Zyrtec for Dogs: Guide and Alternatives?


Question Can Dogs Take Zyrtec?
Answer Yes, but with veterinary guidance.
More Info
  1. Dosage: Proper dosage varies based on the dog’s weight and should only be determined by a veterinarian.
  2. Safety: Generally safe for dogs when given in appropriate doses for conditions like allergies.
  3. Precautions: Avoid Zyrtec-D due to its pseudoephedrine content, which is toxic to dogs.

Zyrtec for Dogs

Springtime 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.  It’s also the start of allergy season.  

Our poor hounds often have even worse allergies than we do.  Since Zyrtec is so great for humans, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if there is a Zyrtec for dogs.  Well, it turns out that the same Zyrtec that you would get over the counter is the same Zyrtec that you would give your dog.  It really can really help them with their allergies

Millions of people suffer from allergies, and dogs are no exception. One of the most common allergies dogs get is mild skin irritation. If this irritation is left unchecked for long enough, dogs will often develop hot spots. Hot spots are unsightly and very uncomfortable for the dog.  

Although pollen is one of the most common causes of an allergic reaction in dogs, allergy trouble can still occur in the winter. Mites, for instance, are quite problematic for dogs all year round.

Although dogs and humans have vastly different physiologies, you may be surprised to know that you actually can give Zyrtec to a dog.  The actual human product that you can buy over the counter at any pharmacy.  Although, it’s really important to look for the exact original Zyrtec.  There are some different versions of it that are not good for dogs.  We’ll get into that below.

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.  Common issues that come from Atopic Dermatitis include:

  • Itching
  • Scratching
  • Hot Spots
  • Loss of Hair From Over Scratching


Is Zyrtec Safe for Your Dog?

The side effects of Zyrtec are pretty mild.  If your dog has any liver issues, then 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 the 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 vary in size tremendously.  Although Zyrtec is fairly harmless, it is not wise to give your dog a few pills and see what happens.  That’s why we always recommend speaking with your veterinarian to get their ideal dosage.  They may also have a better treatment option.  Many vets prefer Benadryl over Zyrtec.

it’s crucial to remember that any medication should only be given under the guidance and prescription of a veterinarian. Dosages can vary based on the individual health needs and conditions of each dog. Here’s a general guideline:

Dog’s Weight Zyrtec Dosage Note
Under 10 lbs Consult your veterinarian Dosages for small dogs require precision.
10-20 lbs 5 mg once daily  
20-30 lbs 5 mg once or twice daily  
30-40 lbs 10 mg once daily  
Over 40 lbs 10 mg once or twice daily  

Important Notes:

  • Always consult your veterinarian before giving Zyrtec or any other medication to your dog to ensure it’s safe and to get the correct dosage.
  • The dosage can vary depending on the dog’s specific condition and response to the medication.
  • Avoid Zyrtec-D: This formulation contains pseudoephedrine, which is toxic to dogs.
  • Monitor for side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive sedation, and consult your veterinarian if any adverse reactions occur.
  • This chart does not negate the need for vet guidance. Always prioritize professional veterinary advice over general recommendations.

Zyrtec for Dogs: Safety

You should always consult your veterinarian before you give your dog any medication.

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 Zyrtec-D.   Avoid usage if the dog has liver issues.

Are there any other options for dog allergies?

Yes, diphenhydramine is a safe and effective method of treating dog allergies.  Veterinarians often recommend it 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.