May 22, 2012 3:05 PM by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP
Can you give your dog Claratin for allergies? That's what one viewer asked our veterinary expert Animal Care Clinic last week:
The use of antihistamines for pet's allergies depends on many things.
First - I am assuming Buster has skin problems. Runny eyes and noses are rarely allergic in nature in our pets and would not respond to antihistamines. Intestinal disease is a common allergic problem, but again, antihistamines do not help. Allergic skin disease is the place where antihistamines are commonly recommended. Unfortunately, antihistamines rarely provide relief for dogs like they do for people with hay fever. I find that less than 10% of my patients can get by with antihistamines alone. Most dogs with allergic skin disease require weekly baths, use of omega-3 fatty acids, exquisite flea control, regular grooming and occasional use of other medications throughout the year. Amongst the antihistamines, most veterinary dermatologists do not feel that Claritin (loratadine) offers any advantage over older medications such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), although each individual dog/cat will react differently. If Buster has allergic skin disease, any medication he takes should only be on the advice of a veterinarian who has examined him and is completely familiar with his case.
The veterinarians at Animal Care Clinic have a special interest in dermatology and managing skin disease safely. We would love the opportunity to try to help Buster!
Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP
Animal Care Clinic
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