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This is the most comprehensive guide to finding the best allergy medicine for dogs.
Allergies are a huge problem for dogs and can trigger digestive issues, skin problems, itching, hives, and a myriad of other health issues.
So, what is the most effective allergy medicine for dogs? Picking the best allergy medicine for dogs depends on your dog’s symptoms, allergy severity, health conditions, and causes. Hence, it’s critical to research before choosing a dog allergy treatment option.
In this article, we’ll go over the best dog allergy treatments, including prescription allergy medicine for dogs, over-the-counter dog allergy medicine, all-natural treatments, and treatment for specific allergy issues, and more.
We also explain the risks of some medicines so you can address your concerns with your vet. Let’s dive right in!
If you are new to buying allergy meds for dogs or looking to learn more, we highly encourage you to read Chapter 1 before other Chapters. Already familiar with dog allergy medications? Jump straight to Chapter 2, where we’ve reviewed the best options by category and needs. Or, visit Chapter 3 more for in-depth information on the subject.
Best Allergy Medicine For Dogs (Our Top Picks At Glance)
Here is a quick overview of just four of our top picks (by category) for the best allergy treatment in dogs.
You can click here to go straight to dog allergy med reviews, but we encourage you to read the first few sections of this article to make a more educated decision when buying any of these options.
Learn all about dog allergy medications
What Are Allergy Medicines For Dogs?
Is there allergy medicine for dogs? Yes. Allergy medicines for dogs are typically used to treat all the major dog allergy symptoms (i.e., skin rash, hives, nasal congestion, etc.) and relieve allergy-induced inflammation. They also provide relief from the itchiness associated with many canine skin conditions.
Dog allergy medications are available as pills, liquids, inhalers, nasal sprays, eye drops, skin creams, and shots (injections).
Types of Allergy Medicine For Dogs
There are several types of dog allergy treatments available. These include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC)
- Nonsteroidal Immunosuppressants
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots)
- Natural options (homemade & supplements)
You’re likely wondering, which one should I give my dog for allergies?
In Chapter 2, our research team covers every detail about dog allergy med types and the top-recommended options for each category to help you pick the right treatment for your pup.
How Do Allergy Medicine For Dogs Work?
Each type of dog allergy medicine works differently in your dog’s body.
Nonsteroidal Immunosuppressants: These block the production of pro-inflammatory substances such as cytokines or immune proteins that can trigger damage responses such as inflammation.
Corticosteroids: Steroids reduce the production of chemicals that cause inflammation and weaken the immune system’s overreaction to the allergen. This helps keep tissue damage as low as possible.
Antihistamine: Antihistamines are medicines that treat allergy symptoms by blocking the effects of histamine. Dogs normally release histamine (a chemical) in response to injury and allergic and inflammatory reactions.
Immunotherapy (allergy shots): It works by introducing small amounts of the allergen so that the dog builds a tolerance over time. This is most often done via injections under the skin or drops placed under the tongue, usually twice a day.
Can A Dog Take Allergy Medicine?
Yes, dogs can safely take dog allergy medicine. However, only give medication that’s been approved by your vet and follow the recommended doses. Many over-the-counter (OTC) medications are NOT safe for dogs. OTC human doses and doses for dogs are different, so you need to know the correct dose for your dog. Some drugs are flat-out dangerous for pets at even the tiniest doses.
Many vets prescribe Zyrtec for dogs as a method of treating allergies, even though it’s FDA approved for people1. Most dogs react positively to Zyrtec and other allergy meds.
On the other hand, Ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) are extremely toxic to dogs2, which is why you should never just give any OTC medication to your dog without prior professional consultation.
Whether it is a prescription or an over-the-counter canine allergy med, you need to be aware of the risks associated and get your vet’s approval.
Dog Allergy Medicine Benefits
Dog allergy medicines can relieve symptoms from different types of allergies, including seasonal, food, skin, indoor, environmental, insect bite allergies, and more.
Benefits include relief for the following canine allergy symptoms:
- Increased scratching
- Itchy, red, scaly, moist, oily, or scabby skin
- Itchy paws
- Constant licking
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Itchy ears, ear infections, or eye discharge
- Hair loss
- Skin rashes
- Hot spots (skin infections resulting from excessive scratching)
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Red eyes
- Yeast or bacterial infections
- Anaphylaxis shock (severe allergy case)
NOTE: Some pet allergy medicines are more effective at treating certain symptoms than others. In the next chapter, we show the top recommended dog allergy meds for specific allergy issues.
Dog Allergy Medicine Risks
Like any medication, there is a risk of side effects. Although the number of dogs who experience side effects from allergy meds is low, you need to be aware of the risks.
While over-the-counter meds offer relief to some dogs, other OTC remedies for dog allergies can be toxic. For instance, ONLY use an antihistamine that does NOT contain decongestants as ingredients. Decongestants are not safe for dogs3. Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec are antihistamines typically safe and recommended by most vets.
The most common types of decongestants are pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. These drugs are commonly found in allergy medications.
Antihistamines like Contac, Actifed, Sudafed, Tavist-D, Claritin-D, or any other brand antihistamine with “D” added to the name are best avoided. The “D” indicates the medicine contains a decongestant but always read the labels very carefully before administering any OTC pills to your pets and do so under your vet’s discretion.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, decongestants can be deadly in dogs. They can result in vomiting, dilated pupils, severe blood pressure changes (hypertension), abnormal heart rhythms and rates, tremors, and seizures4.
When it comes to prescription dog allergy medications, common risks involve double-dosing, drug interaction, drug ingredient allergens, and wrong dosage. Drug interactions can be dangerous, so your veterinarian should review your dog’s medical record to prevent any adverse reactions.
Antiparasitics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, pain medications, and steroids may also pose adverse effects. Penicillins and sulfonamides have the highest rates of allergic reaction in dogs5.
Luckily, most dogs can safely use corticosteroids if proper guidelines are followed. These drugs have a wide margin of safety when ingested. When accidentally ingestion occurs, it can result in mild signs of gastrointestinal distress in dogs7.
Upon your veterinarian’s recommendation and proper dosage, it is perfectly safe to treat a dog’s allergies with over-the-counter antihistamines and prescription drugs. Although it’s rare, occasionally, a dog may be allergic to the medication itself.
Medication allergy side-effects or allergies can result in the following symptoms.
- Facial swelling
- Dry mouth
- Itchy skin
- Intense scratching
- Licking and biting fur and skin
- Red rash anywhere on the body
- Runny nose
- Shaking head
- Watery eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Anaphylactic shock (cold feet, collapse, extreme sleepiness, hyperventilation, muscle weakness, respiratory failure, weak pulse)
According to PetMD, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, altered urinary habits, and abnormal bleeding is also possible6.
Med allergic reactions can happen immediately after dosing or during the first hours, so keep an eye on your dog for any changes in behavior after a medication or vaccine has been administered, especially if your pet has a history of other allergies.
If you believe your dog has overdosed or is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately and follow their instructions for emergency treatment.
Dog Allergy Medication Prices
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact price for dog allergy medications because there are many types, both prescription and OTC. But we took the most popular dog allergy remedies recommended by vets and compared their pricing.
On average, you can expect to pay for dog allergy medications anywhere between $3.30 to $186.98.
Here is a price breakdown for the most common dog allergy medications.
- Apoquel – Priced at $72.90
- Atopica – Priced at $33.99 – $186.98
- Prednisone – Priced at $3.30 – $18.00
- Temaril-P – Priced at $28.20 – $56.40 (for 30 or 60 tablets)
- Benadryl – Priced at $11.94 (100 count)
- Claritin – Priced at $26.99 (70 count)
- Zyrtec – Priced at $26.75 (45 count)
Prices are subject to vary depending on tablet count, potency, brand, store, and other factors.
Best Allergy Treatment For Dogs
The best allergy treatment for your dog will depend on the severity of their symptoms, allergy type, and how frequently they experience allergic reactions.
Nonetheless, the first way to get allergy relief for your dog is through antihistamines! If you pop a Benadryl or Claritin when your allergies act up, then it’s the same for your furry pal. Unfortunately, antihistamines are only effective in 30% of dogs10. Another study showed that 54% of dogs given antihistamines responded favorably to these treatments. That said, strong anecdotal evidence suggests that antihistamines are good options for dog allergy relief.
