Pet Prescriptions from Australian Pharmacists

Apoquel and Itchy Skin

Apoquel and Itchy Skin


My dog's got itchy skin.  What are my options?

Dogs itch and scratch for many different reasons and sometimes for absolutely no reason at all. 

Yep, every dog has to scratch at some time…and it’s completely normal.

However if dry, itchy or flaky skin is making your dog uncomfortable and you notice that your dog is chewing and biting to the point of wounding herself, you need to seek veterinary help.

Itchy Skin

Itchy skin or pruritus, the medical term for excessive itching, is one of the most common presenting symptoms at veterinary clinics throughout Australia.

The causes of itchy skin can be complex, but there are two main reasons why dogs itch. 

The first has to do with the condition of your dog’s skin.  Is it too oily?  Is it infected?  Is it dry? Of these three, dry skin is a frequent occurrence.

The second major cause of itchy skin is allergies (flea, environmental, food and contact allergy).

Apoquel and Itchy Skin

What Can I Do About It?

Take your pet to the vet to determine the cause.  Once your vet has identified the cause, treatment can commence.

Treatments can range from topical therapy (for example Revolution for Dogs to fight fleas) and prescription medications (such as Apoquel) to de-sensitisation injections or diet changes.  Antibiotics are also commonly used to address bacterial infections that may develop.

Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Itchy Skin?

Unfortunately you can’t prevent your dog from developing an allergy however there are some things you can do to decrease the severity of their itch.

  • Ensure your dog receives regular parasite control
  • Keep your dog well groomed – excessive and un-kept hair can lead to skin irritations
  • Determine if the scratching is due to a food allergy. ‘Food trials’ are an easy way to ascertain reactions to food allergies and are easy to rule out
  • Seek out veterinary advice early and rule out infection
  • Prescription of strong pharmaceuticals (Apoquel) to get instant relief

Allergies in dogs are very rarely cured however early identification and intervention by your vet helps to keep their itch under control.

Should I Give My Dog Apoquel?

Firstly, always consult your vet if your dog has skin problems or is scratching.

Remember, helping dogs with dermatitis is often a lengthy process of trial and error to find and eliminate the cause(s).

Anti-itching drugs, like Apoquel, can give your dog relief from the misery of dermatitis while that process takes place.

If your dog has reacted badly to steroids or other anti-itching drugs in the past, Apoquel might be the alternative they need. Like all medications, choosing to use Apoquel is a matter of weighing up your dog’s quality of life in the short term and the long term, and trying to make the best choice for your own pet.

And don’t forget, Apoquel is a prescription only drug and should only be given to your dog on the advice of a qualified veterinarian, and with strict attention to their instructions.

What Pet Owners Say About Apoquel


We were prescribed these by our vet for my itchy Labradoodle. They stopped the itching within 48 hours.


Within a week of starting Apoquel, he had his cone off and he looked like a normal dog, which was amazing when for the last 2 years we’d watch him steadily decrease in health every day.


After spending a fortune on different products to try and stop my bulldogs itching skin and paws my vet suggested Apoquel and like a miracle within half an hour of him taking his first tablets he had sloped itching and biting his paws.


Brilliant, so much better than being on steroids his skin and coat are in great shape.

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