Apoquel Alternatives

What is Apoquel?

Apoquel is a medicine for animals usually for dogs. The medicine is used to cure a disease called Pruritus or itching in dogs. The important ingredient of the medicine is oclacitinib. The effect of the medicine starts within 4 hours and itching is stopped fully within 24 hours. The drug is prescribed by veterinary doctors for a short term to get rid of allergies and for long term to manage skin allergies. The medicine has to be given to a dog whose age is 12 months or more. The medicine should not be given to breeding, nursing, and pregnant dogs.

Why Apoquel Alternatives?

There are many reasons that the drug can be avoided. Some of them are as follows −

  • It can result in diarrhea

  • Appetite is lost

  • It can lead to ear infections

  • It can cause pneumonia

  • Leukocytes can be reduced

How to choose an Apoquel Alternative?

There are many advantages of Apoquel which should be considered while choosing an alternative. Some of these advantages are listed below −

  • A leading drug for dogs suffering from airborne allergies

  • Dogs can take the medicine even if they are going through other medications

  • Dogs are relieved from itching for a long time

  • Skin inflammation is reduced

Top 10 Apoquel Alternatives

The medicine may not be suitable for some dogs so people can look for alternatives and some of them have been discussed here in detail.

Alternative 1 – Steroids

Steroids are drugs which include different medications like prednisone, methylprednisolone, dexamethasone, and many more. These steroids can be used to treat skin diseases in dogs. If these medications are used for short term, they give good results.


  • Effective for most species of dogs suffering from skin problems

  • It becomes effective quickly after consumption

  • Available at affordable price


  • Drinking water and urination is increased

  • Body systems are disturbed if used for long term

Alternative 2 – Cytopoint

Cytopoint is a drug that can be injected to treat itching problems in dogs. The drug is actually an antibody which destroys cytokines that cause itching. These injections are available with veterinarians only. The drug is effective for 4 to 8 weeks.


  • No need to give any pills

  • Becomes effective within 24 hours

  • Safe for all types of dogs of all ages

  • Skin allergy reduces within 24 hours

  • Need to visit veterinary clinic

  • Less effective for some dogs

Alternative 3 – Atopica

Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressive drug which can be used by both humans and animals. The brand name of this drug is Atopica. The medicine can be used to treat allergies in dogs' skin. The drug is effective and animals get relief from itching and skin allergies. The drug is costly and may lead to stomach upset.


  • Reduces skin allergy quickly

  • Can be used for long term


  • Expensive drug

  • Can result in nausea

  • Immune system is suppressed

  • Dogs can get cancer

  • Dogs having diabetes or kidney disease should not consume it

Alternative 4 – Antihistamines

Antihistamines are an excellent alternative to Apoquel. They are taken in small amounts in comparison to Apoquel or oclacitinib. Medicines that contain antihistamines are Benadryl, Allerga, and Zyrtec. They are available at an affordable price and you can purchase them with any prescription. These medicines are helpful only for those dogs that have mild symptoms


  • Prescription is not required

  • Available at an affordable price

  • Can be used with other medications


  • Effective only in mild cases

  • Can lead to drowsiness

Alternative 5 – Avoid allergens

This is an affordable and easy technique which has to be adopted to help the dogs to get rid of itching. Windows and doors should be closed so that allergens cannot enter. An indoor purifier should be used to purify the air. Dog walk should be scheduled when there is a low amount of pollen in the environment.


  • A good environment reduces allergens and minimizes itching

  • Dogs feel comfortable

  • No drug is needed


  • Dogs may lose freedom

Alternative 6 – Quercetin

Quercetin is an antioxidant extracted from plants. The substance consists of anti-inflammatory properties. The substance is available in many fruits and vegetables. It is a flavonoid which makes it a natural drug. It reduces swelling and inflammation in the skin


  • It protects cells from damage as it is an antioxidant

  • It reduces the symptoms of allergies in dogs


  • The drug is effective for mild symptoms only

  • It takes a long time to become effective

  • Some dogs are unable to tolerate the drug

Alternative 7 – Chamomile

Chamomile is an herb which is used to treat allergies and other diseases. The herb is being used for centuries for the treatment of allergies. It has anti-inflammatory properties which help to relieve the symptoms of allergy. Other ailments that can be treated by this herb are insomnia, anxiety, digestive issues, and many others. Redness and swelling on the skin can be easily reduced.


  • Pets can tolerate the drug easily as there are only a few side effect

  • It is available at an affordable price

  • It can be found in the forms of capsules, essential oils, and tea


  • It is effective for mild symptoms only

  • It may be allergic for some pets

  • A veterinarian has to be consulted before giving the medicine

Alternative 8 – Green Tea

Green tea consists of a lot of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help in boosting the immune system and allergic symptoms can be reduced. Green tea does not have any side effects so its consumption is not harmful. It is available at affordable prices and can be found in any drug and general store.


  • Easily available

  • Boosts immune system

  • Does not have side effects


  • Severe allergy symptoms may not be controlled

  • Not suitable for all species of dogs

  • Shows its effect after a long time and regular consumption

Alternative 9 – Calendula

Calendula is a flowering plant which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The plant is being used for medical purposes for a long time. It has the ability to kill bacteria reduce inflammation, and eliminate the chances of infection.


  • The plant is safe for dogs as it has only a few side effects

  • It can be given through mouth or applied on the skin depending upon the severity of the allergy


  • May not be as effective as Apoquel

  • Take a long time to show effects

  • Not easily available

Alternative 10 – Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are easily available in fish oil. These acids have the ability to reduce inflammation and they can also improve the health of the skin. These acids are natural and safe for the skin of the animals. The symptoms of allergies can be easily removed through the anti-inflammatory properties of the acids.


  • Omega 3 fatty acids are available in the form of supplements

  • Diet of dogs can include fish oil to get these acids

  • These acids have the ability to improve skin health


  • They are less effective in comparison to Apoquel

  • Not suitable for all species of dogs

  • Doctors should be consulted if dogs are on other medication


Apoquel is a drug which is used to treat skin allergies in dogs. The drug is effective and starts showing its effect within 4 hours. There are many side effects of this drug so people use different alternatives which have less side effects. Some are very effective and some of them may not be suitable for all the dogs.

Updated on: 09-May-2023


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