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Best Allergy Medicine for Dogs: OTC Medication, Shampoos, Home Remedies

Happy beautiful curly young couple sits on the grass with with their dog

Have you recently heard someone saying that their dog has allergies or rashes? Has your vet suggested that allergies can create problems for your dog? The worst, have you noticed your dog is scratching or sneezing more or having hives lately? 

You see, allergies in dogs are quite common. They can manifest in several ways, from ear and skin infections to red and itchy skin. Fortunately, there are various options to get rid of them safely. So, from over-the-counter meds to easy home remedies, we cover everything in this post.

However, consulting your veterinarian before trying any home remedy or giving any medicine to your furball is always a wise idea. It can help you eliminate the main cause of allergies in your pet.

OTC Medication

There are a lot of effective and safe OTC allergy meds that can help ease your pet’s allergy symptoms. The good thing is that these medicines come in different forms like topical balms, sprays, dietary supplements, food toppers and shampoos. If you are planning to go for them specially medicated shampoos, ensure you consult your vet first.

Antihistamine

Many pets respond well to antihistamine allergy meds. It is the best allergy medicine

and you can easily get them in your nearest medical stores. The most effective antihistamine drug for dogs is diphenhydramine. Also found in tablet form, diphenhydramine is the safest chew for dogs. This component is found in Benadryl. 

Benadryl is also a great decongestant that helps clear clogged noses in dogs. Usually, the vets recommend a dose of 1mg of diphenhydramine per kg of the dog’s body weight. For instance, if your dog weighs 25 kg, then 25 mg of diphenhydramine will be enough for it. However, please note that Benadryl can make some dogs hyper and other dogs sleepy.

Therefore, talk to your vet before giving this medicine to your dog. Moreover, if Benadryl fails to relieve your dog’s allergy symptoms, you can also go for hydroxyzine, chlorpheniramine, loratadine, cetirizine, fexofenadine, and clemastine.

Apart from this, Zyrtec (Cetirizine) and Claritin (Loratadine) are also effective allergy medicines . They are less sedating than Benadryl. However, it can still make your dog feel low and drowsy. The standard dosage of Claritin is around 0.1 to 0.5 mg per pound of body weight, as per the vet.

Similarly, the standard dosage of Zyrtec is approximately 0.5 mg per pound of body weight. Consult your vet to understand the right component for your dog and the correct dose to administer.

Anti-Allergy Shampoos and Wipes

Does your dog have seasonal allergies? If yes, anti-histamines can give itch relief when combined with washing or wiping allergens. You can either wipe it with an anti-allergy pet wipe after they come back rolling in the grass or bathe it with a hypoallergenic shampoo. 

Moreover, you can also go for shampoos and conditioners specially made to relieve itching and other allergy symptoms in dogs. Ensure you leave the lather for at least 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

Also, avoid using hot water as it can further dry their skin and make itching worse. Vets also recommend limiting the frequency of bathing in itchy dogs to one to two times per week. It will help control this issue.

DIY Remedies

Pet parents should not underestimate the effectiveness of home remedies in treating their dog’s allergies. Some remedies can help ease irritation, control inflammation, and heal skin cells. Although these remedies can create a robust barrier against allergens, the experts always recommend consulting a vet before you try any on your pet.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The omega-3 fatty acid is one of the best food supplements to add to your dog’s diet during allergies. This ingredient is majorly found in fish oil. It nourishes skin, promotes a silky coat, gives itch relief, and reduces flaky skin. The prominent omega-3 fatty acids that help relieve allergies are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 

Omega-3 fatty acids can also help strengthen the immune system, reduce joint pain, and prevent canine cancer. Despite so many benefits, fish oil is not for every dog. So, consult your vet before giving omega-3 fatty acids to your dog.

Probiotics

Probiotics can also immensely help in controlling allergies in dogs. You see, allergies usually occur due to an abnormal hyperactive immune system and inflammation in skin cells. The largest immune system in a dog’s body is called the GALT. 

It is in the gut, and probiotics strengthen the dogs’ gut. It controls inflammation, relieves uneasiness, and rebalances the gut system. However, please note that you should never give your dog human probiotics. Human gut bacteria are different.

Therefore, you should always opt for canine-specific probiotic products for the best results. You can also get canine probiotic chew gummies in the market. Again, ensure you discuss the right probiotics and dosage with your vet before anything else.

