Antihistamines are a medication used to treat hay fever and other allergies. Available over the counter in pharmacies and most supermarkets, antihistamines are able to offer quick and painless relief with few known side effects.
Is it safe for my dog to take antihistamines?
The general answer is yes. Before giving your pet any medication, it is recommended you consult with your veterinarian. Just like humans, different dogs can react differently to various medications, so it may involve some trial and error to determine which antihistamine is the most suitable for your pet. If your pet is on any other medications, supplements, has any health conditions or complications, or if you suspect she may be pregnant, be sure to speak to a qualified professional before offering antihistamines.
Why would my dog need antihistamines?
Allergies can be extremely frustrating for both pets and their owners. Dogs are exposed to a number of potential allergens every day. These potential allergies can be anything from household products, including cleaning products, air fresheners and different foods, to plants, pollen and insect bites. As dogs are exposed to so much, it can be challenging to determine what exactly is causing the allergy.
Monitoring your dog on a day-to-day basis and taking note of their surroundings and what they eat can help you narrow it down. Outdoors is the most commonplace for an allergic reaction to strike. Some dogs are sensitive to specific leaves and plants and can have what is known as an urticaria reaction causing itchy or non-itchy hives, bumps or a rash.
Stress, prolonged exposure to heat and sunlight and excessive exercise can also trigger an urticaria reaction. In these cases, you can administer an antihistamine specially designed for your pet to help relieve the symptoms. Be sure to read the directions carefully to ensure you are giving your dog the correct dosage.
Are there any side effects?
Like any medication taken by any species, there is always a risk of common and uncommon side effects. Some of the most common side effects include;
- Urinary retention
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
Although these side effects are the most common, it is essential to check the leaflet provided with any antihistamine, as this will give you the correct information for the medication. Some side effects can be rarer and include;
- Increased appetite
- Decreased appetite
There are a vast amount of different antihistamines available for dogs. They all have their own side effects, so it is vital to seek medical advice and read all the information provided with the antihistamine you are administering. Always do your research and familiarise yourself with the different signs and side effects.
The advantages of antihistamines for dogs
Medications are used to relieve any pain and discomfort a person or animal is suffering from. Nobody wants to see their canine companion in distress and antihistamines can be a fast and inexpensive relief from an allergy. The medication is non-invasive, generally small in size and easy for your pooch to take. They are usually available in either a tablet or liquid form.
Are antihistamines suitable for any breed?
Yes. Any side effects that have been known to happen have occurred in a number of different breeds and not just one particular type of dog. Allowing us to believe that antihistamines do not affect or react with any specific types of breed.
What to do if you give the wrong dosage?
It is possible to overdose on antihistamine, so it is vital to be aware of the signs. These include hyper-excitability of the central nervous system, which can be fatal. A number of other symptoms include;
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid heartbeat
If you give the incorrect dosage and administer too much antihistamine or notice any of these signs, seek advice immediately from your local vet or emergency veterinary hospital. It is always a good idea to check dosage and in many cases this is based on the weight of your dog. However, never guess how much or how little your dog should take based on their weight - always read the guidelines.
Whether it is an allergic reaction to food, pollen, or the great outdoors, it is essential to get on top of your pet’s allergies as soon as possible. This will help identify and determine what the cause is and the most effective form of treatment. Antihistamines can make it possible for your dog to live a happy and fulfilled outdoor life.
Andrew Long is a blogger and writer and owns a dog harness and walking accessories store at Wiggles and Wags.