While antihistamines may work for you at first, they often lose effectiveness. Dr. Nicole Eckholm, a veterinary dermatologist, told Rover that “If an antihistamine is effective, you could carry that out as long as it lasts. Sometimes, you can manage allergies just with that. Other times, as allergies progress, antihistamines are no longer effective.9”
Veterinary dermatologist Dr. Paul Bloom, DVM, DACVD, DABVP, also notes that many different antihistamines are available, and none is more effective than another. If after 14 days the dog shows no improvement, prescribe another antihistamine until each of the antihistamines has been tried for 14 days or an effective one has been found11.
Corticosteroid therapies (topical or oral) are considered the first choice to treat acute (more severe) and chronic inflammatory skin diseases, particularly allergic dermatitis8. While steroids (corticosteroids) are more powerful and effective at treating allergy symptoms than antihistamines, long-term use is not recommended because of possible severe and permanent side effects. They are best for short-term treatment.
The best allergy treatment by far is immunotherapy (allergy shots). This treatment is considered the gold standard for managing allergies and stop their progressions. The success rate of immunotherapy is 60-80%. This is the best long-term approach to allergy control.
Natural treatments can also be effective at managing dog allergies but for mild cases and prevention.
You must consult your vet to determine which is the best approach for your pet.
Prevention Is The Best Dog Allergy Treatment
The best way to treat allergies in dogs is to prevent them in the first place.
Dog allergy kits can help you discover:
- Food intolerance and sensitivities
- Environmental allergies
- Airborne allergies
- Household items (cleaners)
- Ingredients and preservatives allergies
The next most convenient way to determine what allergens are causing your pet distress is through at-home dog allergy testing kits.
You should not use allergy testing to diagnose dog allergies, but you and your veterinarian need to leverage the results to develop the most appropriate allergy treatment for your dog that will prevent ingestion or exposure to potential allergens.
What Do Vets Prescribe For Dog Allergies?
The majority of vets prescribe Antihistamine (Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec), Nonsteroidal Immunosuppressants (Apoquel and Atopica), and Corticosteroids (Prednisone and Temaril-P) to treat canine allergies. There are also natural treatments and homemade remedies you may want to explore.
The next section gives you a researched-based, vet-recommend look at the best allergy medicine for dogs and everything you need to know about them before giving it to Fido.
The best allergy meds for dogs by category reviewed.
Best Allergy Medicine For Dogs Reviews
What’s the best allergy medicine for dogs?
There are quite a few treatments for canine allergies. Some require a veterinarian’s prescription, while others are available over the counter.
Our team of researchers reviewed every option out there and gave each category’s best alternatives based on vet-recommendation, price, customer reviews, efficacy, research studies, and more.
Whether you are looking for the best daily allergy medicine for dogs to treat seasonal allergies, a stronger dog allergy med to treat chronic allergy cases, or stop most dog allergy symptoms, these options can keep sniffles and itchy skin at bay.
Best Prescription Allergy Medicine For Dogs
When it comes to prescription allergy medicine for dogs, these meds fall into two categories: Nonsteroidal Immunosuppressants and Corticosteroids.
Below we give you the best choice for each, along with the benefits, how they work, risks, what you can expect, and more.
Nonsteriodal Immunosuppressants: Immune-modulators
If your dog has moderate to severe allergies, your vet may prescribe a type of medication called an immunosuppressant (or immune-modulators), which helps control or suppress the immune system’s response to allergens to slow down the symptoms allergies.
The best thing about nonsteroidal immunosuppressants is that they relieve allergies without the negative side effects of steroids.
Apoquel Allergy Medicine For Dog Reviews
Drug Type: Non-Steroidal/ Inhibitor Blocker | Prescription: Needed | Form: Tablet | Treats: All Allergies | Price: $72.90 for 30 tablets
Apoquel is the brand name of oclacitinib. Apoquel is not a steroid or antihistamine. This medicine belongs to a class of drugs called “Janus kinase inhibitors.”
Apoquel works by reducing the production of cytokines in dogs. Cytokines are the signaling molecules that mediate and regulate your dog’s inflammation and itching response associated with allergies. Apoquel blocks or reduces the production of Cytokines (the source of the allergies) to help relieve itch and inflammation.
It’s among the most popular dog itch medicines on the market, and veterinarians widely prescribe it. It’s made by Zoetis, the world’s largest manufacturer of pet and livestock medications and vaccines.
Apoquel comes in three tablet sizes: 3.6mg, 5.4mg, and 16mg. It’s typically prescribed twice daily for up to 14 days and then once daily after that. It can be given with or without food, and it’s appropriate for long-term use with a low incidence of side effects.
One of the best things about Apoquel for dogs is that it relieves itchiness within 4 hours of giving the treatment and controls it within 24 hours.
In fact, a study on the efficacy of oclacitinib (Apoquel) confirms the rapid onset of efficacy within 4 h. It also revealed that Apoquel is safe and controls severe itching associated with allergic dermatitis, with substantial improvement. By day14, 74% of the Apoquel-treated dogs achieved a reduction of more than 50% from baseline allergy symptoms12. Furthermore, a study that lasted 672 days comprised of 247 dogs published in the Veterinary Dermatology Journal concluded that oclacitinib was safe and efficacious for long-term use and improved the quality of life for dogs13.
This dog allergy med is most effective for flea allergy, food allergy, contact allergy, and atopic dermatitis.
Dogs under 12 months should not take Apoquel. Dogs with serious infections or that weigh less than 6.6 pounds should not consume this drug. Apoquel is not for use in breeding dogs or pregnant or lactating females.
Possible Side Effects
Dogs rarely experience side effects from Apoquel when given the dosage as prescribed by their veterinarian. The most common side effects are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Only a small percentage of dogs treated with Apoquel experience these symptoms, less than 1 dog out of 10,000 treated states the manufacturer14. If your dog develops these symptoms, it typically stopped on its own. UW Veterinary Care University of Wisconsin-Madison says that dogs have been treated with Apoquel for more than 5 years without any problem. They do not expect long-term problems or known effects of Apoquel on organs such as the kidneys and liver15.
Atopica For Dogs Reviews
Type: Non-Steroidal Immunosuppressant | Prescription: Needed | Form: Capsules | Treats: All Allergies | Price: $33.99 – $186.98
Atopica is the brand name for cyclosporine, and it belongs to a class of drugs called immunosuppressants. Atopica is an FDA-approved medication to treat atopy disorders (allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis) in cats and dogs.
When you administer Atopica to dogs, it works by interrupting the interaction between allergens and the immune system. This happens because, Cyclosporine attaches to T‐lymphocytes, effectively decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory substances such as cytokines, interleukin-2 and lymphokine16. The reduction of these inflammatory substances is what stops the allergy reactions in dogs.
It’s to be fed without food, preferably 1-2 hours before meals. If you miss a dose, give it as soon as you remember. Do not double dose. It’s available in 4 capsule forms: 10mg, 25mg, 50mg & 100mg. You should never open the capsule to sprinkle over food. It has a bitter taste, and your dog will most likely reject it.
Veterinarians often prescribe this med to treat atopic dermatitis (skin allergies) and related atopy symptoms that result from common allergens such as dust mites, pollen, food, molds, and genetic factors. Atopica can also be effective in treating related skin conditions. For seasonal allergies, start Atopica 1-2 months before allergy season or as recommended by your vet.
The effectiveness of Atopica for dogs is backed by research. In one study, where 14 atopic dogs were treated with cyclosporine for 2 weeks, only 1 dog failed to respond to treatment17. That’s a 92.8% effectiveness rate. In a subsequent larger study, 61 atopic dogs were treated with cyclosporine for 6 weeks (30 low dosages & 31 high dosages). The dogs given the higher dosage of cyclosporine were shown to have the most marked reductions in skin lesions and pruritus (severe itching) scores. Oral administration of cyclosporine at a dosage of 5.0 mg/kg once daily effectively reduces the severity of pruritus and skin lesions in dogs with AD, concluded the research18.
Results are not immediate, and it may take several weeks to provide full relief. Typically, Atopica for dogs takes two weeks to start working, and then as long as four to six weeks to see the maximum effects19. But’s it’s proven safe and effective for persistent allergies.
Steroids may be prescribed to your dog in the interim to control allergy symptoms.
Atopica is not made for dogs less than 6 months of age or less than 4 pounds of body weight. It is not for use in breeding dogs, pregnant or lactating females. Pups with liver and kidney disease and compromised renal functions should be cautious about taking this drug. Dogs that are allergic to cyclosporine or have suspected cancer or a history of cancer should not use this drug.
