If your dog is suffering from atopic dermatitis, then you probably have tried just about everything to clear up the rash. The worst part is the itchiness of atopic dermatitis makes your pet feel like he is constantly on fire. And even with an antihistamine, it isn’t enough to lessen the itching completely for your dog. It can also be a challenge to get him to take his oral medicine, so you are probably looking for Apoquel alternatives.
Is there an alternative to Apoquel for dogs?
Apoquel is a good anti-allergy treatment for dogs, but there are at least 4 other options out there.
1. Allergy shots
Allergy shots, or allergen-specific immunotherapy, are injections given to dogs with allergies such as flea dermatitis, food allergies or intolerances, environmental or atopic dermatitis. These shots are given in small doses under the skin and increased slowly over time. The treatment is designed to alter the dog’s immune response to those allergens so that their allergic reactions are less severe.
Cytopoint injection is another alternative that can help manage the symptoms of an allergic reaction. It is one of the most common medications prescribed for mild allergic reactions as they target inflamed tissue and reduce the feelings of itchiness under the skin. This stops the dog from scratching and prevents skin damage, sores, and hair loss.
Atopica® is the FDA-approved prescription oral drug for the management of canine atopic dermatitis (canine atopic allergy, canine atopy) in dogs. It relieves itching and redness caused by allergic reactions and other skin diseases, making it easier for your pet to enjoy activities and sleep through the night.
4. Over-the-counter drugs
Many people use over-the-counter drugs to treat atopic dermatitis in dogs. This type of medication will temporarily ease symptoms, while also preventing inflammation from flaring up. The most common medications are antihistamines, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants.
The main alternative to Apoquel for dogs is Benadryl. Benadryl, or diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine that works to treat runny noses and other allergic reactions in people and animals. While not an actual allergy medication, it can be used to treat allergic reactions caused by pollen and other allergens. It does work to treat itching on its own, but should ideally be combined with another medication for the best results.
Other alternatives include trying a corticosteroid like prednisone or dexamethasone as well as an immune modulator like cyclosporin. These medications have different effects on the body and carry their own set of side effects, so they should be used only after consulting a veterinarian.
The last alternative is to try over-the-counter antihistamines like Claritin or Zyrtec that are available at your local pharmacy without a prescription. These medications do have some side effects such as drowsiness and may not fully relieve itching, but they’re effective when used correctly.
Is Apoquel safe for dogs?
Treatment such as Apoquel will not cure your dog’s allergies, but it can help control the symptoms. There is no magic cure for allergies but there are ways to manage them successfully. If you are unhappy with your current medication, you should speak with your veterinarian about switching or adding pills to the regimen.
Apoquel comes in tablet form, with each tablet containing 3.6mg, 5.4mg, or 16mg of Apoquel. It should be given with or without food, depending on the dog’s preference and tolerance to the medication. Dogs typically show signs of improvement within 4 hours of starting treatment with Apoquel.
The drug has a list of potential side effects, including drowsiness, vomiting, restlessness, and loss of appetite. However, these side effects are rare in dogs who take Apoquel; most experience no adverse reactions at all.
Apoquel vs Cytopoint
Cytopoint is more popular than Apoquel for owners with dogs that refuse to take oral medication. Additionally, Cytopoint injections are given once every 4-6 weeks, whereas Apoquel tablets must be given every day or every other day.
In situations where dogs are fearful of visits to the vet, Apoquel is a much better solution. It may be difficult trying to get a dog to take a daily tablet, but frequent vet visits can be much more stressful.
Apoquel tablets are small enough that they can be hidden in a treat or mixed into the dog’s normal food. Some owners find it easier to use a pill tool, especially if their dog is good at finding a hidden medication or refuses food.
The benefit of giving these types of allergy medicine is that they provide effective, short-term relief from symptoms such as itchy or dry skin, which can cause stress and discomfort to the dog.
The downside is that these medications must be given every few weeks until the cause of the allergic reaction is dealt with, otherwise, the symptoms will keep returning and further flare-ups may be more severe.
How much does a dog allergy shot cost?
A dog allergy shot costs $150 to start and then will cost about $140 for subsequent injections (given every 6 months). Allergy shots are the only treatment that works well for most dogs. If you can afford an allergy shot, it’s well worth it if your dog is suffering.
Can I give my dog an allergy shot at home?
Yes, short-term allergy shots such as Cytopoint can be given at home and dosing is easy to calculate. If your dog is receiving more intense immunotherapy shots, this is done at a veterinary clinic by a licensed professional.
Positive reviews of Apoquel
Most pet owners who have used Apoquel report positive experiences. A majority of reviewers on Chewy.com rate Apoquel 4.5 stars or above, and most say their pets have experienced relief from severe itching within 12 hours of taking the drug. Some people say Apoquel works even better than steroids and antihistamines. Most reviewers say their dogs experience no side effects while taking Apoquel, although some do report gastrointestinal upset or lethargy.
“I have been using Apoquel for about 3 weeks, and I must say that I am very happy with the results so far. My dog is a small pitbull mix. She has been dealing with severe allergies for a number of years now, and her skin is always dry and she is constantly scratching. We have tried many other drugs including steroids, but nothing has worked as well as Apoquel. On the first day that we gave her the drug her itching was greatly reduced. After about a week, her scratching was completely gone! Her skin still looked red and scabby but it was no longer irritating her. The only side effect that we noticed is that she became slightly more hungry than usual.”
“I’ve been using Apoquel for 2 months now and it is, by far, the best allergy medication I’ve tried for my dog. I was a little concerned about some of the side effects that other reviewers have mentioned, however, I have not experienced any of these with my dog. I am extremely impressed with this drug and would highly recommend it to anyone who is frustrated with the lack of success they may be experiencing with other allergy medications.”
“My dog had constant itching and scratching. After taking Apoquel, she is a happy dog again.”
“I’ve tried everything on the market and nothing has worked until now. I’m just so pleased my baby is no longer in pain and suffering.”
Conclusion of Apoquel alternatives for dogs
Apoquel is a drug that targets and blocks specific immune system mediators that contribute to itchiness and inflammation in dogs. It is only available by prescription.
For some dogs, Apoquel is a wonder drug. For others, it’s not worth the side effects. As with any medication, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits before prescribing a new drug. For most dogs who suffer from allergies, the benefits of Apoquel outweigh the risks.
Apoquel isn’t a cure-all. It’s not right for all dogs, in the same way, that Benadryl or prednisone isn’t right for all dogs. If your vet prescribes Apoquel for your dog, you should know that there are risks. But if you’re already at the point where your dog is suffering from itching and scratching and nothing else is working, it’s probably worth trying.