative effects. Also, stay away from Benadryl in any form that contains alcohol.

If you ask your veterinarian for the right dosage, you can use children’s Benadryl pills or tablets without risk.

What negative effects do dog allergy medications have?

Oclacitinib, a Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor of the class of immune suppressants manufactured by Zoetis, is marketed under the trade name Apoquel. This medication largely blocks the JAK-1 and -3 signaling that typically takes place when a cytokine attaches to a receptor on the cell surface. This involves inhibiting the actions of inflammatory cytokines (IL-2, -4, -6, and 13) as well as IL-31, a cytokine directly connected to the itching sensation. The bone marrow’s ability to function depends on JAK signaling as well. Compared to steroids, antihistamines, or cyclosporine, Apoquel functions differently.

Apoquel reduces itching quickly, typically within 24 hours. Similar to what we find with cyclosporine, GI disturbances with Apoquel are quite uncommon. Since the Apoquel’s antipruritic effects are short-lived (12–24 hours), daily administration of the drug is typically required.


The recommended dosage of Apoquel is 0.4–0.6 mg/kg every 12 hours for the first up to 14 days, followed by 0.4–0.6 mg/kg once daily. FDA approval for twice-daily Apoquel usage for more than 14 days is not available. The suggested dose should not be exceeded owing to immunological suppression, and going below the range generally doesn’t seem to work either. Some moderate cases that are treated with lower doses have I seen.

Most animals experience complete recovery from Apoquel within a few days of administration. If the pet is extremely unhappy, we usually give it twice daily for 7 days before cutting back to once daily. It is quite unlikely to become better with continuing use if it hasn’t worked after two weeks. Because severe cases might benefit more from twice-day dosing, 60% of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis cases are reported by Zoetis to be long-term controlled at a daily dose. To maintain the patient under good control, many severe cases require combinations of many medications.

Some of these JAK inhibitor medications should not be administered to people who are taking CYP3A4 inhibitors like ketoconazole. Giving practically any medication with Apoquel—including ketoconazole—I have not observed any negative side effects. However, I advise being cautious when using any medications that could impact the bone marrow.

There haven’t been any long-term trials on combining Apoquel with other immunosuppressants such steroids and cyclosporine. My clinical experience suggests that short-term use of steroids at anti-inflammatory doses of 0.5 mg/kg twice daily and tapering is safe. Consider how well Apoquel is genuinely helping the patient before deciding whether or not steroids are required. There is no need to gradually go from steroids to Apoquel because it works extremely quickly. In a pet who has been taking high doses or daily steroids for more than a month, tapering steroids may be necessary to avert an Addisonian crisis.

The FDA has only approved Apoquel for use in dogs older than 12 months. This is because when Apoquel was administered at 3 and 5 times the recommended doses, demodicosis and pneumonia were observed at an unacceptable level in children under 1 year of age. Apoquel simply does not seem to perform well in young puppies for allergies in my clinical experience.

Negative effects

The same pharmacological class as Apoquel also includes treatments for cancer, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis in humans. Neutropenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, elevated liver values, raised cholesterol, UTI, weight gain, and herpes zoster are among the side effects of JAK inhibitors in humans.

The package insert for Apoquel for dogs lists the following side effects: decreased leukocytes, decreased globulins, elevated cholesterol and lipase, anorexia, lethargy, cutaneous lumps (unspecified), SQ or. Demodicosis, neoplasia, pneumonia, bloody diarrhea, skin and ear infections, UTIs, and histiocytomas were all rather uncommon in the study dogs.

It’s interesting to note that a few dogs in early experiments experienced polydipsia, increased appetite, and aggression, symptoms that may also be associated with steroid use. However, I have yet to observe any evidence connecting these problems to Apoquel.

