Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

15 Dog Owners Share Secrets for Beating Spring Canine Allergies

Written by: Justin Palmer
Justin Palmer is a Certified Pet Food Nutrition Specialist and co-founder of Inspired by his rescued husky, Splash, he dedicated himself to learning about extending both the length and quality of her life. Splash lived and thrived until 18 years old, and now Justin is on a mission to share what he learned with other dog owners.Read more
| Published on April 17, 2022

15 Tips for Springtime Allergies in Dogs

Ah.. springtime. A time for budding flowers, chirping song birds, and allergies. When your dog starts that itch scratch cycle, you’ll do anything to calm their irritation.

Recently we asked our 4 million followers on Facebook to share their top tips for dealing with springtime dog allergies. Here’s some of the best responses we received:

I prefer Cytopoint injections at the vet over Apoquel. A natural vet told me any treatment at skin level is safer than when ingested. They are expensive but really help my goldendoodle’s allergies. – Linda

Cytopoint and apoquel. My boy has so many allergies that he can’t have most treats as they have wheat, lentils, chickpeas, yeast in them. I watch what he eats, wash hands and feet when he comes inside from outside, limit outside exposure, have him lay on a cot outside (allergy to grass). he wears clothes to limit scratching. Constantly checking for hot spots. Have antibiotics on hand for flair ups and drops for ear infections, and saline to rinse eyes. – Amber

Our fluffy English Mastiff started itching bad in the summer. He would get hot spots and itchy ears. Going grain free helped his ears but was still scratching bad to the point Nic losing fur. Vet was going to put him on Apoquel, which I was trying to avoid because of long term use possibly being linked to cancer. Switched him to Chewy’s brand grain free salmon and sweet potato food and he has been great the last few years. And his coat is beautiful. His ears flair up once in a while if he eats grain in a treat Zymox knocks the inflammation right out. – Linda

Our vet prescribed apoquel. After a few months our chihuahua started having trouble with his ears, including wax buildup. He would shake his head frequently. Took him back to the vet several times. The treatments provided temporary relief. I looked up side effects for epoquel on the manufacture website. Wax buildup and ear issues were listed as potential problems. We stopped the epoquel. The wax buildup and ear issues stopped. We are giving him low dose Benadryl for allergies.
We have a good vet, but he should have known about the wax buildup and other ear issues associated with epoquel. – John
I keep a package of baby wipes by the front door and use them every time he’s been outside. He chews his feet in the spring to the point that they rip open. If I miss it and he gets to that point, rubbing alcohol and polysporin does the trick. – Cory
Don’t overgroom or medicate. In 50 years of being a pet owner and trial and error the ones we had more problems with allergies with are the ones we over fussed with like continuous baths or cuts and treating every sniffle or symptom with every vet prescribed drop, cream or pill or special shampoo. We stand by a weekly small container of plain yogurt and if it is dusty or right after mowing a regular water spray down. – Candi
Just be careful with Apoquel. My white American bulldog was diagnosed with cancer last year and had surgery. The first thing the vet told me was to stop Apoquel. Said that if dog has cancer can speed it up. Luckily Cytopoint had worked for him. – Erin
After keeping food journals for years and process of elimination we discovered it wasn’t food allergies, but environmental. I have found a quick hosing off in the sink with just water to remove dust and pollen resulted in a happy healthy dog. I shampoo once a week and wash the pet beds in scent and dye free laundry soap weekly too. – Cathy
My dachshund is allergic to grass in the summer, and with two inch legs, that means his stomach is most affected and he scratches until he bleeds. I literally tried everything, and have found the Apoquel is the only thing that works for him. I only keep him on it during the bad months. – Donna
Allergies are predicted to be really bad this year. Benadryl can help but it really only helps few dogs and you need a lot of it depending on the size of the dog. Zyrtec is safe and can be given (talk to your vet to confirm that this an option that’s best for your pup and dosage). Apoquel and cytopoint work great too. Environmental allergies are tuff to be keep on top of. However, the top reason dogs have full allergic skin reactions is because of flea bites. Using a good flea/tick product year around is very important. I’ve seen this many times, One flea bite can cause a dogs skin to flare and lead into a skin infection. – Emily
We used to deal with such bad seasonal allergies with our old lab that it started to turn into steroid shots. Which we were not a fan of, so we started washing her feet and belly every time she came inside , we used Reactine once in a blue moon (prescribed by the vet) and LOCAL honey , the local honey did wonders as it was made from bees that pollinated the local flowers that caused her allergies . Just mix the honey with a bit of cream cheese/peanut butter/ mix in blue berries or strawberries stuff it in a Kong and freeze , the doggos love it – April 
Local Honey! It has changed my dogs lives! – Rachelle
Brewer’s yeast sprinkled on their food is what my vet suggested, and it worked beautifully. My Ubu suffered horribly. That stuff worked for her. – Deborah
My golden had grass allergies, and we used to make a rinse of 4 green tea bags and 4 tbsp of dried mint or a handfull of fresh. Steep in boiling water, and when cool add to a bucket of tepid water and pour onto dog, paying attention to stomach and underarms….hot spots. Do not rinse off, let dry naturally. OK for this allergy as it is a spring and summer thing. – Carol
If you’re looking to go the natural route, there is nothing more powerful than Quercetin, commonly referred to as “Nature’s Benadryl”. Quercetin fights inflammation caused by allergies. Supplement below contains it, as well as Omega-3 fish oil which is also a big allergy fighter – iHeartDogs Team

