Apoquel for Dogs: The Definitive Guide

Apoquel for Dogs: The Definitive Guide
5 (100%) 8 votes

We have all witnessed the signature scratch of a dog – hind leg raised, waving wildly, furiously trying to satiate that pesky itch. At first glance, you may assume Fido encountered a rouge flea or two while playing outside. However, your beloved dog may be dealing with a more pressing issue – allergies. Our canine companions can suffer environmental allergies, seasonal allergies, or react adversely to a new medication or food. A trip to the vet will likely leave you with a prescription for Apoquel for dogs.

What is Apoquel for Dogs | Oclacitinib

Apoquel is the brand name for “Oclacitinib”, a common canine medication prescribed by veterinarians. Furthermore, Apoquel is used to aid symptoms typically associated with canine pruritus. Pruritus is simply the medical term for chronically itchy skin caused by various allergies. If you yourself have ever suffered from allergies, you are familiar with how uncomfortable they can make your daily life. Now, imagine how hard it must be on your pup! Poor thing is covered in fur and doesn’t have the range of motion we do to scratch tricky spots!

Canine allergies appear in several levels of severity. Including, short itching spurts, acute conditions, recurring conditions, and chronic conditions. Consequently, it is important to find the right treatment plan for your dog’s specific allergy needs.

Why Use Apoquel for DogsApoquel for Dogs

Good for a range of allergy issues, your veterinarian is likely to prescribe your ailing pup Apoquel tablets. This medication is known for its fast-acting formula, giving your dog the relief it so desperately seeks within four hours of taking the initial dose.

Causes of Allergies in Dogs

Canine allergies can be can triggered by a number of sources. Dogs and their immune systems are as unique as humans. Therefore, every dog reacts differently to certain allergens. However, some common causes of allergies in dogs include:

Food Allergies

According to Modern Dog Magazine, food allergies are the “over-response of your dog’s immune system to an invading protein”. Like people, dogs’ allergic tendencies are as unique as they are. However, some of the most commonly reported food allergies for dogs are caused by beef, dairy, and wheat.  Interestingly enough, certain breeds are more prone to food allergies than others. Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Dalmatians, German Shepherds, and Retrievers, are found to be more susceptible to food-related allergies.

Contact Allergens

Also referred to as “Contact Dermatitis”, dogs will often show signs of allergies after coming into contact with certain irritants. Symptoms may include swelling, itching, bumps on the skin, or rashes. These symptoms may take up to 48 hours to appear. Common causes of contact dermatitis include:

  • Fabrics, leathers, carpets, and rugsdog allergies
  • Plants
  • Shampoos and soaps
  • Creams or lotions
  • Sunlight or heat
  • Bug Bites
  • Medications
  • Plastics, rubber, metal, or concrete
  • Household cleaners
  • Gardening supplies (chemicals, mulch, fertilizer, pesticides)

Naturally, every dog has a different tolerance level for various allergens. If you notice your dog reacting poorly to something, be sure to note it so you can avoid it in the future.

Environmental Allergens

Dogs between the ages of one and three years are most susceptible to environmental allergens. Reactions are typically genetically predisposed and are more common in certain breeds such as Dalmatians, Retrievers, Shepherds, Terriers, Boxers, Bulldogs, Shepherds, and Beagles. Common environmental allergens are:

  • Dust Mites
  • Mold Spores
  • Pollen
  • Animal Dander

Some of these triggers are seasonal and almost impossible to keep away from your dog, especially when they are playing outside. As a result, should you notice any allergy symptoms arise, be sure to consult your vet immediately.

Atopic Dermatitis

The most severe allergy ailment found in dogs is an inflammatory, chronic skin disease known as Atopic Dermatitis. Dogs normally develop symptoms as early as three months old, or as late as six years of age. While Atopic Dermatitis is most common amongst dogs with a family history of skin allergies, the chief culprits behind the disease are:

  • Airborne pollens (weeds, trees, grasses, etc)
  • Animal danders
  • Mold Spores
  • House Dust Mites

Atopic Dermatitis is a manageable skin condition affecting thousands of dogs. There are dozens of medications and healing agents you can use to suppress symptoms and make your fur baby more comfortable. Which brings us back to…

Allergy Medicine for Dogs

Now that we know the leading causes of allergies in dogs, let’s determine whether or not you need to seek medicinal aid. The leading symptoms to look for include:

  • Paw chewing
  • Runny nose
  • Uncontrollable scratching
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Balding (from excessive scratching and biting)
  • Runny eyes (build-up of discharge)

If your dog is suffering from one or more of these symptoms you should take a trip to the vet’s office.

