Does Your Pooch Need Relief From Incessant Allergy-Related Scratching? Don’t Know Which Allergy Medicine for Dogs to Give Him?
Here’s a guide to what’s safe, what’s effective, and what’s the most-recommended allergy medicine for dogs.
Allergies strike your dog when his immune system goes into overdrive, “protecting” him from things which frankly aren’t really a danger. When allergies make themselves known on your Best Friend, suddenly things like pollen, dust, or smoke turn your dog into a skin-scratching, paw-licking machine and it never seems to stop.
What’s the best allergy medicine for dogs?
Good question! We’re here to provide some answers so here’s your handy guide to the best allergy medicine for dogs, no matter what your approach to canine health.
Of course the best way to help your dog is to minimize his exposure to the allergens causing him to suffer. Easier said than done! While you and your vet are busy putting your heads together to come up with an answer to what’s causing the allergies, your dog will sit on the sidelines, waiting for your conclusion…scratching away of course.
It’s best to approach the problem in three ways:
- Find some temporary relief, so that scratching doesn’t cause secondary problems like dog eczema and infections in the skin.
- Find a way to minimize your dog’s body’s reaction to allergens.
- In the meantime, keep working on finding the source of the allergic reaction.
What follows is a short list of the best allergy medicine for dogs, concentrating on steps 1 and 2 from above.
The Best Allergy Medicine for Dogs, and the Runners-Up
#1. Natural Ways to Hydrate the Skin
We like anything that provides a natural solution over medical allergy medicine for dogs. Hydrating the skin means it’s less prone to itchiness and therefore it’s less likely that your dog will scratch, causing secondary skin issues like eczema and infections. Try any of these, none of which come with any harmful side effects. Then if you want more or if you don’t care about giving your dog drugs, try the allergy medicine for dogs solutions that come after this.
- supplement your dog’s diet with omega 3 fatty acids or add flax seed to his diet
- avoid blow driers on his skin
- use a non-drying shampoo when bathing him
- feed raw or moist food, not dry
- coconut oil rubbed directly on the skin
#2. Diphenhydramine (Generic Benadryl)
Humans take Benadryl for allergies, but it’s even more pertinent to proper care of a dog suffering an allergic reaction. That’s because while humans may suffer some itchiness due to allergies, dogs almost always suffer from itchy skin, no matter what type of allergy they have…airborne, foodborne, or otherwise.
The problem with dogs is that there’s nobody to tell them not to scratch. Itchy skin? Scratch away…bite and chew, too (feels great!). What happens next can almost be worse than the allergic reaction: they can develop secondary skin problems like dog eczema or yeast infections.
Therefore Diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine, will reduce the severity of the allergic reaction. Drugs like Benadryl for dogs will actually counteract the effects of the extra histamine that’s produced as a result of coming into contact with an allergen.
Diphenhydramine is one of the oldest, tried- and-true types of allergy medicine for dogs. Vets are well-versed in dosage, side effects, and expectations, so it’s considered the safest as well as the most effective. It’s also sold as an over-the-counter drug, so it’s easy to acquire. In addition, it’s cost-effective, making it the second-best all-around allergy medicine for dogs on our list. What kept it from being number one? Side effects: dry mouth, sedation, vomiting, diarrhea, decrease in urination,and loss of appetite.
#3. Hydroxyzine HCI
Another antihistamine is Hydroxyzine HCI. Unlike Diphenhydramine, however, this requires a prescription from your vet. A brand name you might recognize is Atarax. It’s a bit stronger than Benadryl, so it’s advised to see if you can’t get away with the milder Benadryl first, before upping the medicine levels with Diphenhydramine.
Oclacitinib is a Janus-kinase inhibitor, if that means anything to you. If it doesn’t, suffice it to say that Oclacitinib is an allergy medicine for dogs that reduces the inflammation and itching associated with allergic reactions.
It works at the cellular level, and is advertised as eliminating one of the most severe and persistent causes of allergy-related scratching: flea allergies. Food allergies, environmental allergies, and contact dermatitis also supposedly respond well to Oclacitinib.
Yet another antihistamine, Chlorpheniramine is also sold over-the-counter. The reason it loses out to natural remedies as the best allergy medicine for dogs is that it produces more negative side effects. Chlorpheniramine causes dry mouth, drowsiness, possible vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite, and urinary retention.