Apoquel vs Benadryl for Dogs?

Benadryl and Apoquel are both popular medications that can be used to control itching due to allergies in dogs. In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between these two medications.

Apoquel vs Benadryl for Dogs

Benadryl vs Apoquel

Purpose: Apoquel is a medication used to treat itching and inflammation caused by skin allergies in dogs, while Benadryl is an antihistamine used to treat allergic reactions and to reduce symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose.

Dosage: The recommended dosage for Apoquel varies depending on the weight of the dog, with the typical range being 0.18 to 0.27 mg/lb. Benadryl, on the other hand, is typically administered at a dosage of 1 mg/lb, given two or three times a day.

Side Effects: Apoquel may cause side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite in some dogs. Benadryl may cause drowsiness, dry mouth, and dizziness in some dogs.

Duration of Effect: Apoquel begins to work within a few hours of administration, and the effects can last for up to 24 hours. The effects of Benadryl last for 4-6 hours

Cost: The cost of Apoquel can vary depending on the size of the package and the pharmacy, but it is typically more expensive than Benadryl.

Need of Prescription: Apoquel is available by prescription only, while Benadryl is available over the counter.

Long-term use: While Apoquel is approved for long-term use, it’s important to monitor your dog for potential side effects and to work with your veterinarian to adjust the dosage as needed. Benadryl, on the other hand, is not typically recommended for long-term use.

Interaction with other medications: Apoquel should not be used in dogs that are taking other immunosuppressive drugs, as this could increase the risk of infections. Benadryl can interact with other medications such as sedatives, tranquilizers, and antidepressants, so it’s important to inform your vet of all medications your dog is currently taking before starting treatment.

Not all dogs will respond to Apoquel and Benadryl in the same way, and it’s important to consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any medication. Additionally, it’s also always best to follow the specific dosage and frequency instructions provided by your vet.

Benadryl for dogs reviews


  • Benadryl is a commonly used antihistamine that can help alleviate symptoms of allergies, such as itching, sneezing, and runny nose.
  • It is also used to treat anxiety and motion sickness in dogs.
  • Benadryl is generally safe and well-tolerated by dogs, and is available over-the-counter.


  • Some dogs may experience drowsiness or sedation as a side effect of taking Benadryl.
  • The dosage recommended for dogs may be different from the dosage for humans, so it is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully.
  • Long-term use of Benadryl can result in a dependency on the drug and should be avoided if possible.

Side Effects:

  • Common side effects of Benadryl in dogs include drowsiness, dry mouth, and gastrointestinal upset.
  • In rare cases, Benadryl can cause more serious side effects such as difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, and tremors.
  • If you notice any concerning side effects, contact your veterinarian immediately.


  • Benadryl is considered safe for use in dogs when used as directed.
  • However, an overdose of Benadryl can be harmful and potentially fatal.
  • Keep the medication out of reach of children and pets and follow your veterinarian’s dosage instructions closely.

Drug Interactions:

  • Benadryl can interact with other medications, particularly those that also cause drowsiness.
  • Be sure to inform your veterinarian of any other medications your dog is currently taking before starting treatment with Benadryl.


  • Benadryl should not be used in dogs with a history of heart disease or hypertension.
  • It should also be avoided in dogs that are pregnant or lactating.

Research and Study:

  • There have been a number of studies on the safety and efficacy of Benadryl in dogs.
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that Benadryl was effective in reducing symptoms of allergic reactions in dogs.
  • Another study published in the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that Benadryl was effective in reducing symptoms of motion sickness in dogs.

Overall, Benadryl is a safe and effective option for treating a variety of conditions in dogs, but it is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely and to be aware of potential side effects and contraindications. If you have any concerns, be sure to contact your veterinarian.

Apoquel for dogs reviews


  • Apoquel is a highly effective treatment for atopic dermatitis, a common skin condition characterized by itching, redness, and inflammation. It works by blocking certain chemical receptors in the body that contribute to the symptoms of the condition.
  • Apoquel starts to work quickly, with many dogs experiencing significant improvement in their symptoms within 24-48 hours of starting treatment.
  • The drug is available in tablet form and is easy to administer to dogs.


  • Apoquel is a relatively new drug and there are still many unknowns about its long-term safety and effectiveness. Some experts recommend using it only as a last resort after other treatment options have failed.
  • The drug can have serious side effects, including increased risk of infection, increased risk of cancer, and increased risk of liver damage.
  • Apoquel can interact with other medications, so it is important to inform your vet of all medications your dog is taking before starting treatment with Apoquel.

Side Effects:

  • Some of the most common side effects of Apoquel include increased appetite, increased thirst, and increased urination.
  • More serious side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and decreased activity levels.
  • In rare cases, Apoquel can cause serious side effects like organ damage and cancer.


  • Apoquel is not considered toxic when used at the recommended dosage.
  • However, if your dog accidentally ingests too much of the drug, it can cause serious side effects.

Drug Interactions:

  • Apoquel can interact with other medications, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroidal medications.
  • Always inform your vet of all medications your dog is taking before starting treatment with Apoquel.


  • Apoquel is not recommended for dogs with certain health conditions, including cancer, liver disease, and immune-mediated disorders.
  • Dogs who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Apoquel.

Research and Study:

  • Apoquel has been extensively researched and studied, with multiple clinical trials showing its effectiveness in treating atopic dermatitis in dogs.
  • Despite this, there is still much that is unknown about the long-term safety and effectiveness of the drug, and further research is ongoing.

It is important to consult with a veterinarian before administering any drug to a dog. The above content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Can I buy Apoquel without a vet’s prescription?

It is illegal to purchase Apoquel without a veterinarian’s prescription. Apoquel is a prescription medication that is used to treat allergies in dogs and should only be used under the guidance and supervision of a veterinarian. It is important to have a proper diagnosis and treatment plan from a veterinarian before administering any medication to your dog.

Additionally, buying prescription medications from sources other than a licensed pharmacy or veterinarian can be dangerous as the medication may be counterfeit or not stored properly. It is important to always follow the guidance of your veterinarian and obtain medications through the proper channels to ensure the safety and effectiveness of treatment for your pet.

What can I put on my dog to relieve itching?

If your dog is itching and scratching a lot, it’s never a bad idea to have some itch remedies.

  1. YuDERM Itching Dog| Itchy or Sensitive Skin Supplement for Dogs Prone to Scratching
  2. Leucillin Natural Antiseptic Spray | Antibacterial, Antifungal & Antiviral
  3. Vetericyn Wound and Skincare – Liquid Spray
  4. Pro Pooch Itchy Skin Dog Balm – For Dogs with Sensitive Skin – Helps Relieve Itching & Symptoms of Other Dry Skin Conditions
  5. Cooper & Gracie First Aid Antibacterial Itchy Skin Cream
  6. Anicura Natural Dog Gel Ointment for dry & itchy skin, hot spots, eczema & skin allergies
  7. Dog Skin Balm for Itchy Skin – Natural and Organic Ointment for Dogs – Itchy Dog Balm Safe for Licking
  8. Colloidal Silver Antiseptic Spray All-in-1 Treatment: Dogs & Cats – Skin Issues Relief (Itchy, Allergy, hotspot, Yeast, Dry)
  9. Petnat Dermacton Cream for ITCHY Dogs – Professionally recommended for itching & hair loss
  10. Davis Hydrocortisone Spray Pets

If your dog’s itching persists or is severe, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and get proper treatment.

Conclusion of Benadryl vs Apoquel for dogs

Benadryl and Apoquel are both commonly used to treat allergic dermatitis in dogs. However, they work in different ways and have different levels of efficacy.

Benadryl, also known as diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine that blocks the action of histamine, a chemical that is released in response to an allergic reaction. This can help to relieve symptoms of itching and inflammation. However, antihistamines alone may not be effective in treating the underlying cause of allergic dermatitis in dogs, and they can cause drowsiness as a side effect.

Apoquel, on the other hand, is a targeted therapy that works by inhibiting specific steps in the pathway that produces itching and inflammation. It targets JAK enzyme-dependent pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are responsible for the itching and inflammation associated with allergic dermatitis. This medication starts to relieve itch within 4 hours, and can significantly control itch within 24 hours, with continued use it can improve skin lesions. It is also safe for short-term flare-ups or long-term therapy and can be used concurrently with other medications. The most common adverse events are vomiting and diarrhea.

In conclusion, while Benadryl may provide relief of symptoms in some dogs with allergic dermatitis, it may not effectively treat the underlying cause of the condition. Apoquel, on the other hand, targets the specific pathway responsible for the itching and inflammation associated with allergic dermatitis, providing a more effective treatment option. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best treatment option for your dog’s specific condition.


Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to Top