Loratadine is an allergy medication. Name brands of loratadine that you may be familiar with include Claritin and Alavert. Dogs have allergies? Yes, in fact some dogs have very bad allergies. Some breeds are more prone to allergies than others and it can be passed genetically.
Some dogs have seasonal allergies while others have skin allergies, food allergies and combinations of all. Dogs are actually very prone to allergies that cause itching and rashes.
You may see patches of skin falling out, red spots that are caused from the dog chewing on itchy spots, and open sores from this raw skin that is being chewed and licked constantly – these are called hot spots. The skin temperature in these spots is warmer to the touch and will be red and irritated.
Some dogs will actually pull all the hair out of areas that itch chronically, due to the constant grooming and licking they do as a reaction to the itching. Some dogs will yelp when they hurt themselves from this grooming and biting themselves but cannot help doing it or stop themselves.
White fur will turn brown-stained from the saliva. Constant running eyes will also cause brown staining around the eyes.
Some dogs will get skin allergies so bad that they get bacterial skin infections from the constant licking and chewing. There are options for the pet owner who sees their dog suffering with these issues and there may also be things that you can do to alleviate the symptoms before they start.
Note When Your Dog is Having Problems
You may likely note a pattern if you begin keeping track of your dog. Watering eyes happen in the spring and fall all the time? This is likely an indication that your dog has an issue with pollen from things that flower at that time of year or the decomposing of things in the air in the fall. Falling leaves create dusts in the air, just like pollen.
Your dog may have a food allergy if there are no other clear indicators of season. Begin changing diet by restricting certain foods and slowly adding things back to the diet until you get a reaction again. Some of the things dogs have a tendency to be allergic to are wheat, chicken, beef, and corn.
You may look for foods that do not contain these ingredients and see if you can potentially narrow it down to the causes of allergy symptoms.
Make sure that your yard doesn’t have any plants that can potentially be dangerous or poisonous to dogs. Dogs can get poison ivy irritation and they can also spread the poison to humans by bringing it into your home and rubbing it on furniture and directly onto your hands, face, clothing, etc.
Make sure that your yard is free of these nuisance weeds. Don’t spray toxins in your yard. Many dogs will have skin reactions to fertilizers and weed sprays. There are many ways to control weeds and bugs that don’t include chemicals on your lawn or garden areas.
Fence dogs out of places where you absolutely must spray chemicals or fertilizers to soil. Make sure that you keep them separated so no harm comes to your dogs or your flower beds and everyone will be happier.
By paying close attention, writing thing in a journal – such as the type of food that caused a reaction – you will likely be able to determine if your dog is allergic to a food. If all else fails, your veterinarian can do allergy tests on your dog. This is done just like allergy tests in humans.
Possible Remedies for Dog Allergic Reactions
If skin allergy is the problem, begin with a good bath. Use a gentle shampoo that won’t dry the skin or sting. There are shampoos made specifically for skin allergies in dogs and using one of these may be the best choice for you and your dog.
Rinse very thoroughly. Some dogs will itch worse after a bath because the shampoo hasn’t been rinsed completely from their skin.
Using products like coconut oil to rub into their skin and fur is also a possible remedy for bacterial infections in the skin. Coconut oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help treat this condition naturally. You also don’t need to worry about your dog licking coconut oil from their fur as it is edible.
Over-the-counter allergy medications can be used for dogs, such as loratadine. Loratadine is indicated for use on itchy skin in dogs and cats. This product is an antihistamine but it doesn’t cause the extreme drowsiness that other products often do.
Why Do Antihistamines Work?
The cause of itching skin is when the body views something as an invader and the liver releases histamines to fight the invader. The histamines will cause itching and swelling, which is why people so often have problems with eye swelling when allergies are in full swing. Dogs can also have these same reactions.
Essentially, the body is overreacting to something it views as a threat and the allergic response is the result. The antihistamine works to stop this overproduction of histamine, stopping the extreme itching and eyes from watering and swelling. The benefit is that your pet should become more comfortable very quickly.
Loratadine is considered safer than some other antihistamines on the market because it doesn’t increase heart rate or cause reactions in the stomach with stomach acid. This is important for pets as their heart rate is already faster than humans to begin with.
Digestion problems for dogs can also be much worse because they cannot expel gas from their stomach as easily as we do and if they are a larger breed, they can suffer life-threatening bloat.
Know Your Dog
Not enough stress can be placed on knowing what is normal for your dog before you begin making changes to their diet and administering over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Only when you know what is normal for them can you know when they are having an adverse reaction to something.
Keeping a journal is an effective way to monitor their progress. Begin your first entry with a pulse and heart rate that is normal for your dog. Take their temperature using a rectal thermometer especially made for them. Enter this information in your journal.
If possible, weigh them and take note of the smell of their ears and skin. Bacterial infections and yeast infections have a very pungent smell that is very characteristic. If you smell it once, you’ll always recognize it. Even ear infections can be caused by allergic reactions.
Use a good ear wash and pay particular attention to them. If you don’t have a pet store close to you, you can use a 50/50 mix of sterile water and vinegar. White vinegar or apple cider vinegar will both work. Be sure to mix with water as vinegar alone can sting their ears if they’ve been digging and scratching at them.
When you apply the ear wash, squeeze into ear a good amount, rub the base of their ears to get it worked into the inner ear and then allow the dog to shake its head.
This is the same way with cats, but cats can be far more combative and you may have to do one ear a day or two apart because getting them to allow you to do the second ear may not happen without sneaking up on them again.
If you decide to bathe your dog, please, make sure that you don’t bathe them more often than every four to six weeks. You can dry their skin out and strip their naturals oils out, which is detrimental.
You can use things like rub-in oils, such as the coconut oil, or you can use some hypoallergenic pet wipes to help keep them clean and smelling nice between baths.
Know the potential side-effects of any OTC medication that you use. When you know ahead of time, you’ll know how to best react. You won’t be caught off guard and you can react quickly to make your dog comfortable again or to seek veterinary help when necessary.
Loratadine is a very safe antihistamine in most cases, but you never know and should always be prepared If you suspect your dog has gotten into something in our home to cause a reaction, you should keep a medicine cabinet that includes things for your dog.
Charcoal pills are indicated for the consumption of certain toxins, for example. If your dog is suspected of ingesting a harmful substance, call your veterinarian immediately but also have things on hand that he may instruct you to use – such as activated charcoal or hydrogen peroxide.
A dog that suffers from seasonal allergies is capable of living a long and comfortable life. Do all that you can to keep them comfortable, remove any possible triggers from their environment (even potential foods), and know that they aren’t any more uncomfortable than a human with allergies is.
Laura Barnes is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.