Apoquel Usage in Canines: Exploring Potential Side Effects and Safety

Apoquel, a daily oral medication prescribed to dogs experiencing allergy symptoms like itching and skin irritation, is a favored choice among veterinarians for its rapid relief. When your canine companion suffers from allergies, it’s crucial to identify and address the symptoms early. In this article, we’ll delve into what Apoquel is, its prescription, potential side effects, and how to administer this treatment, helping you make an informed decision regarding your dog’s well-being.

Understanding Apoquel

Apoquel (oclacitinib tablets) is an oral medication prescribed by licensed veterinarians and has aided over 10 million dogs. These fast-acting tablets offer effective itch control, and your vet will specify the appropriate dosage after an evaluation. Apoquel is commonly used to combat allergy symptoms, offering quick relief, often within 4-24 hours.


Apoquel is prescribed to treat itching by inhibiting pruritogenic and proinflammatory cytokines, addressing allergies at a cellular level. It reduces your dog’s scratching, facilitating skin healing and reducing inflammation. This medication is suitable for allergies like flea allergies, food allergies, contact allergies, and atopic dermatitis.

Potential Side Effects

While most owners report no significant side effects, Apoquel may cause minor issues like vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, or increased thirst. However, it’s important to monitor your dog for more severe side effects, including serious infections, demodicosis, skin masses, cancer, and changes in blood cell count.

Safety of Apoquel

Apoquel is generally well-tolerated by dogs and recommended by veterinarians for allergy relief. It’s safe for use when prescribed by a vet. Unlike other allergy treatments that may linger in the system, Apoquel exits the body relatively quickly. However, it’s not suitable for puppies or pregnant, lactating, or breastfeeding dogs.


Vets often recommend twice-daily Apoquel for up to 14 days, followed by once-daily maintenance therapy. The correct dosage depends on your pet’s individual needs and should be determined by your vet.


Apoquel is administered orally and can be given with or without food, offering an easier and more affordable option compared to injections.


Alternative allergy medications include antihistamines like Benadryl and Zyrtec, steroids (oral or topical), and immunotherapy for atopic dermatitis. The choice of treatment depends on various factors, and it’s essential to consult your vet for guidance.

Final Thoughts

Relief from allergies often involves trial and error to find the most effective treatment. Variations among dog breeds, sizes, allergy severity, and causes contribute to the complexity. Regular vet checkups and close monitoring of your dog’s progress are key to providing fast-acting relief for your loyal companion.

Our licensed vets can offer personalized treatment plans to address your dog’s discomfort effectively. Consult a Dutch vet today to explore whether Apoquel is the right solution for your dog’s allergy symptoms.