Doubling Down on Doggy Doses. Can I Give My Dog 20mg of Zyrtec Twice a Day?

Is Zyrtec Safe For Dogs?

Zyrtec (cetirizine) is an antihistamine commonly used in dogs for treating allergies and itchiness. Zyrtec blocks histamine receptors to prevent allergy symptoms and provide relief

When used as directed, Zyrtec is considered safe for dogs. The typical dosage is 1 mg per pound every 24 hours. Zyrtec has a wide safety margin in dogs when given at the proper dosage. Side effects are rare, but may include mild sedation, vomiting or diarrhea

zyrtec tablet for dogs

Overall, Zyrtec is an effective and safe option for treating allergies in dogs when used at the recommended dosage. As with any medication, it’s important to follow label instructions and consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Zyrtec Dosage For Dogs

The typical dosage of Zyrtec (cetirizine) for dogs is 0.5 – 1 mg per pound of body weight given once or twice daily. So for a 40 lb dog, a typical dose would be 20 mg given once or twice per day. The maximum safe dosage is generally accepted to be 1mg per pound twice daily. Do not exceed this dosage without veterinary approval.

Most veterinarians recommend starting with a dose on the lower end, around 0.5 mg per pound, given once daily. If needed, the dosage can be increased gradually up to the maximum of 1mg per pound twice daily. Duration of dosing can be daily or as needed for allergy symptoms, as prescribed by your veterinarian. For seasonal allergies, dosing may only be needed intermittently during peak allergy season. For chronic allergies, longer term daily dosing may be warranted.

It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s dosing guidelines and not exceed the maximum safe dosage when giving Zyrtec to your dog. Carefully monitor your dog for any side effects and contact your vet if you have any concerns.

Potential Risks of Overdosing on Zyrtec

Exceeding the maximum safe dosage of Zyrtec for dogs can result in dangerous side effects. Antihistamines like Zyrtec can cause toxicity if too much is ingested. According to Pet Poison Helpline, signs of an antihistamine overdose in dogs include severe agitation, lethargy, sedation, and aggression.

Some specific signs of Zyrtec toxicity to watch for include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity, elevated body temperature, rapid breathing, tremors or seizures. These effects may occur because cetirizine, the active ingredient in Zyrtec, is a central nervous system depressant at high doses.

If your dog shows any concerning symptoms after taking too much Zyrtec, call your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital right away. They can provide the proper supportive care based on your dog’s symptoms and the amount ingested. Toxicity is usually not fatal if treated promptly, but early veterinary intervention is crucial.

dog overdose on zyrtec side effects

Can I Give My Dog 20mg of Zyrtec Twice Daily?

The standard dosage guidelines for giving Zyrtec to dogs is 1mg per pound of body weight, given once or twice daily. This means a 20mg dose of Zyrtec twice per day would exceed the maximum recommended dosage for dogs under 40 pounds. While Zyrtec is generally safe for dogs, exceeding the proper dosage can potentially lead to side effects.

Some of the risks and side effects of overdosing on Zyrtec can include: Excessive sedation or drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, hyperactivity, increased thirst or urination. High doses may also cause liver damage over time.

risks of high zyrtec dose in dogs

Instead of 20mg twice daily, it’s recommended to stay within the 1mg per pound guideline. For a 40 pound dog, the max daily Zyrtec dose would be 40mg, which could be divided into 20mg twice daily. Smaller dogs under 20 pounds should likely be limited to no more than 5-10mg, once or twice daily. It’s best to consult your veterinarian before exceeding 10mg doses.

The proper Zyrtec dosage for your dog will depend on their body weight and sensitivity to the medication. Your vet can help determine the ideal dosage amount and frequency to effectively treat your dog’s allergies and minimize side effects.

Monitoring Your Dog on Zyrtec

It’s important to monitor your dog when first starting Zyrtec to ensure the medication is working effectively and not causing any negative side effects. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, there is no specific monitoring needed for dogs taking cetirizine (the active ingredient in Zyrtec), but your veterinarian may want to examine your dog to evaluate the drug’s effectiveness.

Signs that the Zyrtec is improving your dog’s allergic reaction include reduced itching, licking, scratching, and skin irritation. The medication should help relieve these allergy symptoms within the first 1-2 days of administration if an effective dose has been given. You may also notice improvements in skin condition as redness, hot spots, and inflammation subside.

It’s also important to watch for potential side effects of Zyrtec in dogs, including vomiting, diarrhea, and changes in behavior or appetite. According to Dope Dog, side effects are uncommon but can occur. Alert your vet if you observe anything abnormal after beginning Zyrtec.

