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Allergy Shots for Dogs: An Ultimate Guide for Dog Owners

Probiotic Pourover
Do you notice your furry friend scratching lately, sneezing, having hives, or hair loss? These can be potential signs of allergies in dogs, and it’s important to rule out the allergens to provide relief. It can be skin, food, or an acute allergic reaction caused by various allergens. Fortunately, there are amazing allergy shots for dogs that help to relieve the symptoms and even cure the allergy. So, keep reading to learn everything about allergy shots for dogs.

Understanding Allergy Shots for Dogs

Allergy shots, also known as allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT), are a non-drug and very advanced way to deal with dog allergies. Once you find the allergens that are bothering your dog, you can opt for allergy shots. 

This method sometimes also leads to permanent cures and works for long-term relief. The allergy shots process begins with creating an individually-made serum containing small amounts of allergens (proteins against which the pet reacts). Then, this serum is injected into the dog in very small quantities at periodic intervals. As a result, the dog’s immune system deals with the allergen and accepts it.

The serum dose gradually increases until the dog stops reacting negatively to the allergen. It’s a very gradual process that requires vet supervision. But, this method can successfully cure allergies in dogs. It may sound bizarre that injecting the exact allergen into the dog can relieve him. But, in fact, it works and is a very successful method of dealing with dog allergies.

What are the Types of Allergy Shots for Dogs

Here are the types of allergy shots for dogs:

Steroids (glucocorticoids)

Steroids affect the dog’s immune system by decreasing the reaction to allergens. It is the oldest method that helps to treat dog allergies. The steroids like glucocorticoids or corticosteroids are directly given by injection. But, due to its side effects, it has been sidelined and become a rare process.

Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy (ASIT)

Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy (ASIT) is the most common type of allergy shot. However, it would be best if you remembered they are best for dogs’ environmental allergies (atopic dermatitis). After a successful appointment with the vet and narrowing down the allergen, the vet creates a small dose of the allergen. 

This allergen is introduced to the dog’s body gradually over a fixed period. As a result, the dog’s immune system slowly starts to show positive behavior concerning allergens. The ASIT treatment is a non-drug and uses the immune system of dogs to deal with an allergy that may result in a permanent cure. It may take twelve months to recover fully, and positive signs are noticed after the first dose.

Cytopoint Injections

Cytopoints are the newest and very effective types of allergy shots. After successful skin testing, a variety of cytopoint is introduced through painless injection. It contains a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes the circulating protein in the dog’s body and stops sending itch signals to your dog’s brain. 

A single dose can control allergy symptoms for about four to eight weeks. The dog’s immune system blocks signals that trigger allergic itch and commonly associated symptoms. Moreover, it’s a very safe method. However, it’s not very beneficial for very severe symptoms of dog allergy and only deals with dermatology issues.

Pros and Cons of Allergy Shots for Dogs

The three types of allergy shots work in a particular manner with the allergy. In addition, the pros and cons may appear according to the individual species of the dog. So, let’s narrow down their pros and cons, which you must know before opting for them.




Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy



Cytopoint Injections



General Side Effects of Allergic Shots

As a pet owner, you may wonder what your dog’s response to the allergic shots will be. Well, every species has a different reaction to various allergy shots. Whether its cytopoint or immunotherapy, some of the most common sides you may or may not notice are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness or lazy behavior
  • Redness or swelling at the injection site
  • Swelling of the face


Note: Inform and take your dog to the vet if you notice any severe side effects after allergy shots. Medical attention and supervision are very important in such circumstances.

Does My Dog Have Allergies?

If you start to notice unusual behavior of your paw-some friend, some of the symptoms may help you pinpoint that it may be an allergy. Generally, allergies in dogs have some common symptoms like:

  • Unexplained sneezing
  • Running nose
  • Itchy dogs (pruritus), watery, red, and swollen eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itching in nose and throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Change in facial looks and with pressure and pain
  • Disturbed sleeping patterns
  • Having swollen and blue color skin under the eyes
  • Rubbing nose upwards
  • Raised, red patches of skin (hives)
  • Noticeable whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Constant licking
  • Regular ear infections
  • Skin infections

Types of Allergies in Dogs

Here are the most common types of allergies in dogs:

Skin Allergies

Allergic dermatitis, also known as skin allergies, is one of the dogs’ most common types of allergies. They are caused by:

Flea allergy dermatitis: It’s caused by an allergic reaction to fleabites.

Food allergies: Certain food sensitivities and allergies can cause skin allergies

Environmental allergens: Dust mites, pollen, and mold can cause atopic dermatitis, which is the reason for environmental allergies.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are not so common but can occur in any dog. An allergy to certain food elements can cause digestion or skin issues. You must avoid contact with specific allergens in food items and start treatment under veterinary care. The potential food items may include beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, milk, etc. Also, the food allergy shows visible symptoms on the dog’s body.

