Allegra is the trade name for the antihistamine Fexofenadine. This pharmaceutical drug is used to treat seasonal allergies in humans. Fexofenadine works by minimizing the effects of natural chemical histamines.
Like humans, canines can have seasonal allergies. In such case, can they take Allegra to reduce their hypersensitivities? Let’s see what dog experts have to say. But, before we that, let’s discuss more about seasonal allergies and how they can affect canines.
What is a seasonal allergy?
The seasonal allergy, also known as hay fever in humans, refers to allergy symptoms that take place during a particular time of the year. Below are the typical allergens associated with each season:
- Spring – pollens from trees and flowers, mold spores, ragweed, dust mites
- Summer – mold, bees, sunscreen, seasonal fruits
- Fall – ragweed, outdoor molds
- Winter – indoor allergens such as mold and dust mites
Take note that these allergens have the tendency to arise all at the same time. In humans, seasonal allergies are often characterized by sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes for us humans. What about our pets? How can you tell if your dog has seasonal allergies?
in dogs, seasonal allergies are mostly accompanied by skin itchiness. Look at your dog’s skin for signs of inflammation and hot spots. Skin problems are the leading indicator of seasonal allergies in canines.
Most dogs really don’t grow out of the allergy. There are a few lucky dogs that were able to grow out of their hypersensitivities because their immune systems have changed. Still, it is worth noting that treating allergies can be a life-long battle because there is no such thing as a quick fix in dealing with them.
Hot spots can be very red and could even bleed. If your dog started scratching or licking himself, that could be an indication of hot spots. It is best to see your vet as soon as possible so he could recommend a non-irritating solution to cleanse the skin.
These skin issues arise because your dog’s body is trying to clear out the allergen. Although allergens are harmless substances in our environment, they could affect our pets big-time.
Other than the constant itching, your dog could also have irritated skin because of seasonal allergies. The rashes and hives can usually be found on a dog’s belly, feet, and toes. Some dogs can also have ear inflammations, or other of the following signs:
- Puffy eyes
- Skin redness
- Smelly ears
- Hair loss
- Incessant leaking
- Watery eyes
Once these symptoms occur, take a trip to the vet immediately. The vet will then perform an intradermal skin test to identify the real culprit.
Fexofenadine: Vet-Approved or Not?
Yes, Fexofenadine can be safely given to dogs. Carolina Value Vet, a mobile pet vaccine clinic, said the recommended dosage is 1 mg for every 5 pounds of body weight. It should only be given once a day.
Compared to other antihistamines, Allegra causes less drowsiness. The drug usually takes effect an hour after dispensing.
What if the dog ingested more than the recommended dosage? In most cases, dogs only experience lethargy after consuming large amounts of Allegra. If your pet doesn’t show anything unusual, there is nothing you should be worried about an Allegra overdose.
Research trials in the past indicated that Allegra cannot kill dogs even if they accidentally ingested 300 times more than the recommended dose. It is very safe and effective for dogs.
However, that does not mean you should not practice caution in giving it to your pet. It would not hurt to make a call to your pet doctor before administering the drug to dog.
Some vets also prescribe Fexofenadine for reducing inflammation because of mast cell tumors, a form of skin cancer in canines. Dogs with severe allergies can develop mast cell tumors. The boxer breed is more prone to allergies and tumors compared to other dog breeds.
Allegra Dosage for Dogs
Toy dogs, whose size range from 4 to 7 pounds, should take no more than 30 mg of Allegra per day. Some dogs may be smaller than the standard toy dog weight. Breeds such as Chihuahua and Toy Fox Terrier can weigh less. The maximum amount of Allegra for very small dogs is equivalent to half of a tablet per day.
Small dogs can safely ingest one tablet per day. This should be no more than 60 mg in total per day. For medium dogs, it is safe to give them one and a half tablet per day, while large dogs can take as much as two tablets or 120 mg of Allegra daily.
Consult a vet about Cyclosporine in the event that Allegra did not work in treating the allergies on smaller breeds of dogs. This prescription drug is said to be very effective in controlling allergies.
The pet vaccine clinic emphasized that there is no cure for allergies, they can only be managed or controlled. This information applies to both humans and animals.
Safety of Giving Allegra to Dogs
Always practice extra caution in administering any type of drugs to your pet. Make sure the drug you are giving is not Allegra-D, otherwise, your dog will suffer. Decongestants, especially pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine based ones, can be poisonous to dogs.
If you are thinking of using Allegra off the label or as medication for ailments other than allergies, it is advised to consult your vet. Other types of antihistamine are also being used for treating insomnia and motion sickness.
Check the labels carefully, especially when buying OTC medicine like antihistamines. Some antihistamines contain decongestants that can kill dogs and they work fast inside their body. Your dog could have dilated pupils and an abnormal heart rate in just a few minutes after ingesting the drug.
Tips in Dealing with Dog Allergies
There are more ways to diminish the effects of allergies, aside from giving your pet antihistamines. Take these things into consideration if your pet has inflamed and itchy skin:
1.Administer the antihistamine as soon as he starts itching. It is more difficult to control bacteria and fungi once the itching is already severe.
2.Ask your vet about antimicrobial therapy. Yeast infections are very common in allergic pets and could make the itching worse. Your vet may recommend topical products to treat the yeast infection as well as the bacterial infections of the skin.
3.Consider fish oil capsules to treat mild itching. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil works like an antihistamine. Consult your vet regarding dietary supplements with essential fatty acids.
4.Prevent hot spots by grooming your pet regularly. Puppies need professional grooming as soon as they reached their tenth week. Dogs should be bathed at least once a month.
5.Ease the symptoms of allergies by using essential oils. Chamomile, peppermint, and lavender are all safe for dogs.
6.Allergy-proof your home. Same like us, our pets also need a stress-free environment. Vacuum often and dust frequently. Use organic cleaning agents because certain household chemicals can also cause allergies in canines.
7.If the vet prescribed a topical medication, it would help to shave the skin areas with hot spots. This allows the ointment to easily reach the wound and the air to pass.
8.Give your pet an oat bath to soothe the itching. Take note that this should only be given to allergic dogs that do not suffer from yeast infections. Since oat is a rich source of carbohydrates, yeast would only thrive in the dog’s body.
9.Use an aloe vera gel to treat hot spots and itches. Aloe is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and for its great healing power even in humans.
10.Apply an infusion of fresh thyme on the affected areas. Thyme is a great antiseptic that can be safely used for canines with skin and yeast infections.
11.Help relieve the itchiness by using a shampoo with hydrocortisone. More common in topical creams, hydrocortisone is known for its ability to reduce inflammation and redness.
Most importantly, talk to a veterinary dermatologist so he can perform diagnostics and give the appropriate medication for your pet. There are other types of allergies in dogs that could show similar symptoms as seasonal allergies.
Your pet could also suffer from itchiness and skin infections due to food allergies and environmental allergies. If your dog suffers from food allergies, your vet could also recommend a hypoallergenic diet for your pet.
Allegra or any brand of antihistamine is safe for dogs. However, be careful not to give your pet Allerta-D which contains decongestant. Keep medicines out of your pet’s reach at all times because decongestant can be present in many over-the-counter medicines such as sleeping aids and pain relievers.
Although Allegra is an over-the-counter medication, it would help to keep your vet informed when administering it. Remember that Allegra only provides temporary relief of symptoms associated with dog allergies. It is still best to consult a veterinary dermatologist. Your pet doctor will be in charge in determining the real cause of your dog’s symptoms. If there is an allergy, he should prescribe meds to keep the symptoms from reoccurring.