My encounters

I’ve started more than a thousand dogs on Apoquel. While a pet is taking Apoquel, side effects are uncommon. The most serious side effect, bone marrow suppression, has only been observed in roughly 1% of animals using Apoquel. Only alterations on bloodwork were found in these dogs that had bone marrow suppression; no obvious symptoms were present. Due to this, we advise getting bloodwork done 2-3 months after starting Apoquel. The bone marrow quickly healed after the Apoquel dosage was reduced, taking only a few weeks. The therapeutic relevance of the CBC values frequently sinking towards the low end even in situations when they do not fall below normal is unknown. Even at very high doses, other allergy medicines do not decrease bone marrow.

Apoquel does not effectively treat ear infections in the same way as steroids or cyclosporine do. While pets are taking Apoquel, we do occasionally find urinary tract infections; however, I have my doubts that these infections are caused by the medication and more frequently occur in patients with atopic dermatitis.

I have observed weight gain in dogs taking Apoquel, though not to the same extent as with steroids, which is a side effect of JAK inhibitors similar to the weight growth reported in humans. I haven’t heard any owners mention having a bigger appetite. Perhaps because they are not scratching as much, they are receiving less exercise. It would be excellent to conduct a research with typical dogs, who—like humans—might have a tendency to put on weight over time regardless of the medications they are taking.

Very few dogs have developed manic episodes while on Apoquel, according to their owners “They have a silly expression on their face, run around the house, and can’t stop. I’ve seen three to four of these cases, and I really am at a loss as to how the medicine could be the cause. In every instance, stopping the Apoquel immediately caused this situation to disappear.

It’s interesting that I’ve observed Apoquel helping dogs with arthritis move more freely. I’m not certain if this is solely due to how they generally “feel better when their skin is not inflamed, or if some dogs that have allergic skin inflammation also have joint inflammation.

Since no studies have so far identified any worrying problems, it doesn’t seem that using Apoquel in dogs has any long-term adverse effects. According to the product information, Apoquel may make neoplastic diseases worse. We will continue to monitor because there is currently little solid proof of this. Keep in mind that many of the internet reports of “I started my dog on Apoquel and he got cancer” are likely to be dogs with skin itchiness and infection that was caused by an internal cancer was treated with Apoquel just before the cancer was actually discovered. I frequently see terrible skin disease in dogs caused by an internal disease like cancer. In a dog with a history of cancer, I would advise Apoquel over cyclosporine. It is imperative to think about comfort and quality of life while selecting which medications to take.


Our methodology for monitoring Apoquel in dogs on once-daily dosage calls for checking a CBC/Chem6 before beginning Apoquel, then at 3 months, and finally once a year. The most crucial piece of data for monitoring is the CBC. Prior to commencing the Apoquel, it’s crucial to make sure the dog does not have liver illness. Steroid-induced liver increases would be the lone exception to this rule. I don’t monitor pee samples, so only time will tell if urine monitoring is crucial.


I enjoy Apoquel. Rapid onset of action, reduced risk of GI side effects, seldom side effects with long-term use, no withdrawal required for skin testing, and a reasonable price are some of the advantages of Apoquel. The drawbacks include the necessity of monitoring for bone marrow suppression, the fact that some pets are not affected, and the lack of long-term data. For the vast majority of allergic dogs, it is an excellent choice. The only method of managing allergies that does not entail immune suppression is allergy testing and injections.

Prior to giving this drug (particularly to older animals), at three months, and then annually after that, have blood work checked. For more information and FDA-recommended usage, read the medication insert.

Call 1-888-963-8471 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to report any negative side effects to the FDA or the firm Zoetis.

Use of Apoquel in Cats:

While atopic dermatitis and other immune-mediated disorders can be managed in cats using apoquel, this application is not FDA-approved. Compared to dogs, cats require higher amounts, and multiple daily doses are frequently required. While some cats benefit greatly from this therapy, others don’t benefit at all. There are no long-term studies in cats, however we monitor bloodwork on all cat patients taking Apoquel and so far have not noticed any recurring problems. For feline situations that require Apoquel, I advise having a veterinary dermatologist handle them.