While there are different types of allergies, skin infections are a highly irritating condition for your furry friend when left untreated. Severe cases can even compromise your dog’s immune system, causing more distress to both dogs and their pet parents. So it’s understandable why you want to treat skin conditions as soon as symptoms show.
In this guide, we share the 10 best antihistamines for dogs with skin allergies.
What are Skin Allergies?
Much like with humans, there are many types of dog allergies that can affect their quality of life. Seasonal allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergies are the usual culprits behind itchy skin, but insect bites (flea bites in particular) are also to blame. Fortunately, there are many kinds of allergy medicine for dogs that can help reduce or eliminate symptoms of allergies to help them enjoy life once again.
Why Use Antihistamines for Dogs?
Antihistamines are used to treat various kinds of allergies, so if your dog is suffering from symptoms of skin irritation such as redness, itchiness, or swelling, an antihistamine could provide allergy relief. Dog antihistamines work by disrupting histamine response — histamines are particles that the body releases in response to allergens. However, some dogs may not respond to antihistamines because some allergic responses in dogs aren’t related to histamines.
Those who suffer from an allergy will typically display symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose, due to the release of histamine. But these aren’t the usual dog allergy symptoms — dogs will typically exhibit the following when they are having an allergic reaction:
- Hot spots
- Motion sickness
- Itchy eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Skin itchiness and redness
Benefits of Using the Right Antihistamines
Antihistamines have many benefits, including the fact that they’re affordable and can help relieve mild allergies in dogs. When it comes to bee or wasp stings as well as an adverse reaction to vaccines, antihistamines are also effective. As a result, they can reduce the symptoms of hypersensitivity in dogs, such as ocular and facial swelling, along with hives.
They can also be used in combination with other types of medication to combat more severe cases of allergies. Because antihistamines can be highly effective for dogs, they are often recommended by veterinarians. There have also been studies that support the benefits and safety of these treatment options, making them popular among dog owners.
Benadryl is a commonly used antihistamine by people to treat allergies but can also be used on dogs; most kinds of brand name Benadryl are effective and relatively safe for dogs. While it’s not FDA-approved for the use of pets, they are considered safe for dogs when given the correct dose. But as with any kind of medication, it’s a good idea to ask your vet before using dog Benadryl because some are safe for dogs and others aren’t.
10 Best Antihistamines for Dogs
Pet allergies can be a lot to deal with and human medication won’t make for a good option, so be sure to look into these online and over-the-counter histamines that are approved for veterinary use.
1. PetArmor Antihistamine Medication for Allergies for Dogs
- Provides quick and temporary relief for itchy dogs
- Is an excellent option for flea allergies, bites, and stings
- Uses the same active ingredient as Benadryl
- Can be used to calm anxiety in dogs while traveling
These oral medications by PetArmor are formulated with the same active ingredient used in Benadryl Allergy Ultra Tablets. Also used as a dog’s skin health supplement, each one of the 25 mg tablets contains a powerful combination of antihistamines, vitamins, and minerals. Because it’s such an effective option for sensitive skin, you can skip the vet bills and treat your pup’s medical conditions from your home.
2. Biologic Vet BIOVET BioSKIN&COAT Natural Antihistamine
- Effectively targets the histamine receptors to improve your dog’s symptoms
- Easy-to-use supplement that promotes coat and skin health
- Fights dog’s allergies and symptoms like yeast overgrowth and hotspots
- Made in the USA without any artificial additives
These Biologic Vet BIOVET BioSKIN&COAT Natural Antihistamine Dog & Cat Supplements are natural remedies that not only work against dog allergies but cat allergies, too! They are over-the-counter medications that help to protect your dog from seasonal and environmental allergens to keep it feeling and looking good. For the safety of your dog’s body, these supplements contain no artificial colors, flavors, binders, or preservatives.
3. Zesty Paws Allergy Immune Bites Soft Chews
- These allergy bites are perfect for a wide range of health conditions
- Enhanced with a nutrient blend designed to strengthen your dog’s immune system
- Includes salmon fish oil which provides omega-3 fatty acids, and more
- Comes with apple cider vinegar and colostrum for added care and support
Zesty Paws’ Aller-Immune Bites are popular and common antihistamines that come in an irresistible lamb flavor that works for seasonal, environmental, and skin allergies. Powered by Epicor Pets, a specialty blend that contains protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, these soft chews provide the best way to protect the immune system. Made with astragalus root, omega-3, probiotics, apple cider vinegar, and colostrum, it helps to fight off airborne allergies while keeping your dog’s skin in top form.
4. Finn Allergy & Itch Soft Chew
- Comes in many great flavors, including bacon, beef liver, and cheese
- Contains probiotics and prebiotics to support digestive health
- Formulated to support the immune system and to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies
- Made in the USA
If you’re looking to combat a pet allergy, look no further than Finn Colostrum Omegas & Bee Propolis Allergy & Itch Dog Supplement. Made with a blend of Wild Alaskan Salmon oil, colostrum, bromelain, quercetin, and bee propolis, this supplement can be more effective than topical sprays and nasal sprays. Each ingredient has been included to maintain proper histamine levels, while the probiotics support a healthy digestive system.