Fleas on Dogs

Before committing to any allergy medication, it is important to rule out other possible issues. Chief amongst them, fleas. With nearly 2,000 known species and subspecies of fleas, there is a good chance these pesky parasites are responsible for your furry friend’s itchy skin. Fun flea fact: when searching for a host, fleas can jump up to 10,000 times in a row (roughly the length of three football fields). Furthermore, fleas can leap a full two feet in one jump. Basically, fleas will go great lengths to find a home on your fur baby. To help rule out fleas from possible allergies, look at for these symptoms:

  • Droppings in the dog’s coat (also known as “flea dirt”)Dog Hot Spot from Fleas
  • Excessive scratching, licking or biting at the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Scabs on hot spots
  • Tapeworms
  • Pale gums

Additionally, it is common to see the actual flea scurrying around your dog’s body. Fleas tend to next on the tummy, or at the base of the tail or neck.

If you come up empty after a thorough flea check, your dog may, in fact, be dealing with an allergy of sorts. If that is the case, your veterinarian may consider prescribing medication.

Apoquel Dosage for Dogs

Many prescription drugs come in a variety of dosages, and Apoquel is no exception. Be sure to provide your vet with your dog’s full medical history in order to determine the best regimen for your dog.

Apoquel 16MG | 5.4 MG | 3.6 MG

The standard Apoquel dose requires two tablets to be taken daily, every twelve hours. The tablets come in three strengths (3.6 mg, 5.4 mg, and 16mg) and are selected based on your dog’s weight. The appropriate regime can last for up to 14 days, and often your vet will recommend you decrease the dose to once daily after 14 days. Consequently, taking Apoquel for longer than 14 days is not approved by the FDA. Cue the big red flag. Apoquel has been found to weaken the immune system is administered for more than 14 days.

Apoquel Side Effects for Dogs

Every prescription drug on the market comes with a list of possible side-effects. However, in the case of Apoquel, any potential side-effects are far more dangerous than the average drug. Due to the immune-suppressing quality of Apoquel, your dog’s body is less prepared to fight possible adverse reactions. This leaves your beloved dog virtually defenseless against infection. Known side-effects of Apoquel include, but are not limited to:

  • Demodicosis (mange)Increased Aggression in Dogs who take Apoquel for Dogs
  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Ear infection
  • Histiocytomas (benign tumors)
  • Increased aggression
  • Skin infection
  • Bloody diarrhea and vomit
  • Reduced leukocytes (a blood cell that helps fight disease)

Most alarmingly, an Apoquel overdose can lead to death. Hence, if your dog is showing any signs of an adverse reaction, it is crucial that you seek immediate medical attention. If you have any other questions about Apoqeul for dogs, the linked article can answer them.

Other Anti-Itch Medications for Dogs

Considering canine allergies are relatively common, you have a few medical alternatives to Apoquel.

Zyrtec for Dogs

If you, like 50 million other Americans, suffer from allergies, you have probably heard of Zyrtec. A second-generation antihistamine, Zyrtec (aka acetirizine hydrochloride), is commonly recommended for humans with allergies. However, it has become commonplace for vets to prescribe it for the treatment of canine allergies.

Most studies have found Zyrtec to be practically harmless in canines when administered in the appropriate doses. However, antihistamines, in general, have only been proven to work in 30% of the dogs taking them. Furthermore, 25% of those dogs were found to have suffered the following side-effects:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Urine retention
  • Excessive salivation

Additionally, antihistamines are not a cure for canine allergies. They simply alleviate the symptoms, while the underlying cause remains untreated.

