How Do I Choose the Best Antihistamine for Dogs?

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  • Written By: Thomma Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
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Antihistamines are often used to treat dog allergies. Common antihistamines used as canine medication include diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, clemastine fumarate and hydroxyzine. Each individual dog will react differently to a given medicine. For guidance, take your dog to be examined by a veterinarian.

Diphenhydramine can be an effective antihistamine for dogs when used for acute reactions, such as those that occur in response to a vaccination, blood transfusion or dog bee sting. It is also used to treat itchiness and swelling in dogs. The effects of airborne allergens on dogs can also be mitigated through treatment with diphenhydramine. Veterinarians usually recommend 1 mg of diphenhydramine per pound of the dog's weight.

Another commonly used antihistamine for dogs is chlorpheniramine. Like diphenhydramine, its efficacy is highest when used to treat acute allergic responses to things like snake and insect bites and reactions to vaccinations and blood transfusions. Chlorpheniramine can help in the treatment of mast cell tumors, which are growths comprised of histamine, the substance that provokes allergic reactions. Dosage advised by veterinarians is usually three tablets per day.

Also recommended as an antihistamine for dogs is clemastine fumarate. It is one of the most effective antihistamines for dogs that suffer from itchy skin. Clemastine fumarate is a comparatively expensive antihistamine, but many dog owners choose it not only for its efficacy but also because it is usually given only twice a day, less often than most other canine antihistamines.


Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine that tends to be effective for treating itchy skin. It's also useful in the treatment of acute allergic reactions to bites, stings and vaccinations. Dosing depends on the individual dog and must be recommended by a veterinarian. Dog owners often like to treat their pets with hydroxyzine because of its availability in small tablets that are easy to administer to canine patients.

The effectiveness of antihistamine for dogs is thought to be heightened when it is supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids. These substances help reduce the inflammation involved in allergic reactions. Omega-3 fatty acids combined with antihistamine are particularly effective for the treatment of itchy skin.

Side effects of antihistamines include sedation and the reduction of nausea. Veterinarians sometimes recommend antihistamine for dogs that suffer from motion sickness or require tranquilizing. Other side effects of antihistamines can include seizures, diarrhea and liver damage. Since antihistamines are strong medicines, it is best to consult a veterinarian before administering them to dogs.


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Post 2

If your dog is given antihistamines for their condition I really recommend that you let them stay for a few days at the vet's kennel. Our dog had a pretty bad reaction to some vaccinations and had even worse luck when it came to the antihistamines he was given.

Basically our dog had a seizure after being given an antihistamine. As we had left our dog with the vet he made a full recovery. But it was a really scary experience. I can't imagine what would have happened if our dog had been at home. I know what to do for a person when they have a seizure, but I can't imagine how you would help your pet.

Post 1

Your vet should really be responsible for choosing the best antihistamine for your dog. Our poodle had a huge problem with itchy skin, and it got so bad that she was actually starting to bite areas raw.

We hauled our poodle to the vet and she gave her clemastine fumarate for the itchiness. The medicine worked really fast.

Another great thing about our vet is that she also gave us a salve to put on our dogs skin. We were really worried that the spots she had been biting would get infected. Luckily everything turned out well and we were able to get our dog back to normal.

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