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5 Apoquel Alternatives for Your Dog

Dog allergies can be distressing, leading pet owners to seek effective treatments like Apoquel. While Apoquel has been a widely prescribed medication for alleviating itching and inflammation caused by allergic skin conditions in dogs, some pet owners seek natural or different solutions due to concerns about potential side effects or long-term use. 

Understanding Apoquel’s role in treating dog allergies and discovering alternative methods can aid pet owners in making informed decisions about their dogs’ health and well-being. 

What Is Apoquel? 

Apoquel, known by its generic name oclacitinib, is a prescription medication primarily used to manage itching and inflammation caused by various allergic skin conditions. It belongs to the class of drugs known as Janus kinase inhibitors (JAK inhibitors), targeting specific enzymes involved in the immune response.

Apoquel works by inhibiting the release of substances in the dog’s body that trigger itching and inflammation, relieving allergic symptoms. It’s commonly prescribed for dogs suffering from allergic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and allergic reactions to environmental factors like pollen or dust mites.

One of the key advantages of Apoquel is its rapid onset of action, often providing relief within hours after administration. Additionally, it is administered orally and is generally well-tolerated, making it a popular choice among veterinarians for managing acute or chronic itching in dogs.

However, like any medication, Apoquel has potential side effects, including gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea, as well as potential effects on the immune system. Long-term use or certain pre-existing health conditions in dogs might warrant careful consideration before using Apoquel as a treatment option. 

Consulting a veterinarian is crucial to assess the dog’s specific condition and determine the most suitable treatment plan considering potential risks and benefits associated with Apoquel.

What Are Other Natural Remedies for Canine Allergies? 

Beyond pharmaceutical medications, various natural remedies and supplements show promise in managing dog allergies, offering potential relief from symptoms. These options aim to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and alleviate allergic reactions in dogs.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil supplements, exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that might help alleviate itching and reduce skin inflammation associated with allergic reactions in dogs. These supplements may support skin health and promote a healthy coat.


Probiotics contribute to gut health and immune function. They can aid in regulating the immune response, potentially reducing allergic reactions in dogs. Probiotic supplements support a healthy digestive system and might help modulate allergic responses.


Quercetin, a flavonoid present in fruits and vegetables like apples, berries, and broccoli, exhibits antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. As a supplement, it may help reduce allergic reactions by stabilizing mast cells and decreasing histamine release.

Herbal Supplements

Certain herbs like nettle, licorice root, or chamomile possess anti-inflammatory or antihistamine properties. These natural remedies might assist in managing allergic symptoms in dogs when used under veterinary guidance.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. When used topically, it might help soothe and moisturize irritated skin caused by allergies in dogs.

Acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine

Alternative therapies like acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine might aid in managing allergic reactions in dogs. These methods focus on restoring balance in the body and supporting overall well-being.

It’s essential to note that while natural remedies and supplements might offer relief, their effectiveness can vary among individual dogs. Consulting a veterinarian before initiating any supplements or herbal treatments is crucial. 

How Can CBD Help Soothe Symptoms of Dog Allergies? 

ElleVet Sciences offers a range of CBD-based products that can address various symptoms associated with dog allergies. CBD, or cannabidiol, derived from hemp, has gained attention for its potential therapeutic properties, including its soothing effects.

Itch Relief

ElleVet’s CBD formulations aim to soothe itching, a common symptom of dog allergies. CBD’s properties may help calm skin irritation and itching caused by allergic reactions. Products like ElleVet’s CBD oils or chews could potentially provide relief from the discomfort associated with allergic skin conditions.

Stress Management

Allergic reactions in dogs often induce feelings of stress. ElleVet’s CBD products are crafted to promote a sense of calmness and relaxation without causing drowsiness. This calming effect might assist dogs in coping with the stress triggered by allergic responses, aiding overall well-being.

As with any alternative treatment, consulting a veterinarian is crucial to determine the most suitable approach for managing dog allergies and incorporating ElleVet’s products into a holistic treatment plan.

What Is the Role of Diet and Nutrition in Managing Canine Allergies? 

Diet and nutrition play a pivotal role in managing canine allergies, as certain foods can trigger or exacerbate allergic reactions in dogs. Identifying and eliminating potential allergens from the dog’s diet can significantly alleviate symptoms and support overall health.

Hypoallergenic Diet

Transitioning to a hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diet is a common approach to managing food-related allergies in dogs. These specialized diets contain limited protein sources and carefully selected ingredients to minimize potential allergens. 

Single novel protein diets are often recommended to determine and eliminate specific food triggers.

Novel Protein Sources

Introducing novel protein sources such as duck, venison, or rabbit, which are less common in commercial dog foods, can help identify and eliminate allergens present in the dog’s previous diet. This approach aims to reduce the likelihood of allergic reactions triggered by familiar protein sources.

Avoidance of Common Allergens

Identifying and eliminating common allergens such as wheat, corn, soy, dairy, and artificial additives from the dog’s diet can be crucial in managing food-related allergies. These ingredients are known to trigger allergic reactions in some dogs.

Home-Cooked or Raw Food Diets

Some pet owners opt for home-cooked or raw food diets to have better control over the ingredients and potentially minimize exposure to allergens. However, these diets should be carefully balanced and formulated under veterinary guidance to ensure they meet the dog’s nutritional needs.

Gradual Transition and Monitoring

When changing the dog’s diet, it’s essential to do so gradually, allowing the digestive system to adapt. Additionally, closely monitoring the dog for any improvement or adverse reactions is crucial to assess the effectiveness of dietary changes.

Consultation a Veterinarian

Consulting a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist is highly recommended when altering a dog’s diet, especially in cases of suspected food allergies. They can provide guidance, conduct allergy tests, recommend suitable diets, and monitor the dog’s response to dietary changes.

Optimizing the dog’s diet and ensuring it is tailored to their specific needs can significantly contribute to managing canine allergies. Customizing the diet to eliminate potential triggers and support overall health can lead to a significant reduction in allergic reactions, promoting the dog’s well-being.

How Can Lifestyle Adjustments Help Dogs With Allergies? 

Environmental changes and lifestyle adjustments can significantly impact dogs suffering from allergies by reducing exposure to allergens and alleviating symptoms associated with allergic reactions. Implementing these changes can create a more allergen-free and comfortable environment for affected dogs.

Regular Grooming

Frequent grooming sessions play a crucial role in managing allergies. Regular baths using hypoallergenic shampoos help remove allergens, such as pollen or dust, from the dog’s skin and coat. Brushing the coat can also prevent allergens from accumulating, reducing itching and discomfort.

Allergen-Free Living Spaces

Creating an allergen-free living space for dogs involves minimizing exposure to potential allergens. Washing bedding, vacuuming floors, and using air purifiers can reduce indoor allergens like dust mites, mold, or pet dander.

Identifying Outdoor Allergens

Identifying and minimizing exposure to outdoor allergens can help alleviate allergic reactions. Avoiding areas with high pollen counts during peak seasons and wiping the dog’s paws after outdoor activities can reduce the transfer of allergens into the living space.

Changing Exercise Routines

Altering exercise routines or walking routes to avoid areas where potential allergens are prevalent can reduce the dog’s exposure. Shortening outdoor activities during peak pollen times might help minimize allergic reactions triggered by environmental factors.

Avoidance of Irritants

Dogs can be sensitive to various irritants like smoke, strong fragrances, or chemicals. Minimizing exposure to such irritants, including secondhand smoke, scented products, or harsh cleaning chemicals, can reduce allergic reactions in sensitive dogs.

Maintaining Optimal Indoor Humidity

Regulating indoor humidity levels can inhibit the growth of mold and dust mites, which are common allergens. Using dehumidifiers or air conditioning systems helps maintain optimal humidity levels indoors.

Implementing environmental changes and lifestyle adjustments tailored to the dog’s specific needs can significantly alleviate allergic symptoms and improve the overall quality of life for dogs suffering from allergies. These adjustments, along with other treatment modalities, contribute to a holistic approach to managing allergic conditions in dogs.

What Are Other Medication Options for Dogs With Allergies? 

In addition to Apoquel and natural remedies, other medication options are available for managing dogs’ allergies, offering different mechanisms to alleviate symptoms. 


Commonly used to manage mild allergy symptoms in dogs, antihistamines like diphenhydramine or cetirizine can help reduce itching and inflammation caused by allergic reactions. 

They are available over-the-counter but should be used under veterinary guidance to ensure proper dosage and safety.


Corticosteroids such as prednisone or prednisolone can effectively reduce itching and inflammation associated with allergic skin conditions. However, long-term use might lead to adverse effects, making them more suitable for short-term relief or severe allergic reactions.

Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)

Immunotherapy involves administering gradually increasing doses of allergens to desensitize the dog’s immune system. Allergy shots might be recommended for dogs with specific allergic triggers after conducting allergy tests to identify allergens.


Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant medication that helps control allergic reactions by suppressing the immune response. It can be used as an alternative for dogs not responding well to other treatments or experiencing adverse effects from other medications.

Choosing the most suitable medication option for a dog’s allergies requires a veterinarian’s guidance. Factors such as the severity of symptoms, potential side effects, and individual dog’s health condition must be considered to determine the most effective and safe treatment.

Wrapping Up

Managing allergies in dogs involves a multifaceted approach encompassing various treatment modalities, lifestyle adjustments, and potential medication options. While Apoquel stands as a widely used prescription medication for alleviating itching and inflammation caused by allergies, exploring alternative treatments and lifestyle modifications can offer additional relief for affected dogs.

Natural remedies like those offered by ElleVet Sciences can provide potential relief without the potential side effects associated with pharmaceutical medications. Additionally, dietary modifications, environmental changes, and other medication options, such as antihistamines or immunotherapy, can contribute to managing allergic symptoms in dogs.

Consulting a veterinarian is crucial to tailor an individualized treatment plan that considers the dog’s specific condition, triggers, and health needs. By combining various approaches and seeking professional guidance, pet owners can provide holistic care and significantly improve the quality of life for dogs affected by allergic reactions.


Recent Understandings of Pet Allergies | NIH 

Oclacitinib 10 years later: lessons learned and directions for the future | AVMA Publications 

A blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the efficacy and safety of the Janus kinase inhibitor oclacitinib (Apoquel®) in client-owned dogs with atopic dermatitis | NIH

Atopic dermatitis (atopy) | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine