Apoquel vs. Other Allergy Medications for Dogs: Which Is Right for Your Pet?

Berry Mathew

Apoquel vs. Other Allergy Medications for Dogs: Which Is Right for Your Pet?

As responsible dog owners, it’s our responsibility to keep our pets healthy and happy. Unfortunately, allergies can make our furry friends miserable, causing them to scratch and itch constantly. Seasonal allergens are one of the most common causes of allergies in dogs, and it’s estimated that about 10% of dogs suffer from allergies.

Sandra Diaz, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, explains that while allergies in dogs cannot be cured, they can be managed and kept under control to ensure that our pets have a good quality of life. This is where allergy medications like Apoquel come into play.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of Apoquel and other allergy medications for dogs to help you decide which is right for your pet.

What is Apoquel?

Apoquel is a prescription medication that is used to treat itching and inflammation associated with allergies in dogs. It works by blocking the itch signal in your dog’s brain, providing relief from the discomfort and irritation of allergies. Apoquel is usually given orally once or twice a day, and most dogs experience relief within 24 hours.

Pros of Apoquel

Apoquel’s fast-acting nature is one of its biggest advantages, as it starts working within just four hours and helps stop itching within 24 hours. This is a huge relief for both pets and their owners. 

Plus, Apoquel is one of the most effective allergy medications out there. According to studies on atopic dermatitis in dogs, Apoquel has been found to be effective in providing relief to pets, with efficacy rates of up to 66% as assessed by pet owners and veterinarians, respectively.

In addition to its fast-acting and effective nature, Apoquel is considered safe for long-term use, making it a great option for dogs with chronic allergies. This is excellent news for pet owners who want to ensure that their furry friends receive consistent relief from their allergies.

Another benefit of Apoquel for dogs is its easy accessibility. Most pharmacies carry the medication, and online pet care stores like PetRx offer free shipping on orders as low as $49. This makes it incredibly convenient for pet owners to obtain the medication their dogs need without having to leave their homes.

Cons of Apoquel

While adverse reactions during a 5-year review of Apoquel were rare, with only more than 1 but less than 10 dogs experiencing an adverse reaction per 10,000 dogs treated, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects when giving your dog Apoquel. 

As with any medication, Apoquel does come with some potential side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite. Additionally, because Apoquel works by suppressing the immune system, it may make your dog more vulnerable to infections or other illnesses.

It’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian before starting your dog on Apoquel or any other medication. They can help determine if Apoquel is the best option for your dog’s specific needs and medical history. Your vet can also monitor your dog for any potential side effects and adjust the dosage or switch to a different medication if needed.

Other Allergy Medications for Dogs

While Apoquel is a popular and effective allergy medication for dogs, it’s not the only option. Other common allergy medications for dogs include:

  1. Steroids: Steroids like prednisone can be very effective at reducing inflammation and relieving allergy symptoms in dogs. However, they can have some serious side effects, particularly with long-term use.
  2. Antihistamines: Antihistamines like Benadryl can help to reduce itching and other allergy symptoms in dogs. However, they’re not as effective as some other options and may cause drowsiness.
  3. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy involves giving your dog small doses of the allergen that is causing their allergies in order to help build up their immune system’s tolerance to it. This can be a very effective long-term solution for some dogs.

Which Option is Right for Your Pet?

Ultimately, the best allergy medication for your dog will depend on their specific needs and situation. If your dog has severe allergies that require fast relief, Apoquel may be the best option. 

However, if your dog has milder allergies or you’re looking for a long-term solution, other options like steroids or immunotherapy may be a better fit. 

It’s important to talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s specific needs and concerns in order to determine the best course of action.


Allergies can be a frustrating and uncomfortable problem for dogs and their owners. However, with a variety of allergy medications available, there are many options for providing relief. 

Whether you choose Apoquel or another medication, it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to find the best solution for your pet’s needs. With the right treatment plan, you can help your dog feel comfortable and happy, even in the face of allergies.