Atopica For Dogs Side Effects
Side effects are usually not serious and rare. They often get better with time. Vomiting, reduced appetite, and diarrhea are the most common adverse effect in dogs taking Atopica. Even rarer side effects include gingival hyperplasia, anorexia, urinary tract infections, and lymphadenopathy.
Strategies to lower the chance of adverse effects of cyclosporine include freezing the capsules and administering them frozen. Doing this does not significantly affect cyclosporine pharmacokinetics (activity of drugs in the body) in dogs20.
What are the best corticosteroids to treat dog allergies? Are they safe?
Commonly referred to as steroids, corticosteroids are an anti-inflammatory drugs that can lower swelling that comes with allergies. They prevent and treat sneezing and stuffy, runny, or itchy noses. They also help with red, itchy eyes.
Corticosteroids work by mimicking the effects of cortisol, which is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a strong anti-inflammatory hormone to help your dog’s body minimize the effects of inflammation and other patterns related to stress caused by histamine and other pro-inflammatory substances.
But because steroids come with unpleasant side effects, they are only recommended for short-term treatment. Don’t be hesitant to use steroids because of the stigma—they can be very effective even in small doses and help relieve an itchy pet.
The most common oral steroids prescribed for dog allergies are Prednisone & Temaril-P (trimeprazine with prednisolone).
Prednisone For Dog Allergies
Type: Steroidal Anti-inflammatory | Prescription: Needed | Form: Tablet | Treats: All Allergies | Price: $3.30 – $18.00
Steroid hormones such as prednisone treat dogs suffering from allergies and various other diseases such as Addison’s. Furthermore, it can help ease the pain associated with inflammation from allergies.
Multiple doses of this highly effective steroid are available in uncoated oral tablets of 1mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, and 50 mg. This medication acts quickly. You should see improvement in clinical signs in about 1 to 2 hours, but the active substance is released beginning approximately 4 hours after intake. Inflammation and allergies should subside within several days when Prednisone is used. Often, the prescription is a tapering dose that reduces over 10 to 14 days.
Because Prednisone affects virtually all of the immune system, it targets almost every body system as necessary22. This is why they can be used to treat any type of dog allergic reaction, including severe pollen allergies and skin allergies, such as eczema.
Prednisone is a corticosteroid medication that blocks the inflammatory pathways and ultimately inhibits (reduces) the production of substances (cytokine) that trigger allergies and inflammation in your pup. This drug works on the immune system to help relieve swelling, redness, itching, allergic reactions, dermatologic diseases, hives, and more23.
If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, and if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose missed, give the next dose at the scheduled time, and continue with your regular schedule. Your pet should never receive two doses at once or extra dosages.
It’s been shown that prednisone at 0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg per day in one or divided into two doses improves clinical signs of dogs with severe or extensive atopic dermatitis (AD)21. Additional studies, which used prednisone compared to oclacitinib (Apoquel), have confirmed the rapid efficacy of oral glucocorticoids to treat canine AD.
Prednisone should be administered by mouth (orally), ideally with food, to avoid stomach upset. It is often recommended to start at a higher dose and decrease the dose gradually. But dosage should be determined by your vet.
When dogs take Prednisone, it is rapidly converted to prednisolone in the liver. Do not use prednisone in dogs or pets with liver dysfunction. Ask your vet about Prednisolone instead.
Always try to use the lowest possible dose of corticosteroids to control the condition under treatment. The reduction of dosage should be gradual since treatment complications are dependent on the size of the dose and the duration of treatment. Never stop its use abruptly unless specified by your veterinarian. Dogs with diabetes, heart or vascular disease, other types of infections, osteoporosis, cataracts, high blood pressure, or kidney disease should be evaluated by your vet first. Exercise extreme caution when using prednisone in pregnant, lactating, or young dogs.
Prednisone Dog Side Effects
Possible short-term side effects include stomach upset and increased thirst, urination, and/or appetite. When dogs have used prednisone at high doses and/or for long periods risk of significant side effects include high blood pressure, sudden weight gain, panting, hair thinning, fatigue, muscle weakness, induced diabetes, or Cushing’s disease. Altered behavior and aggression may be a side-effect.
Type: Steroidal Antihistamine | Prescription: Needed | Form: Tablet | Treats: All Allergies | Price: $28.20 – $56.40 for 30 or 60 tablets
Another top allergy medicine for dogs is called Temaril-P.
But, what is Temaril-P for dogs?
Manufactured by Pfizer, Temaril-P is a combination of two different drug types, trimeprazine tartrate (a kind of antihistamine) and prednisolone (a corticosteroid). Temaril-P offers more comprehensive relief with typically fewer side effects than your typical corticosteroid like Prednisone because the steroid content is lower. For this reason, Temaril-P is another popular choice to treat dog allergies effectively.
Trimeprazine tartrate (TT) is an antihistamine that reduces the body’s natural allergy response to allergens by blocking Histamine, the chemical the body releases when the immune system is defending against an allergen. It effectively treats food allergies, inhalant allergies, seasonal (pollen allergies), cough, and flea allergies. Essentially, TT tricks the body into thinking that it has already responded to an allergen. Rather than eliminating the allergy, the body stops responding to it.
This drug provides a 3-way therapeutic effect because the Temaril-P formula combines the antipruritic (itching) and antitussive (cough) action of trimeprazine with the anti-inflammatory action of prednisolone (glucocorticoid steroid/antiallergic drug).24
It’s also a great alternative to relieve irritation of the throat that causes coughing from allergic bronchitis.
Temaril-P should start to work within hours of the first dose. During the initial phase of treatment, the effect should last 12 hours and become longer as therapy progresses. Administer with food to decrease the chances of side effects.
Do not use Temaril-P in animals with tuberculosis, peptic ulcer, viral or fungal infection, and Cushing’s syndrome. Temaril-P should not be given to dogs that are pregnant or that are diabetic.
Temaril-P Dog Side Effects
Trimeprazine can cause drowsiness, tremors, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. It can also lead to unbalanced sodium and potassium levels. Most of Temaril-P’s adverse effects are attributable to corticosteroids (prednisolone). These include suppressed adrenal cortical function, delayed wound healing, vomiting, diarrhea, osteoporosis, Cushing’s disease, elevated levels of SGPT and SAP, and vomiting and diarrhea (occasionally bloody).24
Best Antihistamine For Dogs With Allergies
Looking for the best non-prescription allergy medicine for dogs? Several over-the-counter (OTC) human antihistamines can help relieve dog allergy symptoms.
Although antihistamines are not as effective as nonsteroidal immunosuppressants and corticosteroids, they have significantly fewer side effects. We advise getting your veterinarian’s approval before administering OTC antihistamines for dogs.
Remember, antihistamines are not appropriate for emergency use, such as during a life-threatening allergic reaction. Studies have shown that antihistamines are only effective between 25% to 54% of the time.21
A study at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital of the University of California where 178 of 271 dogs with atopic dermatitis were prescribed antihistamines, revealed that only 54% of dogs given antihistamines responded favorably to these treatments, with 27% of the responses rated as good and 27% rated as moderate.26 However, anecdotal evidence and survey research suggests that antihistamines are good options for dog allergy relief.27
Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is the most popular. Other safe antihistamines for dogs include Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine).
And because dogs exhibit varying reactions to different antihistamines, if your dog has not seen any improvements after two weeks, you need to try other antihistamines before determining that they are not effective in your dog.
Antihistamine Side Effects In Dogs
Antihistamines are usually safe but can make some dogs drowsy and others hyperactive. As with any drug, there is always a chance of side effects. The common side effects of dog antihistamines include lethargy, dry mouth, and urinary retention. Vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite are also possible.
What Antihistamine Is Best For Dogs?
Whether you need the best antihistamine for dogs with skin allergies, itching, or any other allergy symptoms, these are your top options.
PRO TIP: Use peanut butter, pill pockets, or some other trick to get your dog to take antihistamine tablets as they are a bit bitter.
Benadryl For Dogs With Allergies
Benadryl is considered safe for dogs and cats and is commonly used in veterinary clinics across the country. Benadryl, also known by its generic name, diphenhydramine. Know that Diphenhydramine is a first-generation ethanolamine-derivative antihistamine. This class of antihistamines can cross the blood-brain barrier, leading to their high effectiveness and increased side effects than other antihistamines.