5. Pro-Sense Dog Itch & Allergy Tablets
- Contains human-strength antihistamines to provide temporary relief for allergies
- Works to reduce instances of allergic reactions and targets the source
- These easy-to-use tablets can be divided according to weight and be taken twice a day
- Comes in a travel-friendly bottle for accessible allergy relief for your dog
While there is a wide range of possible causes behind allergies, these allergy tablets go straight to the source, whether it’s from a food allergy, fungal infections, or bacterial infections. Thanks to a human-strength formula that blocks histamines, these new medications work to reduce symptoms associated with allergies. With the Pro-Sense Dog Itch & Allergy Tablets, you can provide your pup with the relief it needs.
6. Vet’s Best Seasonal Allergy Soft Chews Supplement
- Chews come bundled with a spray when purchased through Chewy
- Provides a once-a-day solution for normalizing histamine levels
- Chews are made in the USA
- Spray works to soothe, relieve, and moisturize the skin
This is arguably the best antihistamine for flea allergy dermatitis, as it was designed specifically to protect your pups against flea bites, seasonal allergies, and other irritants. With Vet’s Best Seasonal Allergy Soft Chews Dog Supplements, you’re getting a natural remedy that’s made from nettle leaf, vitamin E, perilla seed, prebiotics, and antioxidants. It also includes tea tree oil, oatmeal, aloe vera, neem oil, and chamomile for ultimate comfort without severe side effects.
7. Dr. Woow Soft Chew Allergy & Immune Supplement
- Provides immune support and natural allergy relief across all breeds and sizes
- Includes probiotics and prebiotics for nutrient absorption and digestion
- Chews are duck flavored, making it a delightful treat
- Made in the USA
Rather than getting dreaded allergy shots and blood tests whenever fighting allergies, Dr. Woow’s Allergy and Immunity Soft Chews for Dogs can provide you with professional veterinary care for less! Made with Betta berries, Wild Alaskan Salmon oil, colostrum, and a vitamin E antioxidant blend, these soft chews support the immune system and ease allergy symptoms. These supplements are also 100% natural and contain no added soy, corn, grain, or artificial ingredients, which is extra helpful for your dogs!
8. Nutri-Vet Allerg-Eze Chewable Tablets
- It features plenty of vitamin C to boost the immune response
- Formulated to maintain health and respiratory function against seasonal allergies
- Made with citrus bioflavonoids and quercetin to help manage allergic reactions
- Made by veterinarians
No matter what the season, give your pup the protection it needs to frolic allergy-free with these Nutri-Vet Allerg-Eze Chewables! Developed by veterinarians, these contain a mixture of omega fatty acids and antioxidants, which are specifically formulated for normal respiratory functions for all seasons. It also contains antihistamines to help provide relief from allergies; inside you’ll find 60 chewable tablets with a great liver flavor that your dogs will love!
9. StrellaLab Allergy & Itch Relief Supplements
- Perfect for fur babies of all shapes and sizes
- Helps to soothe symptoms of allergy
- Contains fish oil from Wild Alaskan Salmon
- Made in the USA
With the StrellaLab Allergy & Itch Relief Supplements, you’re getting a medley of essential vitamins, minerals, as well as omega fatty acids to boost dog hair and skin health. Thanks to the fish oil in this formula, your pup will feel a reduction in their allergy symptoms, such as flaking, itching, hotspots, and more. Moreover, these are completely natural and free from harmful ingredients like soy, sugar, corn, or dairy.
10. Chew + Heal Allergy Aid Soft Chews for Dogs
- Helps to relieve both skin allergies and seasonal allergies
- Provides anti-inflammatory properties naturally
- Prevents skin allergies and reduces skin blemishes
- Made in the USA inside an FDA-registered facility
The Chew + Heal Allergy Aid Dog Supplement has been formulated to provide relief to your canine companion through fatty acids and oils that help to promote healthy skin. Because it also contains EPA and DHA, it also helps combat arthritis and helps to boost the respiratory system and the immune system. Finally, this powerful allergy aid is fully compliant with CGMP standards for the complete safety of your pet.
What is the Dosage of Antihistamines for Dogs?
In general, the dosage schedule of antihistamines for dogs is once every 8 to 12 hours, apart from loratadine and cetirizine which can only be taken every 24 hours. These medication doses are based on the amount of antihistamine in milligrams (mg) per dog’s weight in kilograms. Additionally, will need to ensure that your dosage calculations are correct since an overdose can lead to seizures and hallucinations in dogs.
Below is a quick guide on the general doses for different antihistamines:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®): Around 2 to 4 mg/kg every 8-12 hours
- Loratidine (Claritin®): Around 0.5 mg/kg every 24 hours
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec® or Reactine®): Around 1 mg/kg every 24 hours
- Hydroxyzine (Vistaril®): Around 2 to 4 mg/kg every 8-12 hours
What are the Typical Side Effects of Antihistamines for Dogs?
Some of the most common side effects when giving dogs antihistamines include drowsiness and sedation. However, these are more prominent in older kinds of antihistamines such as Benadryl. Newer allergy medications such as Zyrtec or Reactine won’t have much of these effects.
Other potential side effects include nausea, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, or vomiting. In rare cases, another side effect includes a paradoxical reaction, which is an increase in stimulation or activity in dogs when given higher doses.
At the first sight of an allergic reaction, be sure to assess the type of allergy your pup is suffering from to get the right prescription medication. If you prefer treating your pup from the comfort of your home, know that there are plenty of antihistamines with minimal side effects that your dog will be comfortable with. If these aren’t effective, take your fur baby to the nearest veterinary hospital to treat conditions like atopic dermatitis and undergo a hypoallergenic diet to determine the source of their skin allergies.