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Best Allergy Medicine for Dogs: Antihistamines, Over-the-Counter Meds, & More [2024 Guide]

Best Allergy Medicine for Dogs: Antihistamines, Over-the-Counter Meds, & More [2024 Guide]

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on finding the best allergy medicine–and other allergy treatments–for dogs. While allergy medications can help, they may not always be the optimal or initial solution for your furry companion's allergies. 

So in addition to dog allergy medicines, we're here to help you explore natural, long-term solutions like dog food for allergy sufferers, dietary supplements, and other lifestyle changes that can help. 

What Causes Allergies in Dogs? 

Allergies in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including pollen, dust mites, mold, certain foods, and insect bites. Dogs can also develop allergies to substances they come into contact with regularly, such as certain fabrics, grooming products, and even their dog food. 


Allergy Symptoms in Dogs

Allergy symptoms in dogs can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Itching and scratching
  • Licking and chewing
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Ear infections
  • Skin redness and swelling
  • Gastrointestinal issues (IBD)
  • Respiratory distress
  • Behavioral changes
  • Constipation 

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may worsen over time if left untreated. It's essential to monitor your dog closely for any signs of allergies and seek veterinary care if needed.

How Do Allergy Medicines Work For Dogs? 

Allergy medicines for dogs typically work by blocking the effects of histamines, which are chemicals released by the immune system in response to allergens. Antihistamines help alleviate symptoms like itching, sneezing, and skin irritation while corticosteroids work by reducing inflammation and suppressing the overactive immune response.

Common side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, gastrointestinal upset, urinary retention, hyperactivity or excitability, allergic reactions, and behavioral changes.


When to use allergy medicine for dogs

Allergy medicine for dogs could be used when your pet is experiencing extreme symptoms of allergies, such as itching, redness, sneezing, or gastrointestinal issues. However, it can be helpful to try more natural solutions first, such as a change in diet, to avoid any side effects of medication.


How much allergy medicine to give to dogs

The dosage of allergy medicine for dogs varies depending on factors like the dog's size, weight, and the specific prescription being used. It's crucial to never exceed the recommended dose without consulting your vet, as overdosing can lead to adverse effects.


When not to give allergy medication to your dog

Avoid giving allergy medication to your dog without consulting a veterinarian, especially if your pet has pre-existing health conditions, is taking other medications, has an undiagnosed allergy, or is pregnant or nursing, among other considerations. 

Certain allergy medications may not be suitable for dogs with specific allergies or medical histories.

Alternatives to Allergy Medicine for Dogs

Exploring alternatives to traditional allergy medicine for dogs opens up a world of holistic and natural remedies. Read on for some gentle, yet effective solutions, ranging from dietary adjustments and supplements to environmental modifications and herbal remedies.

Limited Ingredient Diets for Dogs

Limited ingredient diets are beneficial for dogs with allergies because they minimize the number of potential allergens present in their food. These diets typically feature a single source of animal protein and a limited number of supplementary ingredients, making it easier for pet owners to reduce the risk of triggering allergic reactions and identify specific allergens.

KOHA Limited Ingredient Diet products are an excellent option for dogs with allergies. These recipes feature a single source of high-quality protein, such as salmon, duck, or pork, and exclude any junky fillers. 

KOHA’s Limited Ingredient meals make it easy to avoid common allergens, making them a great solution for dogs with food sensitivities.

Shop limited ingredient dog food


Limited Ingredient Bland Diet for Dogs


A bland diet for dogs consists of low-fat, easily digestible carbohydrates and proteins to soothe the gastrointestinal system. Typically, it includes lean proteins like boiled chicken or beef, known for their digestibility, and plain boiled white rice for its low fiber content. 

KOHA’s Bland Diet dog food products are an excellent choice for dogs with allergies due to their limited ingredient formula and high-quality, natural, single-protein ingredients. The grain-free recipes, Chicken and White Rice and Beef and White Rice, are free from common allergens such as artificial additives and fillers. 

By focusing on simple, wholesome ingredients, KOHA helps minimize the risk of triggering allergic reactions while providing digestive support and essential nutrition for your dog's health and well-being.

Watch your pup thrive with every bite!

Explore KOHA’s Limited Ingredient Bland Dog Food 


Novel Protein Diet for Dogs

Novel protein diets are beneficial for dogs with allergies because they feature proteins that they might not have eaten before and therefore haven’t built up an allergy to. For example, venison, rabbit, and duck are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in dogs who have developed sensitivities to more traditional proteins, like chicken or beef.  

KOHA offers a wide range of recipes featuring novel proteins like lamb, duck, and rabbit, providing pet parents with diverse options to accommodate their dog's dietary needs. 

These novel protein, grain-free recipes are also free from common allergens like soy and artificial additives, making them an ideal choice for dogs with food sensitivities.

Made with premium ingredients and crafted to support your dog's health from nose to tail, KOHA’s tail-wagging good novel protein dog food may be perfect for your furry friend’s allergies. 

Browse novel protein dog food


Immunity Support

Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to harmless substances, such as pollen or certain proteins in food. Therefore, a strong immune system is better equipped to recognize and neutralize potential allergens. 

By supporting the immune system through nutrition, supplements, or lifestyle changes, pet parents can help strengthen the skin barrier, which serves as the first line of defense against environmental allergens. This can help reduce the penetration of allergens into the body and alleviate symptoms such as itching and inflammation.


Dog Allergy Remedies for Your Home

By implementing these remedies and making some adjustments to your home environment, you can help alleviate your dog's allergy symptoms and create a more comfortable living space for both you and your furry friend.