The American Kennel Club says that if your dog suffers from mild-to-moderate allergies, Benadryl is a great medication to use.25
Benadryl for dog allergies works by blocking H1 receptors to keep histamines at bay, reducing symptoms of allergies. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM at PetMD, says the drug is “well-tolerated and has a wide safety margin” for use on dogs. Vets normally recommend it for environmental allergies and allergic reactions to insect bites or stings and other common dog allergy symptoms like sneezing, hives, and itchiness.
Just be aware that Benadryl has sedative properties, so your dog could get very drowsy. Some Benadryl formulas contain Xylitol, which is deadly to dogs. Avoid formulas with dyes. You may also want to stick to the children’s formula of Benadryl as the adult version contains alcohol, which is toxic to dogs.
Benadryl Dog Dosage
The correct dosage of Benadryl for dogs depends on the dog’s weight. But, generally, vets recommend 1 milligram per pound of body weight, given twice daily. For easier dosing, you can use the liquid formula of Benadryl. It’s easier to measure.
Benadryl is not advised to use on dogs with high blood pressure, seizures, bladder issues, lung disease, or glaucoma. It may negatively interact with other medications.
Claritin For Dogs With Allergies
The best thing about Claritin is that it’s a “second-generation” antihistamine, so it doesn’t usually cause drowsiness as “first-generation” antihistamines like Benadryl. In fact, Claritin is the strongest medication in the class, which has made it the go-to choice for doctors and veterinarians.
Loratadine does not cross the blood-brain barrier and does not cause drowsiness. It also is much longer-lasting than some of the classic antihistamines in use.28
Always check the label on the Claritin. Some versions (Claritin D) are made with pseudoephedrine, a decongestant. Decongestants are extremely toxic to dogs, so you’ll want to be careful to avoid such formulations. Claritin also comes in a quick-dissolve form, but that may contain xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs.
The safest option is the original Claritin product. The regular children’s formula is also safe, but you need to adjust the dosage accordingly. It comes in tablet and liquid form; either is good.
Like all antihistamines, loratadine works by blocking the effects of histamine in the body, thus blocking the allergic reaction.
Claritin Dog Dosage
Approximately 0.1 to 0.5 milligram/pound of body weight, given once to twice daily.
Loratadine can be given with or without food. Because Loratadine has been known to decrease tear production in humans, use it with caution in dogs with dry eyes. Ketoconazole (an antifungal) and erythromycin (an antibiotic) increase loratadine levels with concurrent use. Do not use these medications together.
Zyrtec For Dogs With Allergies
Zyrtec for dogs is a popular prescription for canines suffering from allergic reactions like itchy skin, and it doesn’t have the effect of leaving your pet sedated and lethargic.29
The active ingredient in Zyrtec is cetirizine, which veterinarians deem safe when administered appropriately. Unlike Benadryl, drowsiness with Zyrtec is often very rare. In fact, research shows that oral cetirizine is effective at preventing cutaneous allergic reactions without any obvious adverse effects in dogs.30
Patty Khuly, DVM from PetMD, says Zyrtec seems to help quite a bit, far more than Benadryl’s diphenhydramine.
One study of dogs with atopic dermatitis found that Zyrtec reduced itching in 18% of the dogs studied. According to a more successful study with a 100% efficacy rate, dogs who consumed Zyrtec before receiving histamine injections had less inflammation around the injection site than those who did not consume it. A separate study found that the active ingredient in Zyrtec was notably more effective than Benadryl at minimizing the body’s immune response.30,32,33
Never, ever use Zyrtec-D. It contains pseudoephedrine, a decongestant that’s incredibly harmful to dogs and can cause high blood pressure, seizures, and even death.
Zyrtec Dog Dosage
Generally, a dose of Zyrtec for dogs is determined by their size and allergy being treated. Approximately 0.5 mg/pound of body weight is normally recommended, given once to twice daily. However, always ask your vet.
Dogs struggling with kidney or liver problems could worsen symptoms if given Zyrtec. Nursing or pregnant dogs should not consume Zyrtec. The medication can be passed onto puppies through the mother’s milk.
Never give Zyrtec to dogs who are allergic to antihistamines, especially those with cetirizine or hydroxyzine in them. This may cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylactic shock.
Hydroxyzine For Dogs
Can I give my dog hydroxyzine?
Yes. While less commonly used because a prescription is needed, Hydroxyzine is one of the most effective antihistamines available for dogs. Common brand names for hydroxyzine are Atarax (Hydroxyzine HCl), Vistaril (Hydroxyzine pamoate). It can treat all the common allergic conditions.
How long does it take for Hydroxyzine to work on dogs? It usually takes effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, and improvement in clinical signs should follow.
Hydroxyzine For Dogs Dosage
How much hydroxyzine can I give my dog? Dosing is very similar to Benedryl at 1mg per pound body weight 2 times daily. Talk to your vet.
Sentry Allergy Relief For Dogs Review
Sentry is another Antihistamine available for dogs. Sentry allergy relief dog tablets contain the same active ingredient as Benadryl (Diphenhydramine HCl), so it is essentially the same, just under a different brand name.
Dog Antihistamine Dosage Chart
This dog antihistamine dosage chart provides the most common dosages prescribed.
|Benadryl||1 milligram/pound||2 times per day|
|Claritin||0.1 to 0.5 milligram/pound||1 to 2 times daily|
|Zyrtec||0.5 mg/pound||1 to 2 times daily|
|Hydroxyzine||1 milligram/pound||2 times per day|
|Sentry||1 milligram/pound||2 times per day|
Zyrtec vs Claritin For Dogs
Which is better for dog allergies Claritin or Zyrtec? Zyrtec and Claritin are second-generation antihistamines, so they are evenly matched when it comes to not making your dog drowsy or sleepy. As far as effectiveness, a study found that both drugs are absorbed into the bloodstream at equal rates within 1–2 hours of taking the med. Both drugs have few side effects and are generally recognized as safe for most dogs. They work the same way once in your pet’s body. Claritin is more likely to interact with other drugs than Zyrtec because it is broken down in the liver by enzymes that other drugs can inhibit. In contrast, Cetirizine (Zyrtec) is not significantly metabolized in the liver.
Benadryl vs Zyrtec For Dogs
The biggest difference between Benadryl vs. Zyrtec is that Benadryl is a first-generation antihistamine, meaning is more likely to make your dogs drowsy and have more side effects than Zyrtec, a second-gen antihistamine. Research shows that oral cetirizine effectively prevented cutaneous allergic reactions without any obvious adverse effects in dogs. In contrast, oral Diphenhydramine (the active ingredient in Benadryl) failed to show an inhibitory effect.30
Claritin vs Benadryl For Dog
Is Claritin or Benadryl better for dogs? While both can alleviate allergy symptoms, Claritin is the safer option, given it’s a second-generation antihistamine. Claritin is usually recommended over Benadryl because Claritin has less sedating side effects. Claritin only needs to be taken once daily, which may be preferred for some dog owners.
So which Antihistamine Is Best For Dog Allergy?
Based on our research and scientific evidence, Hydroxyzine is the best antihistamines prescription option for dogs. The best OTC antihistamine for dog allergies is Zyrtec or Claritin.
In fact, Hydroxyzine and Cetirizine have demonstrable anti-histaminic action in the dog and should be the preferable antihistamine in this species, says the International Task Force on Canine Atopic Dermatitis.21
For optimal efficacy, antihistamines should be used as preventatives, and they should preferably be given on a continuous daily basis. If antihistamines don’t work for your dog, it’s time to consider another treatment option.
Best Allergy Medicine For Dogs Over The Counter
Looking for the best non-prescription allergy medicine for dogs?
If you are concerned about giving your dog pharmaceutical drugs, there are plenty of safe and effective alternatives over the counter. They come in several forms, from dietary supplements, oils, and balms to shampoos, allergy chews, topical sprays, and more.
Meet the best over-the-counter allergy medicine for dogs that can help your pup prevent or treat mild canine allergies.
Talk to your veterinarian before using these products. You need to be certain none of these products will not interfere with any other medication your dog may be taking or any health conditions.
CBD oil is used in dogs because of its anti-inflammatory properties and other incredible benefits such as reducing anxiety, arthritis, chronic pain, improving health, and many other dog health issues, said Dr. Jerry Klein, the Chief Veterinary Officer of American Kennel Club (AKC).