Acute Allergic Reactions

Acute allergic reactions are very rare but the most serious. For example, it can cause anaphylactic shock from a bee sting or vaccine reactions. These include sudden symptoms of swelling, and the pet owner must treat it as an emergency.

Performing Dog Allergy Testing

Allergy testing is crucial to rule out allergens and start with the treatment. So, the first step is to approach the best veterinary care and let them assess the dog’s body. Then, according to the severity of the condition, the veterinary dermatologist will check for types of allergies caused by fleas, infections, food, environmental factors, etc. 

A vet will examine the skin and visible symptoms. Also, the doctor may give hypoallergenic food to rule out food allergies. Further, they may also perform skin testing (intradermal allergy test – IDAT) or a blood test (serology). To initiate this process, the professionals shave the patch of the dog’s skin, and various allergens are introduced on the injection site to see what the dogs react to. It’s similar to human allergy testing.

Also, there are vet-approved home allergy testing kits that help to find out allergies relating to food, environmental factors, etc. Then, a saliva sample or a few strands of dog hair is sent to the labs. Within a few weeks, you will get a detailed analysis of the allergen which may be causing the symptoms.

Then, finally, you can further take your dog to the vet for treatment. All these processes are performed to find the exact allergen, immediately withdraw it, and start the treatment.

FAQs – Allergy Shots for Dogs

Can you give medication to the dog with allergy shots?

Allergy shots are a part of treatment, and you can give medication to control the symptoms. Cytopoint injections are absolutely safe with medicines and supplements. Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy is also safe, but you must consult your vet before giving any medications. Your vet will recommend a diet chart and oral and topical medicines, which may or may not be required. So, consulting your doctor will be a great choice.

What is the cost of dog allergy shots?

Allergic dogs undergo several types of treatment according to the particular condition and advice of professionals. As a result, there are various treatment options for improving pet health through allergy shots. The allergy treatment includes diagnoses, oral and topical medications, and shots. 

So, the most common question for pet owners is how much are allergy shots for dogs? It depends on your location, vet charges of the vet, etc. According to the allergy symptoms, the vet will diagnose the problem. Immunotherapy may cost $5 to $10 per ml, and your dog may require 1-3 ml per month.

Also, the cytopoint injections vary according to species and may range between $65 to $135 per injection. According to the pet allergies, your vet will decide the length of treatment and amount of dosage. So, vet charges, medications, and allergy shots can cost around $300 and $500 for four to six months. However, this amount can vary according to the places, vet charges, and severity of the treatment.

Does pet insurance cover dog allergy shots?

The terms may not cover the treatment if your furry friend has developed an allergy before you buy pet insurance. For example, if your dog has seasonal allergies before you get the pet insurance, it won’t be covered. However, it will be covered if the dog has started showing the symptoms of allergy post-insurance and the vet suggests allergic shots and treatment. 

You must thoroughly discuss the insurance terms with the provider for more accurate knowledge. For example, some plans cover oral and topical medications, while some only cover the allergic shots expenditure. So, carefully go through the terms and update them for the future.

What is the difference between allergy medications and allergy shots?

A qualified DVM may suggest allergy medications like apoquel, antihistamines, shampoos, and other pills. They help control the allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy nose, runny eye, etc. Moreover, it helps to relieve the dog and eases him. They can be great for seasonal allergies, which subside with time. But for a permanent allergy, it is tough to feed medication for a long time. 

But allergy shots help to build immunity to specific allergens. But they’re generally helpful while treating environmental allergies. So, having an allergy test, narrowing down the allergen, and then opting for the treatment is highly advisable.

Allergy shots are also helpful for dogs who have difficulty taking oral pills. Therefore, medications and allergy shots have pros and cons depending on the dog’s particular case. So, reaching out for professional advice is important.

How effective are allergy shots for dogs?

Over time allergy shots are becoming a very popular choice to deal with allergies in dogs. The reasons are its effectiveness and fewer side effects. According to the vets, more than half of the dogs respond positively to allergy shots. In addition, it helps to minimize the medications and gradually cure the allergy. 

Also, cytopoint injections work for more than half of the dogs, and sometimes the results are long-lasting. It minimizes the need for the next dose. The allergy shot may or may not cure the allergy, but it drastically improves the symptoms and difficulty faced by dogs. To be more accurate, it decreases the worsening and progression of the allergy.

The Bottom Line

Allergy shots for dogs are undoubtedly a very advanced and effective method for treating dog allergies. The non-drug nature, fewer side effects, and ability to cure the allergy is incredible. So, if you notice some allergy symptoms in your pet, it’s time for allergy testing. 

You can use home kits or visit the vet to find the potential allergen. Allergy shots can be effective and help your loving paw-some friend to get rid of the symptoms. So, go through all the options and choose the one which suits you best.


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