Hydroxyzine for Dogs

Like Zyrtec, Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine often recommended by veterinarians to treat allergy symptoms in dogs. However, Hydroxyzine is not FDA approved for veterinary use. The drug is also commonly used to treat nausea and anxiety. Hydroxyzine blocks histamines caused by allergies and depresses the central nervous system to control anxiety. Consequently, Hydroxyzine has a highly sedative quality in dogs. Other common side-effects include:

  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble urinating
  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excitability

Furthermore, dogs suffering from glaucoma, lung or heart disease, high blood pressure, or an enlarged prostate shouldn’t take Hydroxyzine. As with any medication, be sure to provide your vet with your pet’s full medical history before introducing any new drugs.

Prescription Medication: A Word of Warning

As you can see, prescription allergy relief comes with a lot of risks. Considering antihistamines are often not even effective on dogs, we do not think they are worth the risk. Fortunately, we live in a time where holistic wellness is thriving.

Apoquel Alternatives

A homeopathic approach to wellness is becoming more and more commonplace in today’s society. Research is constantly surfacing with new and effective ways to naturally treat your pup’s ailments.

CBD for Dogs

You have likely heard of CBD oil and it’s impressive benefits for humans, but did you know it is rapidly growing in popularity for dogs as well? If you are unfamiliar with CBD, we are very excited to be the ones to tell you about it! CBD for dogs not only treats an impressive array of ailments, but it can also actually prevent new issues from arising.

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain cbd oil for dogs

What is CBD Oil?

The so-called “miracle herb” CBD (aka cannabidiol), is an oil derived from the hemp plant. A member of the cannabis species, the hemp plant is commonly used in food, fuel, and fabrics. You likely did a double take when you read “cannabis” and immediately thought of it’s more infamous species, marijuana. Rest assured, we are not trying to get Fido “high”. While CBD and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family, CBD does not have the same psychoactive properties marijuana is known for. Marijuana has 20% THC and CBD, at most, only has .3% THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is what gives people the feeling of being “high”. Therefore, CBD oil is perfectly safe to give your four-legged best friend.

CBD Oil for Dog Allergies

Allergic reactions, like many ailments, happen when the immune system is not functioning at an optimal level. The health of your pet’s immune system is a direct result of genetics and environment. Fortunately, CBD oil promotes optimal cellular interactions, thus repairing and restoring the entire body. By maintaining biological pathways through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), CBD oil acts as an immunity booster, effectively preventing allergies and other common ailments.

Should your pet already be suffering from allergies, CBD oil can help treat the symptoms and prevent them from happening again. CBD oil curbs inflammation associated with dermatitis and calms the itchy feeling your pet is struggling with.

Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs

Allergy relief is only one of many benefits pet owners have seen in their dogs when incorporating CBD into their healthy lifestyle. Research is surfacing daily singing the praises of CBD oil for dogs, promising treatment of pre-existing conditions and preventative care. Some proven benefits include:

  • Anxiety relieve
  • Treatment of seizures and epilepsy
  • Easing pain
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Relief from cancer treatment
  • Blocking the growth of tumors (effectively preventing cancer)
  • Preventing disease

That is only the beginning! The list of benefits using CBD Oil for dogs goes on.

Where to get CBD for Dogs

Now that you are sufficiently interested in using CBD oil to heal your ailing pup – where can you find this miracle cure? Lucky for you and your four-legged friend, CBD oil for dogs is incredibly popular, so you have a number of choices. Our favorite brand is Honest Paws because all of their amazing CBD products are soy-free, lab-tested, and all-natural. We recommend incorporating CBD into your pups daily life to promote overall wellness. With Honest Paws, you are able to choose products for specific ailments, leaving you confident your beloved dog is getting the relief he or she needs. For allergy relief, we suggest using the Restore Dog Treats.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Allergy Reliefapple cider vinegar for dogs

The anti-microbial properties of apple cider vinegar can naturally treat your dog’s pesky allergy induced itching! Simply mix equal parts water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and wash your pet’s paws with the solution. This will help prevent your dog from spreading the allergens caught in their paw pads when they scratch. While apple cider vinegar is a great method to ease the symptoms of allergies, it is not an effective measure for curing the issue.

Oatmeal for Dogs

You have probably heard the phrase “oatmeal bath” when it comes dealing with itchy pups. Oatmeal is more than just a tasty breakfast, it also an easy and affordable way to comfort your allergy laden dog. Traditional pet shampoo will irritate the itchy skin further due to the chemicals in the solution. On the other hand, an oatmeal bath with sooth the skin and leave a nice shiny coat.