Learn More About Our All Natural Allergy Supplement with Quercetin Below

A huge thanks to our community for submitting these answers. Remember, ALWAYS speak to your dog’s veterinarian before making changes, they know your pup best!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Dogs with allergies may need Cytopoint, an injectable medication used to treat allergic skin conditions in dogs. The medication can provide relief from symptoms such as itching, inflammation, and skin irritation and is generally considered safe and effective for most dogs. Find out if your dog needs this medication, if it’s the best option, and if it’s safe so you can make an informed decision. 

What Does Cytopoint Injection Do For Dogs?

Cytopoint, an injectable medication, treats itching in dogs caused by allergies. It contains a monoclonal antibody that specifically targets and neutralizes a protein called interleukin-31 (IL-31), which causes an itching sensation. The medicine binds to and blocks the IL-31 protein, reducing the signaling to the brain that causes the sensation of itching. 

Dogs can experience relief from itching and scratching for several weeks. Also, it’s safe and effective for dogs with allergic skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis. Most dogs tolerate the medicine well with few if any side effects making it a popular choice for pet owners and veterinarians alike.

What Are The Side Effects Of Cytopoint Injections?

Cytopoint, while generally safe, has few reported side effects but not none. The most commonly reported side effects of Cytopoint injections in dogs include:




Decreased appetite

Increased thirst or urination

Skin reactions at the injection site (e.g., redness, swelling, itching)

In rare cases, more serious side effects may occur, such as an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. If your dog experiences any signs of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, or hives, seek immediate veterinary attention.

What Is The Average Cost Of A Cytopoint Injection?

The cost of a Cytopoint injection can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the dog, the veterinary clinic or hospital where the injection is administered, and the location of the clinic or hospital. Generally, the cost of a single Cytopoint injection ranges from $50 to $100, but it could be higher or lower depending on your specific situation and location.

Additionally, the frequency of injections will depend on your dog’s individual needs and response to the medication. Some dogs may require injections every 4 to 8 weeks, while others may only need injections every 12 to 16 weeks. Discuss the cost with your vet, as they may offer package deals or discounts. 

How Long Does A Cytopoint Injection Last For Dogs?

The relief from Cytopoint injections can vary greatly depending on each dog because of size, metabolism, the severity of itching, the cause of the itching, etc. However, in general, a single injection of Cytopoint can provide relief from itching for approximately 4 to 8 weeks. In some cases, the effect may last longer, up to 12 to 16 weeks. 

Does Cytopoint Help With Licking Paws?

