Can I Get My Dog Apoquel?

Can I Give My Dog Apoquel?Providing Apoquel to an itchy dog seems very promising if you can get your hands on some! It’s a relatively new product and can often be difficult to obtain due to supply issues.

This FDA-approved medication was developed specifically for canines which is great. People are hearing good things about Apoquel, but there are questions and little known details which we’ll cover here.

If your dog is prone to itchiness, the type linked to allergies, your vet may recommend it. But before managing to get a Apoquel prescription, make an effort to learn about other things you do for your pet’s sake.

Can I Give My Dog Apoquel? Answer: Yes, by prescription

It’s generally better than Prednisone and usually comes with less side effects.

The medical term for itchiness is pruritus which is fairly common in canines. It’s estimated that 10% of dogs suffer from atopic dermatitis. Apoquel, which is administered orally, can effectively treat itchy skin and inflammation problems as they relate to allergies.

Prior to getting a prescription, it may be worth a shot to first try a highly-regarded canine shampoo.

Know the Apoquel Basics

This new drug begins working within 24 hours, as it starts to block your dog’s strong urges to scratch. But understand that Apoquel, also known as Oclacitinib, cannot actually cure allergies. It only treats the resulting symptoms, keeping them under control. Tablets are usually given twice daily, for a couple of weeks, before a reduction to once every day. Your vet will instruct you on how to most effectively use Apoquel.

Allergies & Quality of Life

Canine itchiness is usually the result of dermatitis-type allergies which can affect the skin, resulting in a poor and declining quality of life. It’s a vicious cycle because when a dog scratches, it gradually worsens the condition. The best thing to do is find the underlying reason for your dog’s allergies, if at all possible. A good investigative effort is needed!

Precautions & Bad Reactions

One of the biggest benefits of Apoquel is that it works concomitantly, meaning it interacts safely with other treatments. However, you should never provide it to a dog that’s under 1 year of age or those breeding, pregnant or lactating. Further, Apoquel isn’t meant for dogs with serious infections because cause complications.

Once Apoquel has been administered you’ll need to closely observe your pet dog for symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite and lethargy. Although such problems typically resolve themselves without incident, they do need to be looked after just in case symptoms worsen.

Dosage and Other Info

Zoetis, the drug’s manufacturer, has had trouble keeping up with Apoquel’s high demand. Shortages are unfortunately expected to continue. This may be a good indication of this Janus kinase Inhibitor’s effectiveness but it also shows how common pruritus is among pet dogs.

Carefully follow your veterinarian’s dosage recommendation. If you wish to do a cross-check, know that proper dosage is primarily based on your dog’s weight. Check out this handy Apoquel dosing chart for reference.

The Prescription Problem

Apoquel cannot be purchased over-the-counter and the supply is tightly controlled. It’s only available through a veterinary prescription. One drawback to this situation is that once your dog goes on Apoquel, they may have to come off of it due to a awful supply shortages.

Many dog owners have been frustrated about Zoetis’s handling of this sought-after product’s availability. Hopefully the situation will change going forward, but until then you’ll need to rely on your vet’s ability to get a steady supply.

Conclusion on Apoquel

Apoquel may be the itch solution your dog needs. Talk with your vet about the precautions mentioned here as well as supply concerns to ensure consistent treatment. Apoquel works well but first try to find and eliminate the source of your dog’s skin allergies without meds. You may see results after changing their diet or avoiding certain indoors and outdoors elements. An antibacterial, anti-fungal pet shampoo could also work wonders.

Add Your Own Answer to the Question Can Dogs Take Apoquel? Below

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Cachia January, 2016

My dog took Apoquel and in two days he was dead! The vet said it was not the pill but I find that hard to believe. He was only 5 years old and healthy.


Mary January, 2016

This is the answer to all my dog’s problems. She’s now able to to stop itching her body so that there are no sores. She plays, jumps and is a very happy dog. I’m so thankful as we were at the end of our rope. There didn’t seem to be an answer for her and then this came along.


Sandra December, 2015

Our vet has just put Molly (Shih Tzu) on Apoquel and her constant itching, scratching, licking stopped almost immediately. I do worry about side effects but she got so bad no one could get any sleep, especially Molly. We’ve only been given a 2 week supply so I wonder if we have to wait and see what happens after this. We don’t want to go backwards!


Judy December, 2015

Will my dog have to keep on taking Apoquel forever or the the itching cycle be broken by the 10 day use?


Marilyn November, 2015

My dog Alex has been on everything to stop the allergies. Yesterday my vet gave me Apoquel to try for 2 weeks. It is day two now, and his ear swelled up like a balloon and he won’t stand up. I am thinking this may be a side effect, but will call my vet tomorrow morning. This is my last resort. If it does not work, he will have to go back to the steroids. He bites and scratches so much that he bleeds and then his skin turns black. Also his hair falls out and ear infections set in. I feel bad for him and I am hoping this med works.