Make sure to follow up with your veterinarian within the first week or two of starting Zyrtec. This allows your vet to determine if the dosage and medication are correct for your dog’s needs. Monitoring the effects closely, especially early on, can help provide your dog the best relief.


Other Antihistamines For Dogs

In addition to Zyrtec (cetirizine), there are some other over-the-counter antihistamines that can be safely used for dogs under the guidance of a veterinarian. Some commonly used options include:

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl): This is often the first antihistamine a veterinarian will recommend for dogs. The typical dosage is 2-4 mg per kg every 8-12 hours. Diphenhydramine starts working very quickly but may cause more sedation compared to newer antihistamines.1

Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton): This antihistamine can also be given to dogs at a dose of 2-4 mg per kg every 8-12 hours. It may cause less sedation than diphenhydramine.2

Hydroxyzine (Atarax): This antihistamine can be given at a dose of 2 mg per kg every 8-12 hours. It provides anti-itch relief while causing less sedation in dogs.1

In some cases, a veterinarian may recommend using a different antihistamine instead of or in addition to Zyrtec, depending on the specific allergy symptoms and response. Some dogs may respond better to one antihistamine versus another. Combination therapy is also sometimes used for more resistant allergy cases.

Treating Allergies in Dogs

Allergies are very common in dogs and can cause symptoms like itchy skin, ear infections, sneezing, watery eyes, vomiting, and diarrhea. There are various options for diagnosing allergies in dogs including blood tests, intradermal skin testing, elimination diet trials, and saliva testing. Beyond antihistamines, there are several approaches for managing allergies in dogs:

Allergen-specific immunotherapy: This is a series of allergy shots given to gradually desensitize your dog to what they are allergic to. It can be very effective for environmental allergies.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Supplements like fish oil can help reduce inflammation associated with allergies. They are often used alongside other treatments.

Topical therapy: Medicated shampoos, sprays, and wipes containing ingredients like oatmeal, chlorhexidine, and hypochlorous acid can help soothe and cleanse irritated skin.

Diet trial with hydrolyzed protein diet: Switching to a very easily digestible diet with hydrolyzed proteins can help determine if food allergies are present. Strict dietary trial for 6-12 weeks is needed.

Allergy shots and medications are most effective when combined with environmental management. Minimizing exposure to triggers through bathing, cleaning, air filters, etc. helps control symptoms.

Working closely with your vet is important to determine the underlying cause and most effective treatment plan for your dog’s allergies.

Working With Your Vet

It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian when giving your dog any kind of medication, including over-the-counter antihistamines like Zyrtec. Your vet can help determine the right dosage for your specific dog based on factors like weight, other medical conditions, and potential drug interactions.

Prescription antihistamines made specifically for dogs may be a better option than human over-the-counter medications. Your vet can provide prescription antihistamines like hydroxyzine or chlorpheniramine that are formulated and dosed properly for dogs. Prescriptions also allow your vet to monitor your dog’s treatment and response.

Regular vet visits are recommended when treating a dog for allergies. Your vet can check for any side effects from medications and determine if your dog’s allergy symptoms are improving. They may suggest changing medications or dosages if your dog isn’t responding as expected. Your vet can also advise you on other ways to reduce your dog’s exposure to allergens through lifestyle changes.

Working closely with your veterinarian provides the safest, most effective approach to managing your dog’s allergies. Don’t hesitate to contact your vet with any questions or concerns that come up during treatment.

Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Allergies

Making some changes to your dog’s lifestyle and environment can help minimize their exposure to allergens and reduce allergy symptoms.

Making lifestyle adjustments can reduce your dog’s exposure to environmental allergens and provide symptom relief alongside medications prescribed by your vet.

The Takeaway

When used properly under veterinary guidance, Zyrtec can be a safe way to provide allergy relief for dogs. The most important factors are using the correct Zyrtec dosage for your dog’s weight and avoiding overdosing. Giving too much Zyrtec can lead to harmful side effects. Check with your vet before starting Zyrtec and follow their dosage instructions carefully.

If your dog struggles with allergies, work closely with your veterinarian for a full treatment plan. This may include Zyrtec along with other medications, allergy testing, dietary changes, and environmental modifications. Finding the source of the allergy and reducing exposure is key for long-term relief.

For more information on safely managing allergies in dogs, consult with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance tailored to your dog’s unique needs and health history. With the right treatment approach, you can help your pup get back to feeling their best.

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