What is a Good Substitute for Apoquel?

Here are a few alternatives to Apoquel, a medication commonly used to treat itching and inflammation in dogs:

Cytopoint

This medication is a monoclonal antibody that targets a specific protein involved in the inflammatory response, making it a more targeted treatment option. It is administered via injection and can provide relief for up to 8 weeks.

Pros:

  • Cytopoint targets specific cytokines that are responsible for causing itching in dogs, rather than suppressing the entire immune system like Apoquel. This means that it may have fewer side effects and be safer for long-term use.
  • Clinical studies have shown that Cytopoint can provide relief from itching for up to 8 weeks, making it a more convenient option for pet owners.
  • Cytopoint is given as an injection, rather than a pill, which may be easier for some dogs to tolerate.

Cons:

  • Cytopoint is a newer medication and may not be available at all veterinary clinics.
  • The cost of Cytopoint may be higher than Apoquel.
  • Some dogs may still require additional medications or supplements to manage their itching, even with the use of Cytopoint.

Omega-3 fatty acids

These essential fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce itching and inflammation in dogs. They can also improve overall skin and coat health.

Pros:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties which can help to reduce itching and inflammation in dogs.
  • These fatty acids are found in fish oil and other natural sources, which may be more appealing to some pet owners than using a prescription medication.
  • They have been shown to have other potential health benefits such as improving cognitive function, cardiovascular health, and reducing the risk of certain cancers.

Cons:

  • The effectiveness of Omega-3 fatty acids as a substitute for Apoquel may vary depending on the individual dog and the severity of their condition.
  • It may take longer for the fatty acids to take effect compared to Apoquel, which is a rapid-acting medication.
  • High doses of Omega-3 fatty acids can cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and fishy burps.

Topical treatments

There are a variety of topical treatments available, such as shampoos, sprays, and creams, that can provide relief from itching and inflammation. Some popular ingredients include oatmeal, aloe vera, and hydrocortisone.

  1. Hydrocortisone Cream: This medication is a mild steroid that can help reduce inflammation and itching. It is available over-the-counter and can be found at most pet stores or online.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids: These essential fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce itching and inflammation. They can be found in supplements, such as fish oil, or in certain types of food, such as flaxseed.
  3. Colloidal Oatmeal: Colloidal oatmeal is a popular ingredient in many pet shampoos and conditioners. It has been shown to soothe irritated skin and reduce itching. It can also be found in topical creams and sprays.
  4. Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help soothe irritated skin. It can be found in a variety of products, such as gels, creams, and sprays.
  5. Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. It can be found in supplements and topical creams.

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that can help to balance the gut microbiome and improve overall health. They can be found in supplements, fermented foods, and even in many dog foods. Some of the benefits of using probiotics as a substitute for Apoquel include:

  • Improved gut health: Probiotics can help to improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system, all of which can contribute to better skin health.
  • Natural alternative: Probiotics are a natural alternative to medication and are generally considered safe for long-term use.
  • Cost-effective: Probiotics are typically less expensive than Apoquel and other medications, making them a more affordable option for some pet owners.

However, there are also some potential downsides to using probiotics as a substitute for Apoquel. Some of the cons include:

  • Lack of research: There is currently limited research on the effectiveness of probiotics in treating skin allergies in dogs, so it may not be as effective as Apoquel in some cases.
  • Individual response: Every dog is different, and some may not respond well to probiotics as a substitute for Apoquel. It may take some trial and error to find the right probiotic for your pet.
  • Risk of overgrowth: Probiotics can overgrow in the gut, leading to health problems such as diarrhea or gas. It is important to monitor your dog’s health and adjust the dosage accordingly.

Herbal supplements

Certain herbs, such as turmeric, quercetin, and bromelain, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce itching and inflammation. These herbs can be given as supplements or added to a dog’s food.

Pros:

  • Herbal supplements can be a natural alternative to traditional medications, which may have fewer side effects.
  • Many herbal supplements have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help reduce itching and inflammation in pets.
  • Some herbal supplements, such as turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to be effective in reducing itching and inflammation in dogs and cats in studies.

Cons:

  • Herbal supplements may not be as effective as traditional medications, such as Apoquel, in treating severe cases of itching and inflammation.
  • Some herbal supplements can interact with other medications your pet may be taking, so it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before starting any new supplement.
  • The quality and dosage of herbal supplements can vary greatly, so it’s important to use a reputable brand and follow the recommended dosage for your pet.

Antihistamines

Some antihistamines are available over-the-counter and can be used to help relieve itching and inflammation. Diphenhydramine and cetirizine are examples of these types of antihistamines.

