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Dog allergy tablets

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read

Allergy tablets (also known as antihistamine tablets) are a group of medications that prevent the level of histamine from rising in the body and reduce the symptoms this can cause. Antihistamines can be used to treat a range of conditions, including allergic reactions such as to dogs, motion sickness, and insomnia.

Doctor’s advice

Who should take allergy tablets?

If you are suffering from hay fever or allergic-type symptoms such as an itchy nose, itchy rash or bite on the skin, or redness and minor swelling of the skin, then an antihistamine may help relieve these symptoms.

Minor allergic reactions to products (washing detergent, creams, perfume) and food or plant reactions (stinging nettles) can be safely treated with over-the-counter antihistamines and should get better in hours to days. Make sure to avoid whatever caused the reaction in the future.

If you find that you are getting regular allergic reactions and do not know the reason why, you should discuss it with your doctor, and you may benefit from getting allergy testing.

Choosing an allergy tablet

When addressing dog allergies, antihistamines are commonly employed as a primary treatment. These medications function by obstructing the action of histamine, a substance released by the body during allergic reactions. Here's a comprehensive breakdown:

  1. First-generation antihistamines: These encompass medications like diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine. They are widely available over the counter and can effectively manage mild to moderate allergy symptoms from dogs. However, they are more prone to causing drowsiness and other side effects compared to newer-generation antihistamines.

  2. Second-generation antihistamines: These are newer medications less likely to induce drowsiness and other adverse effects compared to their first-generation counterparts. Examples include cetirizine (marketed as Zyrtec), loratadine (sold under the brand name Claritin), and fexofenadine (branded as Allegra). These medications are often preferred for long-term use or for those sensitive to the sedative effects of first-generation antihistamines.

  3. Prescription antihistamines: In certain cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger antihistamines or combination medications to better control severe allergy symptoms from dogs.

When choosing the appropriate antihistamine for a dog allergy, several factors should be considered, including the severity of the allergy symptoms, the response to the treatment, and any pre-existing medical conditions or medications. Here are some considerations:

  • Effectiveness: Certain allergies may respond more favorably to specific antihistamines. Determining which medication works best may require some trial and error.

  • Side effects: Take into account the potential side effects of each antihistamine and whether they are acceptable based on lifestyle and activity level.

  • Cost and availability: Over-the-counter antihistamines are typically more affordable and accessible than prescription medications.

  • Long-term use: For people requiring long-term allergy management, second-generation antihistamines may be preferred due to their lower risk of side effects.

Drowsy allergy tablets

Older allergy tablets are more likely to cause drowsiness – this may be an advantage if symptoms are worse at night, but not if you need to operate heavy machinery or drive long distances. Those containing chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl) are older types. They work for a shorter amount of time, typically 4 to 6 hours, so you might need to take them several times a day or just when the pollen count is higher, typically early mornings and evenings. Despite this, some people think they work better for their particular symptoms – it's a question of trial and error on what works for you.

Prescription allergy tablets

All options discussed above are available to buy over the counter. If they are ineffective, your doctor can prescribe stronger allergy medications.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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