Reactions to Antihistamines in Dogs

Written by g.d. palmer
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
Reactions to Antihistamines in Dogs
Every dog will react differently to antihistamine treatment. (Labrador dog image by muro from Fotolia.com)

Allergies are among the most common medical complaints in dogs. While most humans react to allergens with sneezing and coughing, dogs are more likely to develop skin problems. One common treatment for allergens in both species is antihistamines. It's important to know which ones to use and what the possible side effects can be.

Other People Are Reading

Significance

Allergens cause problems because the immune system recognises them as a threat to the body. This usually happens because of oversensitization, whether to an airborne allergen or to a type of food. Once the allergen enters your dog's body, the immune system attacks mast cells in the skin, causing a release of histamines and the accompanying symptoms. Antihistamines can prevent this release, providing some relief.

Types

The most common antihistamine given to dogs is benadryl, also called diphendryamine. Many vets use a dose of 1 mg per pound of the dog's weight. Other options include clemastine, chlorpheniramine and hydroxyzine. Hydroxyzine is a very strong antihistamine and may cause more serious side effects than weaker types.

Effects

According to Vet Info, about 15 to 20 per cent of dogs benefit from the use of antihistamines alone. This number increases to 25 to 40 per cent when antihistamines are used in conjunction with fatty acid inhibitors. Vets recommend that you try several antihistamines, since each pet's reaction will be a little different.

Warning

Not all antihistamines are right for your dog. Side effects of antihistamines in dogs include drowsiness and lethargy. Some dogs also get diarrhoea or nausea. A few will become excitable and nervous when given certain antihistamine medications. You should avoid these. If your dog does become drowsy or tired when you give it antihistamines consider administering them at night, when your pet would normally be sleeping.

Considerations

One common problem for dog owners who treat their pets with antihistamines is determining the right dose. Always check with your vet before dosing your dog, even if you have the medication in your home. One of the most common difficulties for dogs treated with antihistamines is that the initial dose is too low. Each drug has its own dosing requirements. Follow instructions carefully when administering medication to your pet.

Don't Miss

Filter:
  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
Sort:
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the eHow.co.uk site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.