Loratadine is a drug that helps treat canine allergies and skin irritation. A common cause of skin irritation in dogs is atopic dermatitis, the symptoms of which include incessant scratching, chewing of the legs and paws, hot spots, and alopecia, or loss of hair. Additional causes of atopic canine dermatitis include allergies to pollen and dust mite infestation.
Sometimes, loratadine for dogs works better in reducing allergic reaction when it is combined with other medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antihistamines. In addition, supplementing the dog's diet with fish oil or other supplements can help relieve an acute skin reaction. Owners should not supplement a dog's diet without first consulting with a veterinarian, because nutritional supplements can interact with certain medical conditions or medications.
Vaccinations can also cause a local skin reaction that may include pain, swelling, and itching. Loratadine can help reduce these symptoms, and some veterinarians may recommend pre-medicating the dog prior to his vaccinations to decrease the risk of an allergic reaction. Typically, however, the incidence of severe reaction to vaccinations is low, so pre-medicating with loratadine is often unnecessary.
Typically, loratadine produces few side effects in dogs. When side effects do occur, they are generally seen when given in combination with other medications, such as antibiotics or antifungal medications. These side effects include excessive drowsiness and lethargy, however, if these side effects occur in the absence of antibiotics or antifungal medications, the veterinarian should be notified.
Generally, loratadine is well tolerated by dogs because it does not produce side effects like the older antihistamines can, especially drowsiness. Diphenhydramine, also known as Benadryl®, is sometimes given to dogs to reduce the effects of allergic skin reactions, but sometimes cannot be tolerated because of the profound effects it has on the central nervous system.
The usual dose of loratadine for dogs is between 0.5 mg and 1 mg for each 2.2 pounds (about 1 kg) that the canine weighs. In addition, this medication can be purchased at any drug store or grocery store, and the human form is the same administered to dogs. The veterinarian, however, should determine the correct dosage before it is administered by the owner.
Since there a couple of types of loratadine, a veterinarian should specify which type is appropriate for the dog. One form has decongestant properties, and contains a medication that can cause negative side effects in the dog, such as rapid heart rate and pulse, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. In addition, this version may even worsen allergic conditions, such as biting of the feet and itching.
Get helpful pet care information and other helpful resources by visiting Pettable's blog.