Quercetin

You would be surprised to know that quercetin is also a great allergy treatment option. It can help dogs in the same way that antihistamines do. It relieves inflammation, boosts allergy-combating powers, and empowers the immune system of dogs. 

This dog allergy medicine works with bromelain to develop a stronger anti-inflammatory effect. Therefore, consider going for a combination of both for faster relief. Quercetin is the best allergy medicine. Its supplements are easily available in medical stores.

However, ensure it does not contain other components like xylitol. It can create toxicity in dogs. According to health experts, the safe dosage lies in the range of 5 to 10 mg of the dog’s body weight. Most importantly, consult your vet whenever in doubt.

Novel Proteins

Novel proteins are also great to treat or control dog allergies. It can play a vital role in helping your dog lead an itch-free and healthier life all year round. Here are the top meat protein sources to look for while helping your fur ball fight nasty allergies:

  • Venison
  • Rabbit
  • Duct
  • Kangaroo
  • Bison

Prescription Medications

At times, home remedies alone are not enough for all dog allergens. You will then need something more powerful to control the allergies. It is where prescription allergy medicines come into the picture. They work directly on your pet’s immune system and control allergic reactions. 

Prescription allergy medications are of three types. Let us have a look at them one-by-one. Before that, please disclose all the OTC and home remedies you give to your pet. Their ingredients can potentially react with prescription medicines.

Prescription Topical Treatments

Does your dog have red, itchy hot spots? If yes, then your vet may prescribe a combination of an antibiotic, an antifungal, and a corticosteroid. This combination is usually found in topical sprays.

Prescription Oral Treatments

If fish oils, topical products, and anti-histamines cannot cut off the allergy, it’s time to go for oral options. In older times, only a few steroid options like triamcinolone, betamethasone, prednisone, and prednisolone were available. 

However, these medicines stop allergies to a great extent. But they also had a lot of side effects on the dogs. Common side effects include excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite, and a weaker immune system. Also, steroids are less effective in treating food allergies.

Thanks to the latest developments in medical science, a wide range of oral and injectable medicines are now available in the market. They can stop itching, relieve nasal congestion, relieve watering eyes and control sneezing considerably. Here are a few modern steroid options to look for:

  • Atopica – This medicine includes cyclosporine, a powerful ingredient to treat atopic dermatitis in dogs. Although it is generally considered safe, it can sometimes lead to diarrhoea, vomiting, and loss of appetite in dogs. However, keeping Atopica in the freezer can help lower the chances of getting these side effects. Vets recommend this medicine to control atopic dermatitis in dogs. However, ensure you give Atopica at least two hours after food. It might take a duration of four to five weeks to provide relief to the dog. Some vets can also prescribe blood work to check the medicine compatibility of the dog.
  • Apoquel – Apoquel is another advanced and newer steroid that promises better allergy relief with fewer side effects. The best part is that you can give this medicine anytime to your dog to control itching. It works by preventing inflammation and itching to a greater extent. Vets recommend giving Apoquel twice a day for up to 14 days. However, please note that this medicine should not be given when the dog has parasitic derma infections or any pre-existing cancers.
  • Temaril P – Temaril P is a promising oral prescription medicine. This dog allergy medicine offers a combination of antihistamine trimeprazine and prednisolone steroid. This medicine works effectively in controlling flea and seasonal allergies. However, it can have some temporary side effects in dogs. Therefore, it should also be used under expert or veterinarian supervision.

Allergy Shots

Sometimes dogs cannot handle oral medication. They can vomit the medicine, leaving you wondering what to do next. In this case, you can consider giving them allergy shots. You will need to consult your veterinarian to know the pros and cons of this type of allergy medication. There are two allergy shot options available:

  • Traditional shots – Are you planning to give traditional allergy shots to your dog? If yes, you might have to take it to your veterinarian for allergy testing. He will perform a skin prick or a blood test to identify the allergens. The vets consider the skin prick test more effective and accurate. However, this test is generally done by veterinary dermatologists only. The vets will then create an allergy serum accordingly. This serum is administered through a series of injections. It gradually desensitizes the pet to the allergens that are bothering them. Experts consider shots one of the most effective ways to reduce allergy symptoms.
  • Cytopoint – It is another injectable medicine that can help control allergies significantly. It is a powerful medicine that shows positive results and relieves itching for 4 to 8 weeks. This component works in neutralizing and targeting IL-31 (interleukin 31). It is a chemical ingredient in a dog’s body that develops itching. Please note that Cytopoint is readily available with vets. It also has a low intensity of side effects. So, if your dog is not responding to oral medications, Cytopoint can be a good option.
  • Immunotherapy Shots – Immunotherapy shots can also play a vital role in correcting various allergies, including skin allergies. In this, the vet injects a small amount of allergen that causes problems to the dog in its body. He will gradually increase the dose over time. This process can help develop tolerance to this allergen in dogs.

