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Treating Allergy Symptoms in Dogs With Apoquel

Learn about common signs and how the dog allergy treatment, Apoquel, offers relief

Barley was on a trusted flea and tick preventive; however, she continued to itch like crazy. Shaking her head frequently, her floppy ears abound, she was soon on her way to her veterinarian. What could it possibly be? Soon, an exam identified the culprit -- allergies.

Dogs itch; however, if you notice they are itching frequently, they could be displaying signs of a medical condition such as allergies, which requires veterinary attention. For their comfort and speedy treatment, it’s important to speak with your veterinarian to have them seen right away. Just like with us, allergies can impact our pets, too, causing great discomfort and frustration.

Let’s outline the common causes of allergies, allergy symptoms in dogs and management best practices to help keep them itch-free and comfortable.


Allergies in dogs can be caused by fleas, as some dogs have an allergy to their saliva and bite. A flea allergy can result in severely itchy, inflamed skin, hair loss and scabs. It can be a great source of discomfort. Your dog also may experience a food allergy. Dogs with a food allergy may have tummy troubles, including gas, more bowel movements and loose stools. They may also have increased itching and licking in different areas, as well as heightened risk for ear infections. Often, the protein in a pet’s food is the culprit when it comes to a food allergy. Dogs can also have an environmental allergy, such as from dust and pollen, and contact allergies from irritants directly on the skin. Dogs with environmental allergies often lick their paws, generating brownish-red stains, and they can experience irritation of their outer ear canals, as well as ear discharge.


If you notice your dog itching or sneezing, they may be trying to tell you something. Of many allergy symptoms in dogs, Fido may demonstrate excessive licking, chewing, biting or scratching, scooting, foot chewing, hair loss, body odor, frequent rolling, changes in the skin (sores or darkened color) and recurrent ear problems. Indeed, head shaking, scratching at ears and ear discharge can all point to allergies.


Home remedies such as oatmeal shampoos and lotions, and over-the-counter topical medications are available to help your pet receive temporary relief. Important to note, though: These will not scratch the underlying cause of your dog’s itch. While antihistamines can relieve allergies in humans, they are often ineffective at reducing allergic itch in dogs.1,2 More so, administering these medications can progress your dog’s allergies due to the simple fact they do not treat the underlying cause. Thus, the itch continues.

With the help of your veterinarian, you can provide lasting reprieve for your pet.

Available with a veterinarian’s prescription at, you can find prescription allergy medicine for dogs to uniquely target the sources of their allergies.

Look to Apoquel to Help Dogs with Allergies

“Apoquel is effective for control of itching and inflammation from atopic dermatitis,” says Tony Hawkins, DVM, Valley Vet Supply technical service veterinarian. “In my experience, it works more reliably than use of human-labeled antihistamines.”

Apoquel is the # 1 prescribed oral medication for allergic itch in dogs.3 Apoquel tablets have been prescribed to over 14 million dogs.4 Apoquel Chewable is now available as an easy-to-dose, pork-liver flavored chewable for dogs that are difficult to administer a pill. Apoquel works differently than other common treatments because it works at the source to stop itching and relieve inflammation from skin allergies.5 Apoquel works fast with the tablets relieving your dog’s itch within four hours.6 Both Apoquel Tablets and Apoquel Chewables control itch within 24 hours. 7,8 When your pet is suffering from allergies, which can have painful symptoms, there truly isn’t any time to waste to get them the relief they need.

Apoquel offers the flexibility to be used daily either for short-term or long-term therapy in dogs older than 12 months, and you can discontinue use without tapering. Apoquel may be used with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), vaccines, allergy shots or drops, dewormers and antibiotics.9

Since her initial veterinary exam, Barley’s veterinarian phoned in a prescription for Apoquel to Valley Vet Supply, ensuring her comfort from allergies.

“Valley Vet tries to make it as easy as possible for you or your veterinarian to call in a prescription or send in a prescription. There are several different ways that can happen, by fax, email or phone call. As the client, you can actually go online and order the medication, and then Valley Vet will just send that prescription authorization directly to your veterinarian,” says Dr. Hawkins.

Work closely with your veterinarian to determine if Apoquel is right for you dog, and buy Apoquel online at


  1. Hsiao Y- H, Chen C, Willemse T. Effects of cetirizine in dogs with chronic atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Vet Sci. 2016;17(4):549-553. doi: 10.4142/jvs.2016.17.4.549
  2. Marsella R, Sousa CA, Gonzalez AJ, Fadok VA. Current understanding of the pathophysiologic mechanisms of canine atopic dermatitis. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2012;241(2):194-207. doi:10.2460/javma.241.2.194
  3. Data on file, PetTrak Total Unique Patient Count, December 2022, Zoetis Inc.
  4. ZMR: GAH-284 Pets Since Launch September 2023 Data
  5. Gonzales AJ, Bowman JW, Fici GJ, et al. Oclacitinib (APOQUEL) is a novel Janus kinase inhibitor with activity against cytokines involved in allergy. J Vet Pharmacol Therap. 2014;37(4)317-24. doi:10.1111/jvp.1210
  6. Gadeyne C, Little P, King VL, Edwards N, Davis K, Stegemann MR. Efficacy of oclacitinib (Apoquel®) compared with prednisolone for the control of pruritus and clinical signs associated with allergic dermatitis in client-owned dogs in Australia. Vet Dermatol. 2014;25(6):512-518,e86. doi:10.1111/vde.12166
  7. Cosgrove SB, Wren JA, Cleaver DM, et al. Efficacy and safety of oclacitinib for the control of pruritus and associated skin lesions in dogs with canine allergic dermatitis. Vet Dermatol. 2013;24(5):479-e114. doi:10.1111/vde.12047
  8. Data on file: Study Report A161C-US21-C02, Zoetis Inc.
  9. Cosgrove SB, Cleaver DM, King VL, et al. Long-term compassionate use of oclacitinib in dogs with atopic and allergic skin disease: safety, efficacy and quality of life. Vet Dermatol. 2015;26(3):171-179, e35. doi:10.1111/vde.12194
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