A study indicated that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) might target immune-mediated and inflammatory disorders such as allergic skin diseases in dogs such as atopic dermatitis (an itchy skin disease in dogs).34 Further research showed that hemp seed oil increased many essential fatty acids in the skin and relieved atopic dermatitis symptoms.35 In fact, another research found that ECS plays a key role in maintaining skin “homeostasis,” or the balance of skin cells and their proliferation, survival, and more.36
Aside from helping with allergies and relieving inflammation of the skin, CBD can help promote healing through healthy sleep patterns and calmness. Unlike shampoos or medications, these benefits are delivered without harsh chemicals or potential side effects.
Dog Allergy Supplements
Dog allergy supplements exist. Here are some of the best options.
Pet Honesty offers excellent, all-natural daily supplements for dogs. They all contain natural ingredients like colostrum, turmeric, salmon oil, and probiotics to address allergies and digestion effectively without GMOs, preservatives, or common dietary allergens. Their top options include Allergy Support soft chews, Allergy SkinHealth soft chews, and Senior Allergy Support.
Another top-rated alternative is Zesty Paws Aller-Immunity Bites. These delicious grain-free soft chews contain EpiCor fiber, fish oil (with omega 3 fatty acids), colostrum, astragalus root, probiotics, apple cider vinegar, and other immune-boosting ingredients.
Dog parents report that Vet’s Best Seasonal Allergy Relief has worked in relieving allergies in their dogs.
There is a reason why many of the OTC dog allergy treatments mentioned above contain bovine colostrum because it helps reduce itchiness and allergies in dogs. Colostrum, a type of pre-milk produced by mammals, contains antibodies and compounds that help reduce inflammation and overactive immune response. This is one of the highly-rated colostrum for dogs supplements out there.
Best Omega 3 For Dogs With Allergies (Omega-3, Fish-Oil Fatty Acids)
Does fish oil help dogs with allergies?
The nutrients in fish oil include omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA and EPA are anti-inflammatory agents, and therefore can be used to treat various inflammatory conditions like allergies (atopy). Recent research shows fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects in animals.37
Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Oil Supplement is one of the best fish oil for dogs with allergies. For optimal absorption, all of their omega-3 fish oils are in the triglyceride molecular form (the form naturally found in fish). Another great option is Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for dogs. For pet parents looking for an alternative to oil, you can also give capsules in the form of Omega-3 fish oil chews.
Not only can fish oil help with canine allergies, but it can improve a dog’s skin and coat which helps skin cells maintain a strong barrier against allergens. It also promotes a healthier heart, joints and could even lower cancer risk.
Ask your vet for a specific dosage for your dog.
Probiotics For Dog Allergies
Dogs who are given probiotics daily are less likely to suffer allergies like digestive issues, itching, and scratching.
Gut and digestive health are important. Unhealthy or inflamed intestines with abnormal gut bacteria can contribute to allergies. Dog probiotic supplements fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your dog’s body, effectively combating potential allergies.
Research evidence demonstrates the potential of probiotics for dogs with allergies. One study showed that puppies exposed to probiotics (from 3 weeks to 6 months) had significantly lower allergen-specific IgE (Immunoglobulin E) when house dust mites. In other words, the puppies that consumed probiotics had a milder reaction to allergens compared to puppies not exposed to probiotics.
The same puppies were then followed up 3 years after Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG (LGG) discontinuation. LLG is a common probiotic strain in probiotics supplements. When the pups were re-exposed to house mites, results showed that the clinical scores after exposure to the allergen were higher (more severe) in the non-probiotic exposed litter. The study showed that early exposure to probiotics has long-term clinical and immunological effects, significantly decreases allergies, and prevents Atopic Dermatitis in canines.38,39
We recommend NomNom Probiotic Support which contains 7 probiotic strains that can keep allergies at bay and combat diarrhea, loose stool, improve gut health, bad breath, constipation, digestive issues, and more.
Topical Allergy Medicine For Dogs
You’ll find many over-the-counter products for topical allergy relief for dogs.
Topical options are applied directly to a part of the body that’s been affected. Here are some of the most effective options.
Dog Allergy Spray
Dogs suffering from skin conditions caused by foreign guests can use BEXLEY LABS Curaseb’s medicated spray treatment. This product contains chlorhexidine, ketoconazole, aloe vera, and vitamin E to nourish and soothe various skin irritations. It can relieve itchy and inflamed skin due to allergies, hot spots, skin infections, and more. It’s non-toxic, and parents report it helps with allergies. Veterinary strength medicated formula and made in the USA in federally regulated.
Dog Allergy Balm
Alternatively, you can try the Skin Soother balm from the Natural Dog Company for treating hot spots, rashes, cuts, burns, surgical wounds, mange, and other skin issues. It’s made with soothing ingredients like lavender, chamomile, cocoa butter, and vitamin E that help to reduce itchiness, swelling, dandruff, and redness caused by seasonal allergies. This anti-inflammatory dog skin irritation treatment is formulated to prevent and treat a plethora of skin irritations.
Dog Allergy Cream
ZYMOX Veterinarian Topical Cream cream for dogs provides relief. It helps manage itchy allergy skin and other skin conditions common in pets, including cuts, wounds, hot spots, eczema, pyodermas, and itchy allergy skin can affect their faces, body, paws, and skin folds.
It contains 1% Hydrocortisone, a common steroid (corticosteroid) medicine used in many prescription dog allergy meds. Hydrocortisone calms down your body’s immune response to reduce pain, itching, and swelling (inflammation). They also offer a healing skin cream without hydrocortisone for pets sensitive to corticosteroids, such as pregnant or lactating females, rabbits, and exotics.
It’s made with no harsh chemicals and ingredients that are safe if licked after application; for dogs of all ages.
Dog Allergy Shampoo
If your pup has skin allergies and/or seasonal allergies, washing allergens off your dog is very helpful in preventing itching, especially if they go outside and roll in the grass.
Bathing your dog periodically with an ich relief dog shampoo like Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Dog Shampoo can often remove allergens without drying out your dog’s skin. It’s a veterinarian-formulated blend of essential oils and key natural ingredients (oatmeal, D-limonene, and tea tree oil) to calm down and moisturize itchy red skin.
You could also try using a shampoo designed to reduce itching, such as Nootie Medicated Anti-Itch Dog Shampoo. Veterinary shampoos and conditioners like Virbac Epi-Soothe Shampoo are also formulated to reduce itching and dryness quickly.
PetHonesty offers an Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo that contains chlorhexidine and ketoconazole to ease skin itching and improve skin inflammation, rashes, hot spots, skin infections, and wounds.
PRO TIP: When bathing a dog for allergies, rinse the shampoo with cool water. Hot water can dry their skin and make the itching worse.
Allergy Relief Dog Wipes
Dog wipes are pretty useful for messy adventures at the park, beach, or hiking trail. Take wipes with you wherever you go for a quick clean-up and stopping allergens on their tracks from damaging your dog’s coat and skin.
They can help with itching, dandruff, seborrhea, and hot spots. No water or rinsing required and is it’s safe when used as directed on the pet’s face, ears, paws, tail, and body and on pets that groom themselves.
Hydrocortisone, aloe, tea tree oil, oatmeal, chamomile, or another ingredient that soothes skin irritation and itch is typically found in these products.
Quercetin Dog Allergy
Does quercetin help with dog allergies?
Quercetin is a flavonoid (also called a bioflavonoid) with anti-oxidant, anti-histamine, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies have shown that Quercetin suppresses or moderates inflammation by turning off histamine production. As a result, it has been dubbed “Nature’s Benadryl.” Animal studies showed that quercetin helps treat to combat allergy and associated asthma and respiratory issues involving inflammation.40
Anecdotal evidence from dog parents also reports it as a healthy alternative solution for a dog with allergies.
We like Amazing Nutrition’s Quercetin Bromelain supplement. Quercetin works by suppressing histamine response (which causes allergic reactions), while Bromelain works on an enzyme and protein level, limiting the action of metabolites and neutrophils on inflammation. It may help reduce joint pain and swelling caused due to inflammation as well. Quercetin dog treats are also another option.
Quercetin may help fight against free radicals, promoting cell health and healthy aging. Quercetin isn’t meant to be taken on a long-term basis, and you should consult your vet if you plan to use this supplement—on your dog.
Dog Allergy Shots: Allergen Specific Immunotherapy
Dog allergy shots, also known as Allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT), are considered the most effective treatment for dog allergies.