Sheena November, 2015

My 9.5 year old Beagle has been on a daily dose of Apoquel for almost 2 years. This drug has been miraculous for us. I have my dog back. He’s happy, healthy and full of mischief! His dermatitis is severe and through the years we have tried everything such as anti-histamines, immunotherapy injections (skin testing here was useful as we discovered his main allergen was house-dust mite), Cyclosporine, steroids, all the lotions and potions. Steroids and cyclosporin worked but the side-effects were awful. Nothing else made much of a difference.

I have a hep-filter vacuum and we disposed of as much soft-furniture as possible. Also, we confined him to the back of the house with wooden floorboards and leather sofas. I washed his bedding every two days and boil-washed it once a week. I treated his ears every day and gave him a Malaseb bath twice a week. He was on monthly immunotherapy injections and regular attempts of Cyclosporin or steroids when it got really bad. But we considered the side-effects worth it for some temporary relief.

But despite all this, there were times when his quality of life was so badly affected, that we wondered if we were being cruel to keep trying. Within a day or two of taking Apoquel, my boy was improving. After a week, he was almost completely better. His redness had gone, broken skin had healed and his yeast patches had disappeared. He got his energy back because he wasn’t up all night scratching. He was the way he used to be as a pup.

Our local vet has been excellent – doing her very best to maintain the supply during times when it was hard to get. My dog has yearly blood tests to monitor how he is doing, and all is well so far. There may be long-term effects we are not yet aware of, but I don’t care. My boy has been given (so far) two years of health, and nothing else did that for him.


Linda October, 2015

My dog has suffered for 4 years by getting shots that only last for a day or two. This year was much worse than the others. The groomers gave me a handout for Apoquel and I went directly to his vet for the pills. Nearly all the redness was cleared up in one day. The itching too, a couple of days. Finally we can sleep through the night.


Tracy October, 2015

I have a 2 year old Black Lab mix that has suffered with allergies since we rescued him from a shelter where he was literally scratching all of his fur and skin off. The shelter said, being the runt of the litter, his kennel mates were picking on him and that’s what caused it. He has pretty much been on and off Temaril-P since we got him, which as a steroid and not great for internal organs. It also causes him to be lethargic and sleep most of the day.

Our vet suggested Apoquil and it worked wonders. We noticed the itching subside within the first 2 days. He was on it for a month and did unbelievably well! The problem is the same as many of you, the vet is on back-order and doesn’t know when more will be coming in. I have read a few articles stating that the manufacturer purposely holds it back to create more demand. People naturally want what they can’t have.

Any thoughts on this? I’m not sure when we will be able to get him back on it and even then, will it be for a short time? We he have to suffer again, in a vicious circle?


Jonathan July, 2015

My dog is a Labrador Staffie mix and has been suffering for months, desperately scratching and gouging her skin. She has been absolutely cured after just 10 days on Apoquel. I can’t believe it, she’s like a new dog. The problem now is getting more tablets as the vet has none at present.


Dennis June, 2015

We have a 6 year old mixed Lab that, without Apoquel, is suffering from itching and loss of hair. This, in turn, causes anxiety in the dog from not having relieve from the symptoms. When she is on Apoquel she is a new dog. Unfortunately, we can only get it on a limited basis so the dog’s health is in a constant sates of flux.

I do not understand why Zoetis can not produce enough. I have worked for a pharmaceutical company for 32 years and find this situation to be unacceptable. There are many pet owners going through the same, no supply of medication for their pets. The FDA should be allowing another supplier to manufacture the equivalent.


Judi June, 2015

I have a 6 year old Beagle that had some itching problems, nothing severe. He went to the vet a happy, healthy, full of life dog and now is very sick. The veterinarian recommended Apoquel and the first couple of days it seemed to help. Now 2 weeks later, I have a dog that is lethargic, can’t jump up on the couch and can’t even come up one step into the house.

He has been off of it for 3 days and is not much better. This drug is too new and, if you do research, some of the test dogs had to be euthanized because of the side effects. Don’t give your dog Apoquel, it may kill them!


Bobbie June, 2015

Thank you for sharing and I’m so sorry this happened to you and your baby. This is why I research everything before trying it. I’m not giving my baby boy this stuff!


Hilary September, 2015

I was saddened to read your comment but have to say I have experienced the complete opposite. My 14 year old Westie who was diagnosed with chronic renal failure 18 months ago has been taking Apoquel for over a year without any side effects. He was at the point of ripping and scratching lumps out of himself which were then becoming infected due to the urea in his saliva. So we felt we had nothing to lose. My little lad is now living the itch-free life he has been waiting for and he has more energy, eats better, plays and runs. He is my inspiration.


Snoopy January, 2016

What was the dose they gave to your dog? My vet prescribed this to my dog 16mg twice a day for 1 week. I think it is too much because he is an 11 pound Toy Poodle. Thank you.


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