DIY Oatmeal Bath

Blend one cup of plain, organic oatmeal until it is a smooth powder. Be sure to stay away from flavored or sugary oatmeal commonly sold at your local grocery store. Mix the powder with coconut oil until you get a shampoo-like texture. Finally, lather your pup with your homemade oatmeal bath and warm water. Repeat daily as needed.

Aloe Vera for Dogs

You yourself have likely used Aloe Vera to treat a sunburn. Aloe Vera has cooling anti-inflammatory properties and helps prevent the growth and spreading of bacteria. Interestingly enough, you can apply it directly to your itchy pup for some topical allergy relief.

Aloe Vera is perfectly safe for your dog, but you have to buy a saponin-free brand. Saponins are the yellow-orange parts of the aloe vera leaf and they act as a laxative in dogs. So be sure to look out for “saponins” on the ingredient list, and steer clear of aloe vera’s that include them. Additionally, keep in mind that aloe vera will only ease the symptoms of allergies, not actually cure the cause of them.

Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

Another holistic vet favorite for allergies is Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. Furthermore, this amazing oil treats more than just allergies. Benefits of incorporating wild Alaskan salmon oil into your dog’s diet include:

  • Promotes heart health – rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty acids
  • Joint support – acts as a natural anti-inflammatory to comfort achy joints
  • Helps relieve dry, itchy skin
  • Promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat
  • Treats seasonal allergies – soothes itching, stops a runny nose, prevents allergy irritants

Salmon oil is a tasty treat that can be added directly onto your pet’s preferred healthy meal.

Colostrum for Dogs

Found in all mammal mother’s milk, Colostrum plays a vital role in developing newborn’s immune systems. Consequently, research shows that bovine Colostrum (extracted cows milk) can work wonders in adults, as well as dogs. Furthermore, containing the ingredient praline-rich polypeptide (PRP), Colostrum is known to improve or even eliminate allergy symptoms. PRP is an antihistamine that helps block allergy triggers (histamines). Together with its immunity-boosting powers, Colostrum is a lovely homeopathic choice to treat your ailing furry friend.

Colostrum comes in the form of a powder capsule, and if most effective when administered on an empty stomach. The exact dosage will vary depending on the size of your puppy pal.

Quercetin for Dogs

Often called “Nature’s Benedryl”, Quercetin reduces histamine production and calms symptoms of itching and skin inflammation. Quercetin is a flavonoid (a group of phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables) that is famous for its antioxidant qualities.

You can find quercetin naturally in foods like green tea, apples, and broccoli.  As a result, feeding these foods to your ailing dog can be helpful. However, to be most effective in treating allergies, quercetin can be administered in a more concentrated form, such as a supplement. Similar to colostrum, quercetin is best given on an empty stomach. Dosage will vary with your dog’s size, and be sure to check with your vet before trying anything new.

Sprouted Seeds and a Healthy Gut

Finally, a healthy immune system starts with a healthy gut. Utilizing prebiotic and probiotic foods in your dog’s diet will help balance bacteria levels internally and control allergies. There are many ways to approach this diet, but a popular choice is with sprouted seeds. Containing highly bioavailable vitamins, enzymes, and probiotics, sprouted seeds are highly effective in supporting your dog’s healthy gut flora.

You can work sprouted seeds easily into your dog’s daily diet. Simply start with one tablespoon and work your way up to one tablespoon per ten pounds.

Apoquel for Dogs: Bottom Line

The facts are clear, like with all prescription medications, using Apoquel for dogs is not without risks. Fortunately, now you have the information you need to make an informed decision about how to treat your beloved fur baby’s allergies. You may choose a prescription medication riddled with side-effects, or opt for a more holistic approach. Whichever path you choose, be sure to consult your vet before incorporating anything new into your pet’s diet.



The #1 Guide to Home Remedies for Dog Allergies

CBD Oil for Dogs: A One Stop Guide for Holistic Pet Parents [Must Read]




Top 10 Allergy Fixes For Dogs

CBD Dogs Allergies

Hydroxyzine For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, And Side Effects

Side Effects of Zyrtec for Dogs