Immunotherapy is a good alternative for dogs who don’t respond well to basic allergy medications or dogs with frequent, severe allergic signs throughout the year. According to Blue Pearl Vet Hospital, ASIT is the only method currently available to help improve the immune system’s health (vs. masking symptoms).
ASIT consists of a series of injections containing small amounts of what the pet is allergic to and gradually increases the dose. This helps the pet build a tolerance to these allergens. ASIT essentially desensitizes your dog to a particular allergen(s), so your dog no longer experiences an allergic reaction to it.
Doses can vary per day, but it’s usually every other day initially and then decreased to once or twice weekly. ASIT can last from 6 to one year before effectiveness can be determined. During this period, your pooch will take meds to control any allergies resulting from the shots.
Dog allergy shot therapy (Hypo- or de-sensitization injections) has a 60% to 80% success rate, making it one of the best allergy reliefs for dogs in the long term. Dr. Scott Miller, from the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, says, “It is the only natural way to truly try to change the immune system’s response to allergens, but it requires a long-term commitment on the part of the pet owner.”42
If your dog doesn’t like shots, the alternative is sublingual immunotherapy under the tongue (SLIT) for short. SLIT is a pump you squeeze into their mouth.
Typically, a veterinary dermatologist will administer Immunotherapy in conjunction with your pet’s general practice veterinarian to ensure continuity of care for your pet.
Speak with your vet about it if you think this is the right approach for your dog.
Aside from conventional allergen-specific immunotherapy, there are other allergy shot options.
Cytopoint Injection For Dogs
Cytopoint is a new allergy medicine for dogs. Cytopoint (aka Lokivetmab) is a small, painless injection that your veterinarian gives under your dog’s skin.
Cytopoint is manufactured by pet pharmaceutical company Zoetis. It’s not an antihistamine, steroid, or immunosuppressant. It’s a biological therapy or a type of non-drug treatment that works like your dog’s immune system.
It contains engineered antibodies, very similar to the antibodies that your dog’s body produces to target bacteria, viruses, and other causes of disease. The antibodies in Cytopoint are designed to target and neutralize the protein (Interleukin 31) that causes your dog to itch due to allergies to things in their environment, atopic dermatitis, or other allergens.44
A single subcutaneous injection of Cytopoint can relieve dog itching for a period of four to eight weeks. The treatment begins working within a day. Usually, Cytopoint injections for dogs are given once every 4 weeks or as needed.
Research shows Cytopoint injection has no adverse effects.45 According to the safety studies submitted for FDA approval, no side effects were reported except for occasional injection site discomfort. More impressively, there were no adverse reactions observed when Cytopoint was combined with steroids, antihistamines, antibiotics, parasiticides, antifungals, vaccines, and many other medications.
Unlike corticosteroids (steroids), Cytopoint does not suppress the immune system, alter hormones, or potentially damage the liver. Cytopoint has a success rate of 75%. Cytopoint is safe to use in dogs of any age.
Though Cytopoint is a relatively new treatment, it’s showing promising results. It’s worth talking to your vet about if interested.
Cytopoint vs Apoquel
Two popular choices for long-lasting allergy relief are Cytopoint injections and Apoquel (oral). Both Apoquel and Cytopoint can effectively be used to remedy canine allergies. Both reduce itching within 24 hours. Contrary to Cytopoint, Cytopoint is a great choice for dogs less than 1 year of age. Cytopoint is a non-drug alternative therapy, so it doesn’t have possible effects on the immune system or other organ systems. Cytopoint is great for dogs with a history of medication side effects. In contrast, Apoquel has a broader spectrum of anti-inflammatory activity than Cytopoint, so it might be more effective in treating dog skin and ear infections. Cytopoint has far fewer side effects than Apoquel.
Epipen (Severe Allergy & Anaphylaxis Shock Injection)
EpiPen is an auto-injectable device that delivers the drug epinephrine. This shot can be easily deployed within a few seconds to counteract a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis.
Dog parents with dogs who have experienced an anaphylactic reaction or suffer from chronic allergies should request Epipen. Your veterinarian can teach you how to deliver the injection in an emergency. It can save your dog’s life in an emergency.
Be sure to inform any new veterinarian of all your dog’s known allergies and corners.
Best Dog Allergy Meds For Specific Needs Or Allergies
What can I give my dog for specific allergies?
While dog allergy meds can treat most allergic reactions regardless of the type of allergy, do you which is best for treating specific symptoms or needs? For instance, what would you give a dog suffering from eye allergies? How would you treat allergies in a pregnant dog?
Let’s look at the top-rated allergy medicine for dogs for specific allergy needs.
NOTE: Always consult with your veterinarian before trying any medication.
Allergy Treatment For Dog Skin
Are you looking for the best allergy medicine for dogs with itchy skin?
According to the systematic review of clinical trials, using essential fatty acids (EFAs) can help with the long-term management of CAD (Canine Atop Dermatitis). Omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and improve the skin’s general condition.
The best antihistamine to manage your dog’s skin allergies is Zyrtec, according to the literature. If your dog’s itchy skin problems are caused by pyodermas (bacterial skin infections or disease that has pus) and not allergies, this type of skin condition does not respond well to allergy meds for dog skin. Instead, for pyoderma skin issues, Curaseb Medicated Chlorhexidine Spray can provide relief.
Itching that occurs year-round and does not respond to cortisone or antihistamines may indicate food allergies or other skin problems. Talk to your vet.
Additionally, medicated bath with medicated or prescription-strength shampoo may decrease discomfort and speed up the recovery time from skin allergies. Weekly to biweekly baths is recommended but talk to your vet first.
Flea Allergy Medicine For Dogs
Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is a leading cause of allergic reactions in dogs.
Flea allergy dermatitis treatment for dogs includes killing the fleas not only on your dog but on all pets in the household and killing fleas in the environment. You can tell fleas have infected your pup is itching, and hair loss occurs from the middle of the back to the tail base and down the rear legs, also known as the flea triangle. Oral and topical flea medications will provide the quickest relief and get rid of these pesky insects.
Spinosad (also known as Trifexis, or Comfortis) can kill all fleas on your dog within 30-60 minutes. It’s the quickest relief. To stop the allergic reaction and provide relief to symptoms from FAD, Benadryl can help.
Once the fleas are dead, you want to bathe the dog to get off all the dead bugs. You can get a medicated shampoo prescribed by your vet or use an over-a-count solution like Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Dog Shampoo. Preventing flea allergy dermatitis is key. You can use a flea and tick dog collar to repel fleas and/or kill them or use a flea repellant solution like TevraPet Activate II flea and tick prevention.
You should talk to your veterinarian about the need for steroids or other meds if flea allergies persist.
Allergy Medicine For Dogs Ears
How can I treat my dog’s ear allergies?
When dealing with chronic dog ear infections due to allergies, it’s best to take your pooch to the vet. The ear canal is a sensitive body part. It contains skin, glands, and fluids. Once your vet determines the source of the allergy, ear infection treatment can take place.
Treatment for a dog ear infection usually involves a thorough but gentle cleaning of the ear (usually under sedation or anesthesia). Depending on the severity of the infection, you may have to return for a few more cleaning sessions. Medications are prescribed based on the results from the culture examination.
For instance, dogs that show pain and discharges alongside ear scratching are typically affected by mites, bacterial infections, yeast, or fungi. In this case, antibiotics, antifungal drugs, and topical medications are prescribed. If the source of ear allergies comes from substances in your dog’s food or environment, the vet may prescribe antihistamines and anti-inflammatories.
Allergy Relief For Dogs Paws
Is your dog licking their paw nonstop? Are you wondering how to treat itchy dog paws?
Your vet may prescribe antibiotics, antifungals, steroids, or antihistamines, depending on whether or not he suspects a bacterial, yeast infection, or allergy infection. The best allergy medicine for dogs licking paws will depend on the underlying cause. But usually, allergy-related paw itching is treated with a combination of therapy like a topical solution and OTC allergy meds like Zyrtec to reduce inflammation and itchiness.
You can give your dog relief with the Dermapaw Dog Skin & Paw Treatment. This OTC treatment helps itchy paws feel better and more comfortable so that your dog can stop licking them. Its natural ingredients make it safe to lick. Ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, emu oil, and mango butter help kill bacterial and fungal (yeast) infections. Dog parents report great success with this product.
Using Petpost Paw Wipes can prevent allergens and bacteria from sticking to their paws while keeping paws clean and itch-free.
Excessive licking and chewing may result in secondary infections like Pododermatitis, so if OTC dog allergy meds don’t work, you need to ask your vet for other alternatives.
Grass Allergy Medicine For Dogs
According to Jeff Levy, DVM, of House Call Vet in New York, NY, the best way to treat mild seasonal grass allergies in dogs is to limit their exposure, keep the grass mowed, and wash and dry their feet when they come inside.42
While some dogs may be allergic to grass, the culprit is not always the grass but pollen in the grass and other plants. These microscopic pollen spores are absorbed by your dog’s skin and nasal passages. This causes grass allergy symptoms to be localized to one or two spots with a dog’s head, face, armpits, abdomen, and feet. Dogs may also experience similar allergy symptoms as humans but not as severe, such as scratchy throats, watery eyes, and runny noses.
If your dog enjoys roll and plays in the grass as most dogs are, the best grass allergy medicine for dogs is prevention. Limiting exposure to grass during pollen season (late spring to early summer) can help.
You can prevent or minimize dog grass allergy symptoms by always wiping down your dog’s feet and legs after being outside. Many veterinarians recommend bathing your pet with anti-itch shampoos and apply an anti-itch spray directly on the affected area. Because grass allergies directly affect your dog’s coat and skin, supplementing their diet with omega-3 (Fish oil) Fatty Acids can strengthen their coats.
If limiting exposure doesn’t adequately manage the allergy symptoms, you can try OTC meds like antihistamines. For more severe cases, corticosteroids or immunotherapy might be required.
Allergy Medicine For Small Dogs
Treating allergy symptoms in small dogs is no different than a medium or large-sized dog. The only difference is that the dosage is much lower due to their smaller size. Small dogs can safely take dog allergy meds. Our recommendations for the best allergy medicine for small dogs will be Zyrtec for over-the-counter and Apoquel if you need a prescription. Be sure always to get your vet’s approval first.
Allergy Medicine For Pregnant Dogs
Giving your dog the wrong medications while pregnant can result in birth defects to the puppies, harm to the mother, or even spontaneous abortion. Avoid dog allergy medications in pregnant and nursing dog mothers. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian if your dog is pregnant and needs allergy relief medications.
Best Allergy Medicine For Dogs Itching
Every allergy medication we have reviewed in this article works great at relieving itchiness caused by allergens.
Our favorite, however, based on our research, include (i) Zyrtec for best OTC for dog itching, (ii) Apoquel for best prescription non-steroidal allergy treatment, (iii) Prednisone for best corticosteroid that relieves itching (iv), and best OTC non-antihistamines for itching is CBD oil.
Allergy Medicine For Dogs Eyes
How to treat dog eye allergies? Although antihistamines provide relief for eye-related allergies in people, antihistamines don’t have the same effect in dogs.43 For mild dog allergy cases, flushing the eyes with sterile saline made for dogs once or twice a day may be enough to remove the allergen and resolve the symptoms.
For severe cases, a pet antimicrobial eyewash can work, but your ver may also prescribe eye drops containing steroids, often the treatment of choice for dogs with allergic conjunctivitis. Steroid-based eye drops need to be used only under your vet’s supervision, or they can cause damage. More severe cases may require the use of oral medications in addition to eye drops.
To better help with recovery, humidify the air can help eye allergy symptoms clear up faster. Furthermore, keeping the area/fur around your dog’s eyes cleaned is key. You can use hypoallergenic dog wipes to remove trapped dust, pollen, or any debris from your dog’s face.
Best Seasonal Allergy Medicine For Dogs
Treatment includes medications such as Apoquel, Atopica, or Antihistamines. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine) have been used for mild seasonal allergies. Frequent bathing is also recommended.
For those with severe allergies, prescription dog allergy medication is usually used and antibiotics/anti-yeast medication for secondary infections. The best treatment is to identify the allergen and avoid it. Other treatment includes immunotherapy (allergy shots), which can make your dog’s immune system less reactive to the allergy-causing substances.
With different seasons come different insects, plants, pollens, and other sorts of other potential allergens. Because of this, part of seasonal allergy treatments may include a deep house cleaning for any mites or fleas or avoiding outside contact with grass for a few weeks. Using a HEPA filter helps pull dust and pollen out of the air.
After a day outside, bathing and keeping fido well-groomed prevents knots of hair that trap dust, bacteria, grass seeds, pollen, and other potential outdoor allergens at bay.
Best Natural Remedies For Dogs With Allergies
Several natural remedies are available if your dog suffers from allergies and you don’t want to use steroids or medications.
Here is a list of the eight organic ingredients (supplements) that can help fight off allergy symptoms.
- Quercetin – Antioxidant, antihistamine, and anti-inflammatory properties
- Bromelain & Papain – Reduces pain and inflammation. Increase the absorbtion of quercetin.
- Oat Baths
- Aloe Vera – Antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory.
- Thyme – Contains flavanoids, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties.
- Chickweed – Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Coconut Oil – Contians lauric acid, great antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.
Be sure to consult with your vet before adding these foods to your dog’s diet or supplement routine. Rely on your vet’s advice for the correct dosage. These are perfect if your dog is allergic to medications or wants to avoid them.
While these may work great for preventive measures and mild allergies, more severe allergies will require medical treatment.
Best Home Remedies For Dog With Allergies
Check these easy home remedies that may help ease your dog’s allergy symptoms.
Whether your dog has skin allergies, flea allergies, or itching, these home remedies can give your dog some natural relief!
Apple cider vinegar spray for dog allergies. Combine 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water in a spray bottle. Spray on the affected area with the solution. If your dog’s paws are irritated or covered in pollen and other substances, soak your dog’s paws in apple cider vinegar and water solution for up to five minutes21. Have your dog wear boots to prevent them from stepping in irritants.
Homemade dog diet for dog allergies. Swapping traditional dog kibble for freshly homemade dog food can alleviate the symptoms associated with doggy food allergies. Fresh dog food delivery services like Nom Nom and The Farmer’s dog make this simple. They cater to allergies and dietary needs your dogs may have.
Chamomile & herbal tea soak for dog allergies. The American Kennel Club says chamomile, calendula, and green have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties and can relieve allergy symptoms in dogs. Let several tea bags steep for 3 minutes in a tub or sink (use lukewarm water). Remove the bags and let your pup soak for at least five minutes. For smaller itchy patches, steep one or two tea bags and pour cooled tea on the affected area. Let it drip dry.
Oatmeal bath for dog allergies. Grind plain oatmeal into a fine powder to sprinkle in your dog’s warm bath. The warm water will draw out the colloidal. Let fido soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Oatmeal is non-toxic, so it’s fine if your dog licks it. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties that can ease redness, swelling, and itchiness and cool your dog’s hot, uncomfortable skin. You can also make an oatmeal paste and spread it on the affected skin.
AVOID oat bath if your dog is itching due to a yeast infection. Oat is a source of carbohydrates, which will only make yeast thrive.
Yogurt for dog allergies. Feeding one or two teaspoons of plain, unsweetened yogurt once a week can aid with digestive-related allergy issues. The probiotic contents of yogurt can help improve gut health and digestion.
Coconut oil for dog allergies. Put coconut oil in an ice tray and freeze it. Once completely solid, use one or two cubes for quick relief to dry skin. Massage the oil into the coat and skin, the affected area. You will notice your dog’s coat improving along with their relief from the constant itching.
NOTE: These dog allergy home remedies are safe for most dogs, but you should always consult your veterinarian before using one of these treatments on your pet.
Best Allergy Medicine For Dogs At Stores
We looked at the top pet retailers in the nation to see what allergy medications they offer. Here are the results.
Allergy Medicine For Dogs Petsmart
Aside from having a short variety of over-the-counter dog allergy supplements and topical treatments, Petsmart does not currently offer any type of vet-prescribed medication for dogs with allergies.
Allergy Medicine For Dogs Walmart
Walmart offers PetArmor Allergy Relief & Antihistamine for Dogs. It provides temporary relief of respiratory allergy symptoms such as itching skin, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. The product contains Diphenhydramine, the same active ingredient as Benadryl. They also offer Pro-Sense Itch & Allergy Solutions, an antihistamine that also has Diphenhydramine.
Allergy Medicine For Dogs Petco
If you like to shop at Petco, this store offers all the most popular allergy medicine for dogs, OTC, and prescription. You can find Apoquel, Atopica, Prednisone, Antihistamine, Hydroxyzine, and more. Petco carries Sentry Allergy relief dog tablets, an antihistamine with the same ingredients as Benadryl. No real difference between the two.