Yes, Cytopoint can help with licking paws in dogs if allergies are causing the action. Many dogs lick their paws in an attempt to deal with allergies for some form of relief. By reducing the urge to scratch and lick, Cytopoint may reduce licking for some dogs and the chance of secondary bacterial infections from excessive licking and scratching.

Does Cytopoint Work Against Food Allergies?

No, Cytopoint will not help your dog with food allergies. It’s designed to target and neutralize a protein called interleukin-31 (IL-31) which combats environmental allergies such as pollen, dust mites, and mold. The best way to avoid food allergies is to not allow your dog to eat those foods. 

Is Cytopoint Better Than Apoquel?

Cytopoint and Apoquel are both effective treatments for managing itching in dogs caused by allergies, but they work in different ways and have unique advantages and disadvantages. As stated above, Cytopoint injects neutralize the protein interleukin-31 (IL-31), which is involved in the itch sensation. Dogs take Apoquel orally to inhibit the enzyme Janus kinase (JAK), which is involved in the immune response that causes itching. 

Apoquel is effective at providing rapid relief from itching, with some dogs experiencing improvement within four hours of administration. However, Apoquel may have more potential side effects than Cytopoint, including vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and increased susceptibility to infections. The choice between Cytopoint and Apoquel ultimately depends on the individual dog’s needs and response to treatment.

What Kind Of Allergies Does Cytopoint Help?

Cytopoint can help to manage itching in dogs caused by allergic skin diseases from the environment, such as pollen, dust mites, and mold. These allergies can cause a range of symptoms, including itching, redness, and inflammation of the skin. Cytopoint can help alleviate the associated skin irritation and inflammation by reducing the itch sensation.

Is Cytopoint Bad For the Liver?

No current evidence suggests that Cytopoint causes liver problems in dogs. 

Unlike some other medications used to manage allergic skin disease in dogs, such as steroids, the liver does not metabolize this medicine, meaning it puts less pressure on the liver, not more. Instead, it’s the kidneys that break down this medicine. 

Is Cytopoint A Steroid?

No, Cytopoint is not a steroid. Steroids, such as prednisone and dexamethasone, are a type of anti-inflammatory medication that works by suppressing the immune system and reducing inflammation. While steroids can effectively manage allergic skin disease in dogs, they can also have significant side effects, such as increased thirst and appetite, weight gain, and increased susceptibility to infections.

If you are concerned about the potential side effects of steroid use in your dog, or if your dog has not responded well to steroid treatment in the past, Cytopoint may be a good alternative option. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment based on your dog’s specific condition and medical history. 

What Is The Warning For Cytopoint?

As with any medication, there are potential risks and side effects associated with the use of Cytopoint. The manufacturer suggests you give this medicine under the guidance of their veterinarian. Further, they suggest you watch for adverse reactions. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above after receiving Cytopoint, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Next, do not use in dogs with a known hypersensitivity to the medication. However, it’s impossible to know until you try how your dog will react to the medication. Do not use it on pregnant or lactating dogs, as no testing has been done to determine the safety. 

Furthermore, Cytopoint may increase the risk of developing cancer or worsen existing cancer in some dogs. It is important to discuss any history of cancer in your dog with your veterinarian before starting treatment with Cytopoint. Practice caution for dogs with immune-mediated disease as well as the medicine may affect the immune system and may worsen or trigger immune-mediated disease in some dogs.

Can I Buy Cytopoint Myself?

No, Cytopoint requires a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. It is not available for purchase directly by pet owners or through online retailers. Before prescribing Cytopoint, a veterinarian will typically perform a physical examination and may conduct diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s symptoms. 

Based on the results of these tests, your veterinarian may recommend Cytopoint or another treatment option that is most appropriate for your dog’s specific condition.

If your dog has been prescribed Cytopoint, your veterinarian will administer the injection in their office or provide you with instructions for administering the medication at home. Follow all instructions provided by your veterinarian and contact them with any questions or concerns about the medication, especially if your dog has a reaction. 

Attempting to obtain Cytopoint without a prescription or administering the medication without guidance from a veterinarian can be dangerous and may result in serious harm to your dog’s health. Always go through a licensed veterinarian for prescriptions for your pet.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog