apoquel alternatives

Apoquel Alternatives That Are Better for Your Dog

If you’re a dog owner and your cuddle buddy is frequently plagued with allergy issues, you’re not alone. You see, uncontrollable itching, chronic allergy dermatitis, and other allergies in dogs can reach alarming levels if you don’t take care of them in time. 

The most common options people turn to fight this menace is Apoquel. But it may not be the right solution because the side effects are a nightmare. In most cases, the dog loses energy, bloats up, becoming a shadow of its former self.  

Apoquel does cure the allergy. There’s no doubt about that. But at a cost both healthwise and pocket-wise, prompting many dog owners to consider alternative treatments.

Read on to learn potential Apoquel alternatives that are better for your dog. Most of these are natural remedies known to be safer and more effective in curing allergies. But before then,

Why Is Apoquel Not a Good Option?

Using Apoquel has downsides. Remember, vets turn to the drug when other treatment options don’t seem to work or when you cannot establish the cause of the allergy or itching easily. Also, once you start your canine friend on it, they have to use it for life. 

Some of the side effects of Apoquel include:

  • The dog becomes dependent on the drug, such that once you stop administering it, the allergy returns.
  • The drug interferes with the dog’s immune system’s ability to play other vital roles effectively. Apoquel potentially reduces white blood cell count and causes bone marrow suppression. Thus, the drug is known to increase the rate of infection
  • Apoquel is linked with increased cancer rates in pups. Though no scientific evidence supports this claim, one study shows that 5% of dogs on Apoquel had some form of cancer within 392 days of starting treatment.
  • Apoquel is expensive, considering your dog will use it for life.

Best Apoquel Alternatives for Your Dog

It’s now clear to you why Apoquel may not be the best way to handle your dog’s itching. That said, it’s not easy to find a remedy with fewer side effects. That’s why the best, safer, and most effective Apoquel alternatives are natural remedies. These include:

1. Changing Your Dog’s Diet

Sometimes the cause of allergies in dogs is something in their diet. If this is the case with your dog’s allergy, the best solution is to change the diet.

You’ll need to put your dog on an elimination diet. This involves eliminating the foods you suspect are potential allergens from the pup’s diet until the symptoms disappear. After that, reintroduce the foods slowly, one at a time. 

The most common dog allergies are eggs, corn, lamb, soy, wheat, chicken, dairy, and beef.

Another approach is to change the dog’s food completely. Create a list of potential allergens and get food without such ingredients and switch to these. Keep up with this diet until the symptoms go away. If you keep trying foods from your restricted list, you’ll eventually find an appropriate diet you can stick to containing sufficient starch and proteins. Your dog won’t show allergy symptoms again.

Note that poor-quality diets can also result in itchy skin and dry, brittle coats. 

Therefore,  if your dog’s diet is not optimal, change it to a quality one with all the necessary ingredients. Introducing a balanced diet with at least 25% protein and rich in healthy fats is likely to positively impact your dog’s coat and skin.

2. Dealing With Environmental Allergens

Addressing environmental allergens also helps resolve allergy-related skin conditions in puppies. 

It’s worth mentioning that out of the 70% skin conditions in canines, 90% are a reaction to environmental allergies. The most common allergens in the air and surfaces are pollen, dust mites, and protein in flea saliva.

Some dogs’ skin gets itchy during spring and fall. If that’s the case with your furry friend, it means they suffer seasonal energies. The cause is plant pollen, for which you can use drug therapy. But be careful. 

There are better solutions for seasonal allergies. These include:

  • Changing your HVAC filters regularly
  • Using powerful air cleaners/purifiers indoors
  • Reducing your cuddle buddy’s contact with common allergens such as grass

For dogs with severe or multiple allergies or highly-sensitive skins, these strategies may not work. In this case, consider immunotherapy. Like with humans, after testing, the vet will introduce the offending allergen to the dog’s immune system through oral drops or shots.

Chances are the dog’s immune system will get accustomed to the allergen, and the skin condition will subside or disappear altogether. 

3. Administering Supplements

Supplements have the same effect as switching to a higher-quality diet. They can stop the itching. 

Examples of effective supplements are:

  • Fish oil, which is rich in omega fatty acids and well known for relieving skin itch. The good news is that omega fatty acid supplements have no side effects.
  • Probiotic blends and digestive enzymes made specifically for dogs help break down foods that pass through the dog’s digestive system undigested, resulting in nutrition deficits or immune responses that cause itching.
  • Quercetin and yucca.

4. Topical Solutions

Most dog owners treat hot spots and deal with flare-ups with topical ointments and balms, specifically designed for dogs with itchy skin. 

But instead of spending a lot of money on these pre-made remedies, there’s a better and cheaper route. You can use ingredients available at home to tame your dog’s allergies. They include:

  • Coconut oil, known for its healing and antibacterial properties that help soothe the skin
  • Green and chamomile tea
  • Oatmeal
  • Baking soda
  • Apple cider vinegar

You only need to mix these items with water and then apply them directly onto the dog’s skin. 

But note that this is no quick-fix. You must be patient, and with time, the results of your hard work will be evident.

Keep Your Dog Safe From Allergy Symptoms

A holistic approach to curing the cause, not the allergy symptoms, is the way to go. While Apoquel alternatives, such as topical remedies and supplements, are the best solution to itchy skin, they don’t remedy the cause. That’s why it’s best to look into your dog’s diet and address environmental allergens.

Nevertheless, all the above Apoquel alternatives are better, safer, and more effective.