Does Apoquel Make Dogs Sleepy?

Before we tackle the question of sleepiness, it’s important to understand what Apoquel is and how it works. Developed by Zoetis, Apoquel is an immunosuppressive drug that helps control pruritus (itching) associated with allergic dermatitis and control the clinical manifestations of atopic dermatitis in dogs.

It targets the specific enzymes responsible for itch and inflammation in dogs, offering rapid relief from itching without many of the side effects typically associated with steroids. It’s been hailed as a game-changer in the pet world for its effectiveness in handling stubborn allergies.

Does Apoquel Make Dogs Sleepy?

Contrary to what you might find in some forums, lethargy or sleepiness isn’t listed as a common side effect of Apoquel. The drug’s most common side effects, according to Zoetis, include vomiting and diarrhea. However, every dog is different, and their bodies can react to medication in varying ways.

In some rare instances, dog owners have reported their pets seeming a bit more lethargic or sleepy after starting Apoquel. That said, it’s crucial to understand that this could be due to numerous other factors unrelated to Apoquel. If your dog seems excessively tired or lethargic after starting any new medication, it’s always best to consult your vet to rule out other potential health issues.

Observing Your Dog’s Behavior

If you’re giving Apoquel to your dog and notice a change in their sleep patterns or behavior, it’s crucial to observe and document these changes. Is your dog sleeping more during the day? Have their eating habits changed? Are they less playful or active? All these factors can help your vet understand what’s going on and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.

It’s worth noting that if your dog was previously suffering from severe itching, the relief provided by Apoquel might result in your dog catching up on lost sleep, which could be mistaken for drowsiness or lethargy.

Ensuring Your Dog’s Well-being

Remember that while Apoquel is a generally safe and effective medication for managing dog allergies, it is not devoid of potential side effects. Regular check-ups and blood tests can help monitor your pet’s health while on Apoquel. If you observe any concerning changes in your dog’s behavior or overall health, it’s crucial to contact your vet immediately.

How Should I Respond to My Dog’s Lethargy?

If you notice your dog becoming lethargic or excessively sleepy after starting Apoquel, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian. It’s important to differentiate between normal sleepiness and lethargy – while the former is a healthy part of a dog’s life, the latter could be a sign of an underlying health issue.

Your vet can help determine whether the sleepiness is a side effect of Apoquel or due to another cause such as a different health problem, changes in diet, or changes in routine or environment.

Alternatives to Apoquel: Are There Any Options?

If you’re worried about the potential side effects of Apoquel, or if your dog doesn’t seem to respond well to it, there are alternatives available. These include other medications like steroids and cyclosporine, as well as non-drug alternatives like diet modification, hypoallergenic shampoos, or other allergy control measures.

When Should Apoquel be Administered?

Typically, Apoquel is given to dogs twice daily for the initial 14 days of treatment, followed by a once-daily dosage. Whether it is administered in the morning or evening doesn’t generally impact its efficacy. However, if you observe any specific patterns related to your dog’s response to the medication at different times of the day, it might be worth discussing this with your vet. Consistency is key, so choose a time that suits your routine and stick with it.

Long-Term Side Effects of Apoquel

The long-term use of Apoquel can occasionally result in side effects. These might include increased susceptibility to infections, development of skin tumors, or alterations in blood parameters. It’s important to have regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your dog’s health while on Apoquel. If your vet detects any issues, they may suggest alternative treatment methods.

Does Apoquel Have an Immediate Effect?

Many dog owners report seeing improvements in their dog’s condition within 4-24 hours of administering the first dose of Apoquel. This is because the medication is designed to rapidly inhibit the signaling pathway that triggers itching.

Can I Suddenly Stop Giving My Dog Apoquel?

Abruptly discontinuing Apoquel is not recommended as it could lead to a resurgence of your dog’s allergy symptoms. If you’re concerned about the drug’s impact or if you wish to explore alternatives, it’s best to consult with your vet. They might suggest a gradual dosage reduction or other protocols to help transition your dog off Apoquel safely.

Apoquel Interactions with Other Medications

Apoquel has no known severe interactions with other commonly prescribed veterinary drugs. Nonetheless, it’s always essential to inform your vet about any other medications, supplements, or over-the-counter drugs your dog is currently taking. This precaution allows them to consider potential interactions or cumulative effects.

Apoquel and Food: Does It Make a Difference?

Apoquel can be administered with or without food. Giving medication with food can often help with palatability and reduce the chance of gastrointestinal upset. If your dog is a picky eater or has been experiencing changes in appetite, it might be beneficial to administer Apoquel along with a meal or a treat.