Pros:

  • Antihistamines can be effective in reducing itching and inflammation caused by allergic reactions.
  • They are widely available over the counter and can be taken orally or applied topically.
  • They have a relatively low risk of side effects compared to Apoquel.
  • They are generally considered safe for long-term use.

Cons:

  • Antihistamines may not be as effective as Apoquel in controlling severe cases of itching and inflammation.
  • They can cause drowsiness in some individuals, which can be problematic for pets that need to be active during the day.
  • Some antihistamines can interact with other medications, so it is important to consult with a veterinarian before administering them.
  • They may not be suitable for pets with certain health conditions, such as glaucoma or urinary incontinence.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe irritated skin. It can be applied topically to the affected areas or added to a dog’s food as a supplement.

Pros:

  • Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, which can help to reduce itching and inflammation in dogs.
  • It is also a natural antifungal and antibacterial, which can help to prevent and treat skin infections.
  • Coconut oil is readily available and inexpensive, making it a cost-effective alternative to Apoquel.
  • It is easy to apply, as it can be massaged directly onto the skin or added to food.

Cons:

  • Coconut oil may not be as effective as Apoquel in treating severe itching and inflammation.
  • It may not be suitable for dogs with certain medical conditions or allergies, as it can cause digestive upset in some cases.
  • There is a lack of scientific research specifically on the use of coconut oil as a substitute for Apoquel, which means that it is not fully understood how it compares in effectiveness.
  • It may not be as convenient as Apoquel, as it requires regular application and monitoring of the dog’s skin condition.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera has soothing and moisturizing properties that can help reduce itching and inflammation. It can be applied topically in the form of a gel or cream.

Pros:

  • Aloe vera has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce itching and redness caused by skin irritations.
  • It is a natural and non-toxic alternative to traditional medications like Apoquel.
  • Aloe vera can also moisturize the skin and promote healing of damaged tissues.

Cons:

  • Some dogs may be allergic to the plant, so it is important to test a small area of skin before applying it all over the body.
  • Aloe vera may not be as effective in treating severe cases of skin conditions compared to Apoquel.
  • It may also be more difficult to administer as it needs to be applied topically rather than given orally.

Calendula

Calendula is a herb that has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It can be applied topically in the form of a cream or ointment, or given as a supplement.

Pros:

  • Calendula is a natural herb that has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, making it a good option for treating skin conditions such as itching, redness, and irritation.
  • It is relatively safe to use, with few reported side effects.
  • Calendula can also be used in conjunction with other treatments, making it a versatile option for managing skin conditions.

Cons:

  • Calendula may not be as effective as Apoquel for severe cases of skin conditions, and may not provide the same level of relief.
  • It may take longer to see results with Calendula as compared to Apoquel.
  • The availability of Calendula products may be limited, making it harder to find in some areas.

Diatomaceous earth

This natural powder is made from fossilized algae and can be used as a natural flea and tick repellent. It can also help reduce itching and inflammation caused by parasite infestations.

Pros:

  • Diatomaceous earth is a natural product that is derived from the fossilized remains of algae.
  • It is relatively inexpensive and widely available.
  • Some studies have shown that diatomaceous earth can be effective in reducing itching and inflammation in dogs.
  • It is considered safe to use, with minimal side effects reported.
  • It can be used in conjunction with other treatments or medications.

Cons:

  • The effectiveness of diatomaceous earth may vary depending on the individual dog and the severity of their condition.
  • It may not be as effective as Apoquel in controlling itching and inflammation.
  • It may take longer to see results with diatomaceous earth compared to Apoquel.
  • It is not recommended for use on open wounds or in areas with hair loss as it can be abrasive.

Honey

Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help reduce itching and inflammation. It can be applied topically in the form of a honey mask or added to a dog’s food as a supplement.

Pros:

  • Natural and non-toxic: Honey is a natural substance that is non-toxic to dogs and can be safely consumed.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Honey contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce itching and inflammation caused by skin allergies.
  • Antibacterial properties: Honey also contains antibacterial properties, which can help to prevent bacterial infections from developing on the skin.
  • Moisturizing properties: Honey can also help to moisturize the skin, which can help to reduce dryness and flaking caused by skin allergies.

Cons:

  1. Limited effectiveness: While honey can provide some relief from skin allergies, it may not be as effective as Apoquel in treating severe cases.
  2. Risk of contamination: Raw honey can contain bacteria and other contaminants, which can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large amounts.
  3. Risk of allergic reactions: Some dogs may be allergic to honey, which can cause symptoms such as itching, hives, and difficulty breathing.
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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.

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