Allergy Medicine For Dogs Target
Target does not offer any vet-prescribed medication for dogs with allergies or OTC medications. We did see a lot over the counter natural supplements and topicals like sprays.
Best Allergy Medicine For Dogs Amazon
If you are looking for the best allergy medicine for dogs on Amazon, this article has listed them all. However, Amazon does not offer prescription-based medicine for dog allergies. Chewy is the best alternative for allergy meds that need prescriptions.
Learn in-depth, key information about dog allergy meds.
Allergy Medicine For Dogs Dosage
How much allergy medicine to give the dog? Dosage amounts depending on several factors, the condition being treated, size, medical history, type of medicine (i.e., antihistamine, steroids), the severity of symptoms, and more. Each dog requires a unique dosage. It’s not the same administering the same dosage to a pug as a Great Dane. It’s advised not to dose your dog without asking your veterinarian first.
What Is The Safest Allergy Medicine For Dogs?
In terms of side-effect, the safest allergy medicine for dogs is natural supplements or ingredients. Antihistamines are your next safest alternative. Side-effects are rare, and dogs tolerate them well. Next up is prescription meds, where you have two choices nonsteroidal immunosuppressants and corticosteroids. Out of the two, nonsteroidal immunosuppressants are the safest but have more serious side effects than natural OTC and antihistamines. Corticosteroids have the most severe side-effect, and they are only recommended for short-term use.
Liquid Allergy Medicine For Dogs
The benefits of liquid dog allergy medicine are that they do not require much digestion. They are already broken down, so your body receives the nutrients/medication faster.
Below are some of your options by category
- Prednisone liquid
Best Allergy Medicine For Dogs Reddit
There were tons of Reddit threads on dog allergy meds. Here are the cliff notes and the most recommended alternative on the platform.
It seems that a lot of people on Reddit turn to OTC antihistamines, with Benadryl and Zyrtec being one of the most popular options. Apoquel was also mentioned as a great alternative. Some dog parents also recommended a diet switch, and others complained about the high cost of vet-related allergy visits. They also talked about prevention as the best solution. Below are some popular threads.
“Yay, a question I can help with! I have been going through the same issues with my dog, though much less intense than it sounds like your dog’s symptoms are. Apoquel worked amazingly, but yup, expensive (our vet estimated about $50/month for our 80 lb golden mix, though). There are a few over-the-counter options. The three we’ve tried are Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin.“ – Krispyz, Reddit.
“My dog has pollen and flea allergies. We tried Benadryl and Claritin, as instructed by his vet. OTC meds were just a bandaid, though, and a pretty flimsy one at that. The intensity of the symptoms was lower, but they were still there, and the source of the problem wasn’t really being addressed. Now he gets Cytopoint shots and has zero allergy issues.” – _ataraxia, Reddit
“Have you tried anti-fungal wipes for your dog’s paws along with the allergy pills? My dog was an obsessive paw licker. Had her on 4 allergy pills- generic- 2x day per Vet instruction, still licked paws raw. Prescribed paw wipes. Worked like a charm. Neighbors lab had the same issue; got them wipes (Walmart online has them ) worked for their dog. It’s called Mal-A-Ket wipes. Hope this helps your dog!” – Bungeesmom, Reddit
“We got a new bottle of Temaril-P, and her itching is stabilized again. I’m going to pick up some Benadryl this week and try switching her over to see how it works. For what it’s worth, we gave her the Benadryl (generic) for the first time last night. Are you sure about the 10 mg/lb? Our vet told us 25 mg (1 pill) for our ~22lb min pin. Anyways, it seems to be working so far. It seems to have made her a little more sleepy than usual, but her itching totally stopped. She woke up once to itch in the middle of the night, and she stopped after a minute or so.” – HoWheelsWork, Reddit,
Frequently Asked Questions
Following is a list of some common questions we get about dog allergy meds from our readers.
Can I Give My Dog A Decongestant?
Experts do not recommend decongestants for dogs. A decongestant can cause life-threatening symptoms for dogs as well, such as vomiting, tremors, abnormal heart rate, and seizures. Your dog needs to be treated promptly if he accidentally ingests a decongestant (they’re often found in OTC cold and flu medications, particularly those that end in “-D”).
Can Dogs Take Claritin?
Claritin is safe and effective for dogs. Vets generally prescribe Claritin for dogs in a dosage of 0.1 to 0.5 milligrams per pound of body weight once to twice daily. To ensure your dog’s safety, you should consult your vet before giving him any medication. If you administer Zyrtec correctly and under the guidance of your veterinarian, your dog should be fine. It
Can Dogs Take Zyrtec?
Yes, dogs can benefit from Zyrtec antihistamines. Zyrtec is a safe and effective treatment for dog allergies. As much as 0.5 mg per pound of body weight should be administered once to twice daily. Zyrtec is one safest antihistamine for dogs.
Can You Give a Dog Benadryl?
Benadryl is safe when taken as directed by most dogs. It’s a widely popular antihistamine to treat dogs suffering from allergies. It can treat itchiness, hives, swelling, and most allergy symptoms. Since Benadryl is intended for humans, it is important to get the dosage right.
Is Kirkland Allergy Medicine Safe For Dogs?
Yes, Kirkland Signature Allergy Medicine is safe for dogs to use. It has the same active ingredient as Benadryl. Just make sure the dosage is correct and speak with your vet first.
Can Dogs Take Human Allergy Pills?
Yes, dogs can safely take Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and loratadine (Claritin). Even though these are common antihistamines for humans, they work in dogs, and most vets recommend them.
Are Allergy Pills Bad For Dogs?
As with all drugs, allergy pills have side effects. While most vet-prescribed and over-the-counter options are safe, sometimes dogs will react negatively to allergy pills. However, this is rare.
Best Human Allergy Medicine For Dogs
The best human allergy medicine for dogs is antihistamineS. The most popular options are Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and loratadine (Claritin).
How Much Claritin Can I Give My Dog?
Vets generally prescribe Claritin for dogs in a dosage of 0.1 to 0.5 milligram per pound of body weight, given once to twice daily. If your vet recommends a specific amount, you must follow his advice.
Is There a Natural Antihistamine For Dogs?
Quercetin and Bromelain are natural ingredients that have antihistaminic properties. You even find dog treats with both ingredients.
What Is A Good Substitute For Apoquel?
If Apoquel is not working for your dog, Atopica may be a good substitute. Your veterinarian may also recommend trying corticosteroids like Prednisone or Temaril-P. These two are stronger medicines.
Dog Allergy Medicine Allergy Alternatives
There’s no need for your dog to suffer from itchiness and other distressing allergy symptoms with so many treatments available.
We hope that this post has helped you make a more informed decision about the best allergy medicine for your dog. The information and side-by-side comparisons should give you an idea of what’s available, how each product works, and other important considerations.
Remember, dogs react differently to medications. What’s good for one dog may not be appropriate for your canine friend. It may take some time and effort to treatment that works, but also work with your veterinarian.
Consider prevention as the first line of defense against allergens. Pet insurance and other natural treatments like CBD oil for dogs can help keep your dog in good shape and save you some from unexpected vet bills down the road.
Sources and References:  News9,  PetMD  VCA Hospitals  Pet Poison Helpline  Wag  PetMD  PPH  DMV360  Rover  NCBI  DMV 360  NCBI  Veterinary Dermatology Journal  Zoetisus  UW Veterinary Care  Oral Cyclosporine In Dogs  NCSU  PubMed  UW Veterinary Care  Pharmacokinetics In Dog Ciclosporin  International Committee on Allergic Diseases of Animals (ICADA)  PubChem  Stat Pearls  Drugs  AKC: Benadryl  PetMD: Benadryl  Antihistamines In The Management of Canine Atopic Dermatitis  Owner Assessment AD  Veterinary Partner  News9  Effect Of Cetirizine On Cutaneous Allergic Reactions  PetMD: Zyrect  Treatment Of Canine Atopic Dermatitis With Cetirizine  Cetirizine Exposure Study .  CBD Study  PubMeD: CBD  NCBI:CBD  Eicosapentaenoic Anti-Inflammatory Effect  Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology  AVMA  Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response  University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana  PetMed: Grass  Human Allergy: Homoly Modoling  UW Veterinary Care  Dose Trial of Lokivetmab