Can Apoquel Cause Changes in My Dog’s Stool?

Some dogs on Apoquel may experience gastrointestinal effects, including changes in stool consistency or color. Dark stool, in particular, may be indicative of gastrointestinal bleeding. If you observe any significant changes, it’s crucial to contact your vet immediately.

Is Apoquel Safe for Dogs in the Long Term?

Apoquel has been extensively tested for its safety in dogs. In fact, in many clinical trials, dogs have been treated with Apoquel for over two years without significant safety concerns. However, like any medication, the potential for side effects exists, particularly with long-term use. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to monitor your dog’s health and ensure any potential side effects are promptly addressed.

Behavioral Changes Associated with Apoquel

While Apoquel’s main job is to reduce itching and inflammation, some dog owners have reported observing behavioral changes in their dogs after starting the medication. While these changes are typically minor and not a cause for concern, any noticeable shift in your dog’s behavior should be discussed with your veterinarian to rule out any possible adverse reactions.

Can I Use Apoquel for My Puppy?

The use of Apoquel is approved for dogs that are at least 12 months old. The drug’s safety and effectiveness in puppies under one year of age have not been thoroughly studied. Therefore, it’s recommended to explore other treatment options for puppies experiencing allergies or skin issues.

Are There Any Contraindications to Using Apoquel?

Dogs with serious infections, dogs that have not been tested for heartworm disease, and dogs that are pregnant, lactating, or intended for breeding are not suitable candidates for Apoquel. Before starting Apoquel, your vet should conduct a thorough medical examination to ensure the drug is a safe and appropriate choice.

Is There a Natural Alternative to Apoquel?

Some dog owners prefer to explore natural or holistic alternatives to pharmaceutical treatments. For allergies, this might involve a change in diet, such as switching to hypoallergenic food or incorporating natural supplements known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Other alternatives might include frequent bathing with hypoallergenic shampoos or maintaining a clean environment to minimize allergens. Consult with your vet before switching to a natural alternative to ensure your dog’s allergy symptoms will be adequately managed.

How to Handle Missed Doses of Apoquel

If you miss giving your dog a dose of Apoquel, give it as soon as you remember. If it’s close to the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to the regular dosing schedule. Don’t double up on doses to compensate for a missed one as it may increase the risk of side effects.

Is Apoquel a Steroid?

No, Apoquel is not a steroid. It’s a type of drug known as a Janus kinase inhibitor, which works by blocking the enzymes responsible for itching and inflammation. This is different from steroids, which reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system.

Should I Monitor My Dog’s Bloodwork While on Apoquel?

Given Apoquel’s impact on the immune system, some veterinarians may recommend periodic blood work to monitor your dog’s overall health and look for any potential side effects. This might include a complete blood count, blood chemistry profile, and urine analysis. Monitoring is especially essential if your dog is taking Apoquel long-term, as it can help detect any adverse effects early and adjust the treatment plan as necessary.

Can Apoquel Be Used Concurrently With Other Allergy Medications?

Apoquel can often be used in conjunction with other allergy treatments such as antihistamines, corticosteroids, and allergy shots. However, this should always be under the direction of a veterinarian as they will need to consider potential interactions and adjust dosages appropriately.

Are There Any Withdrawal Symptoms Associated With Stopping Apoquel?

Unlike some other medications, Apoquel doesn’t typically cause withdrawal symptoms when it’s stopped. However, your dog’s original allergy symptoms (like itching and inflammation) might return once the medication is discontinued. This is because Apoquel treats the symptoms of allergies, not the underlying cause.

Can Apoquel Help With Hot Spots?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are a common skin condition in dogs, often triggered by allergies. Because Apoquel reduces the itch and inflammation associated with allergies, it can often help manage hot spots. However, other treatments, such as medicated shampoos, creams, or antibiotics, might also be necessary.

Is Weight Gain a Side Effect of Apoquel?

Weight gain has not been identified as a common side effect of Apoquel in clinical trials. However, each dog can react differently to medication, and some may experience changes in appetite or metabolism. If you notice significant weight changes in your dog while on Apoquel, it’s worth discussing with your vet.

How Should Apoquel Be Stored?

Apoquel should be stored at controlled room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It should also be kept in a secure location out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

Can I Crush Apoquel Tablets for My Dog?

Apoquel tablets are small and can be given whole or broken along the score line. If your dog struggles with taking pills, you can try hiding the tablet in a treat or a small amount of wet food. It’s advisable not to crush the tablets as this might affect the medication’s effectiveness. Always consult your vet for the best administration method for your pet.

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