  • Keep Your House Clean: Regularly washing your dog’s bed and vacuuming floors, carpets, and upholstery can help reduce the buildup of allergens.
  • Air Purifiers: Consider using HEPA air purifiers to remove airborne allergens from your home. 
  • Limit Exposure to Allergens: Limit exposure to allergens by keeping them indoors during peak pollen seasons or wiping their paws after outdoor walks.
  • Change Your Dog's Shampoo: An allergy-friendly or oatmeal-based shampoo can help soothe your dog's skin and reduce allergic reactions.
  • Grooming: Regular grooming and wiping paws can help remove allergens from your dog's coat and skin.
  • Dietary Changes: Consider switching your dog to an allergy-friendly, limited ingredient, or sensitive stomach diet.


Topicals and Creams/wipes


Topical treatments such as creams, ointments, wipes, and sprays with ingredients like aloe or oatmeal can provide relief for dogs experiencing skin allergies or increased scratching.

Here's how different types of topicals can benefit dogs with allergies:

  • Skin Creams and Ointments: These products contain moisturizers and anti-inflammatories, to relieve itching and irritation.
  • Wipes: Allergy-friendly grooming wipes remove allergens like pollen or dust while soothing and moisturizing the skin.
  • Sprays: Allergy relief sprays provide quick relief for itching and irritation with ingredients like hydrocortisone.

While these topical treatments can help manage symptoms, they are not a substitute for addressing the underlying cause of your dog's allergies and diet should be considered first.


Allergy Medicine & Antihistamines To Treat Your Dog’s Allergies

Here are some medications that could help with managing allergic reactions and symptoms in dogs, including how they work and potential side effects. However, always make sure to check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any allergy medication. 


1. Diphenhydramine

Diphenhydramine is an over the counter antihistamine that works by blocking the effects of histamine, a chemical released by the immune system during allergic reactions. Dosage and potential side effects can vary based on the dog's size and medical history.


Allergy Medicine with Diphenhydramine: 

  • Benadryl
  • Diphenhist
  • Sominex
  • Nytol

    2. Corticosteroids


    Corticosteroids are powerful and quick anti-inflammatory medications that work by suppressing the immune response and reducing inflammation in the body. They may also have side effects with prolonged use, including increased thirst, appetite, and urination, and immune suppression.


    Allergy Medicine with Corticosteroids

    • Prednisone
    • Prednisolone
    • Dexamethasone
    • Triamcinolone
    • Methylprednisolone


    3. Cetirizine

    Cetirizine works by blocking the action of histamine, thereby reducing symptoms like itching, sneezing, and watery eyes. It's essential to consult with a veterinarian for proper dosage and administration to avoid harmful side effects. 


    Allergy Medicine with Cetirizine:

    • Zyrtec
    • Reactine
    • Aller-Tec
    • Cetzine
    • Zyncet


    4. Loratidine

    Loratadine works by blocking histamine receptors, providing relief from itching, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms. Loratadine is generally safe for dogs and has minimal sedative effects, making it a popular choice for short-term allergy management.


    Allergy Medicine with Loratidine:

    • Claritin
    • Alavert
    • Allergy Relief Tablets
    • Wal-itin
    • Equaline Allergy Relief


    5. Hydroxyzine

    Hydroxyzine works by blocking histamine receptors in the body, reducing allergic symptoms such as itching, hives, and inflammation. Hydroxyzine may cause drowsiness in some dogs, so it's often used at bedtime or as needed for acute allergic reactions. 

    As with any medication, it's essential to use it under veterinary supervision to ensure proper dosage and monitoring for side effects.

    Allergy Medicine with Hydroxyzine:

    • Atarax
    • Vistaril
    • Hyzine
    • Iterax
    • Orgatrax

    Again, consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any allergy medication. 


    More About Allergy Medication for Dogs 

    What is the best thing to give a dog for allergies? 

    The best thing to give a dog for allergies often involves a combination of strategies, including dietary adjustments, allergen avoidance, and potentially targeted medication under veterinary guidance. 

    Emphasizing dietary changes tailored to the dog's specific needs can provide long-term relief by addressing the root cause of allergies, aiding in longer-term relief.


    What allergy medicine is safe for dogs? 

    The safety of allergy medicine for dogs varies, but certain antihistamines like cetirizine or loratadine are often considered safe in appropriate doses under veterinary guidance. However, addressing allergies through tailored dietary changes can be a better long-term solution, as it addresses the root cause of allergies rather than just alleviating symptoms with medication.


    Is Benadryl or Zyrtec better for dogs?

    Deciding between Benadryl and Zyrtec for dogs depends on factors like the dog's response to its effectiveness, reaction to side effects, dosage, underlying health conditions, and the type of allergy being treated. 


    What human allergy medicine is safe for dogs?

    Human allergy medications like cetirizine or loratadine may be considered safe for dogs under veterinary guidance. However, this depends on your dog’s reaction to the active ingredients, dosage, and any underlying health conditions. 


    Pair Allergy Medicine with Dog Food

    While allergy medication may offer symptomatic relief, addressing the root cause of allergies through dietary or lifestyle changes can lead to long-term improvements in your dog's health.

    KOHA dog food offers high-quality ingredients tailored to meet your dog's specific dietary needs. With KOHA, you can provide your furry friend with a holistic way to manage allergies and promote overall wellness.

    Ready to give your dog the delicious relief they deserve? Explore our range of dog food tailored for sensitive stomachs and your pup’s wellbeing.

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