When should you seek Emergency Care for Dog Allergies?

There are instances where you should seek emergency care for your pet’s allergies. Here are some tell-tale signs to look for during this situation: 

  • You should immediately take your dog to the vet if you notice sudden swelling on the face, eyelids, and ears. It can be a medicinal reaction, allergy or an insect bite.
  • Dogs with allergies try to communicate uneasiness by shaking and scratching their ears. It can indicate an ear infection and demand immediate medical care.
  • Unusual yellow or green discharge from the dogs’ eyes is a major symptom that needs urgent medical attention. It can be due to conjunctivitis or insect bite. Delaying the check-up can lead to a tear duct or eye injury.
  • We know that vomiting and diarrhoea are considered common allergy symptoms in dogs. But persistent occurrences can indicate a serious problem. Make sure you don’t take it lightly and go for emergency care immediately.

FAQ

What causes allergies in dogs?

Like humans, allergies can be caused by many factors, like dust, mold, pollen, and dander in dogs. Apart from this, flea saliva can also trigger severe seasonal allergies and ear infections in dogs. 

It happens when insects and fleas bite or sting them. Lastly, some food items can also develop allergies in dogs. It can lead to issues like flaky and itchy skin and gut abnormalities.

What are the common symptoms of allergies in dogs?

Itchiness, vomiting, hives, rashes, swelling, hot spots, diarrhoea, itchy ears, ear infections, runny eyes, red/inflamed skin, and sneezing are prominent symptoms of dog allergies. You should immediately consult your veterinarian to control the allergy as soon as possible.

Can dogs take Temaril P?

Yes, Temaril P is a promising oral prescription medicine. It offers a combination of anti-histamine trimeprazine and prednisolone steroid. This medicine works effectively in controlling flea and seasonal allergies. 

However, it can have some temporary side effects in dogs. Therefore, it should also be used under expert or veterinarian supervision.

Can dog allergies go on their own?

You see, once a dog develops an allergy, it usually doesn’t go away naturally. They have to take medications to get rid of allergens. The only way to minimize the effect of an allergy is by going for an allergy test. 

There is a wide range of topics, including oral and injection treatment options for this problem. Medicines neutralize the effects of allergens and thus give relief to ailing dogs.

Can dog allergies cause gut infections?

Yes. Most allergens attack the digestion system of dogs. It leads to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, and coughing. This problem also occurs when a dog eats food that hampers his immune system. It can lead to gut infections or excessive gas. 

You should speak to your vet if you notice these symptoms in your dog.

Is Benadryl safe for dogs?

Yes. Diphenhydramine, found in Benadryl, is very beneficial in relieving allergies in dogs. The standard dosage of Benadryl is 1 mg per pound of the dog’s weight. However, please note that not all dogs can handle digesting Benadryl. 

Some may develop severe side effects when it is mixed with other components. So, check the pros and cons and the right dosage of Benadryl before giving it to your dog. Besides, you can also discuss DVM to learn more about it.

Can pet parents give Apoquel to their dogs? If so, how much Apoquel can they give at a time?

Apoquel is an advanced and newer steroid that promises better allergy relief with fewer side effects. The best part is that you can give this medicine anytime to your dog to control itching and other allergy symptoms. 

It helps in preventing itching and inflammation significantly. Vets recommend giving Apoquel twice a day for up to 14 days. However, this medicine should not be provided when the dog has parasitic derma infections or any pre-existing cancers.

Can I give Claritin and Zyrtec to my dog?

Yes. You can give these allergy medicines to your dog. The best part is that these medicines produce less sedating than Benadryl. However, it can still make your dog feel low and drowsy. The standard dosage of Claritin is around 0.1 to 0.5 mg per pound of body weight. 

Moreover, the standard dosage of Zyrtec is approximately 0.5 mg per pound of body weight. Consult your vet to understand the right component for your dog and the correct dose to administer.

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