Dog itching can cause stress for the entire family, when your pet gets the need to scratch. As our dogs get uncomfortable, it’s only natural we feel for them and want to help relieve their symptoms. And while antihistamines, such as Benadryl®, have historically been an accessible and easy over-the-counter option for relief, studies have demonstrated that they have little to no effect on skin allergies and dog itchiness.

Is it difficult to treat my dog’s itching?

Itchiness in dogs can be frustrating for dogs themselves, their owners, and even the veterinarian! There are a variety of treatments that could be recommended to you, including:

  • Allergy medications to control itch and skin inflammation
  • Anti-parasite treatments like oral or topical flea/tick preventatives
  • Antibiotics or antifungals to treat the underlying infection(s)
  • Topical therapy like shampoos, conditioners, and sprays

Some causes of dog itching can be easily treated. Fleas make for easy to administer treatment that can be 100% effective. In complicated cases like chronic allergies or secondary infections, it may be more difficult to complete remove the symptom. Even in those cases, treatment options are available to ease the pressure and stress on you and your dog!

Are DIY or Over-The-Counter itch relief options good for my dog?

The ease of access in anti-itch or scratch relief shampoos and sprays found at your pet supply store, or antihistamines at the drugstore, is only countered by their ability to provide only temporary relief. These topical solutions provide small, temporary relief in light itch situations, but are not effective in controlling larger issues, such as allergies. It’s important to let your veterinarian know what you’re providing to your pet, as well as any other relevant medical conditions your dog has, so they can prescribe safe medication for your dog. As always, your veterinarian is the best option – they will work with you to identify underlying causes, and develop treatment strategies for prevention.

What is an antihistamine? Can they be used to help my dog?

Allergies work differently in dogs than they do in people. While histamines cause upper respiratory allergies in people, cytokines cause itchy skin to be present in dogs.

If your dog has underlying allergy issues, antihistamines cannot control the cytokines present in their body that cause inflammation an ditch. In fact, the International Committee on Allergic Diseases of Animals lists antihistamines under “Interventions likely to be of little or no benefit to treat acute flares of canine atopic dermatitis.” These medications can also present some nasty, unwanted side effects, such as trembling, sedation, or panting. They can also put your do at risk for secondary infections or worsening allergies!

What can I use to treat my dog itching?

Once you and your veterinarian have determined and identified what the underlying cause is for your dog’s itch, you can discuss what treatments can work best to counter it. Working together, you can find an anchor treatment (which will control the itch most of the time), and supplement it with other treatment options depending on how your dog responds.

Your veterinarian can help you determine the underlying cause of your dog’s itch and how best to approach treatment and prevention. If you’re concerned about antihistamines, and their possible side effects, it’s best to check in with your veterinarian about proven therapies for relieving allergic itch. Check out our last blog on vet tips for itchy pets for more! By managing your dog’s itch quickly and effectively, you’ll save frustration, time, money, and aggravation on your pet’s behalf!

Save 15% on Dermatological Shampoos this June

Plus! For the month of June, THRIVE PLUS™  members receive 15% off ear cleaners and dermatological shampoos. If your pet is suffering from itchiness, now is the perfect time to visit your local THRIVE Affordable Vet Care.