Using Steroids to Treat Dog Allergies

Steroids to treat Dog AllergiesVeterinarians often prescribe corticosteroids, most often referred to as steroids, for dogs with reoccurring allergy problems.  Steroids can effectively relieve dogs of their itching and red skin as soon as 24 hours after the drug is administered.

In most cases, steroids are supposed to be subscribed at an initial starting dose, and then reduced to smaller doses until they are completely discontinued.  When used as a short-term treatment to ease inflammation and swelling, steroids can be very effective.

Unfortunately, due to the quick results of this form of treatment, many dogs are prescribed steroids for much longer periods of time than recommended, which can cause harmful side effects.  And, when administered at a high enough dosage, steroids can suppress your dog’s immune system – making them more prone to infections.

Steroid Benefits:

  • Can relieve itching, red skin and inflammation in less than 24 hours.
  • Quick results can be ideal for dogs with seasonal allergies.
  • Often the right solution for older dogs who may require quick relief over long-term solutions.

Steroid Drawbacks:

  • Side effects can include increased thirst and appetite, increased urination, weight gain, hyperactivity, panting, diarrhea, and depression.
  • Long-term usage can suppress your dog’s immune system, making them susceptible to infection and illness.
  • Long-term usage can cause permanent or severe damage to the liver, adrenal gland and pancreas.
  • Long-term usage has been attributed to diabetes in dogs.

Since steroids are ideal for quick inflammation relief, you should discuss any long-term side effects and potential health risks with your veterinarian before starting this form of treatment.

11 thoughts on “Using Steroids to Treat Dog Allergies

  1. Hi,

    I have a new dog that has allergies. We have gone to the vet. he is on an allergy medication. It has helped but he still scratches I have changed his food, the problem is better but not gone. Can you give your dog Claritin? If so, what would the dose be? Any other ideas?

    Thank you for this website and all your information,

  2. Benadryl for sure! 1 mg per pound your dog weighs. I dont know about other meds. I know from experience with my boxer, im not a doctor.

  3. My 6 year old European Doberman had food allergies when he was a pup and now at 6 yrs old has environmental allergies. Have been doing the immunotherapy drops. But when I get to the last leg (2 drops/day from larger spout) he has an allergic reaction. His nostril is so plugged you can see it is shut, left knuckle on front paw swollen, dis colouration of coat and ribbing on left leg and allergy bumps. Very frustrating as I have tried the injections as well. I live on the WET Coast so the rain has an adverse effect.

  4. My two shih tzu require short term steroid treatment every August due to some allergen present this time of year. Nothing else relieves the severe itching , licking etc that occurs during this month every year. They feel better within one day of treatment. My Vet just told me there will be a new drug available by next year with less side effect. Using prednisone for short term treatment as we do gives miraculous results

  5. This post is pretty old, so I am not sure if anyone will read this. I have an allergic dog and it is NOT food allergies. If you can solve your dog’s allergies by diet then you are lucky. I have struggled with my dog allergies for years and I can offer some helpful advice. Also, I just had to put my dog back on steroids after several years and I can say the side effect are bad (the reason I came here). Anyway, I found a pretty good solution to manage my dogs allergies. You need to give the dog a bath every week using Ketochlor shampoo followed by a hydrocortisol shampoo. I put a video up on YouTube about it that nobody watches. Search for “Solution for itchy dog Nutfork”. I really hope this can help you! Dog allergies are really frustrating!

    • Thank you very much for taking the time out to post this!! MY Australian Shepard is itching so bad that it’s causing patches of hair to come out. Took her to the Vets today and everything was negative so far. So they’re assuming it’s allergies. They prescribed a steroid with antihistamines along with Antibiotics bc she has a low grade fever. I’m concerned bc I gave her a dose of the steroids and she’s nonstop itching now!! She’s also lost 5 lbs since June. And she’s not a big dog as it is. She’s only 37 lbs. Small for an Aussie. I’m going to check out your video. Praying tbis helps her. We’re all very concerned about the weight loss though. Thanks again!!

  6. Same problem with my dog. Every August have to get him a ywo week supply. Its the only thing that helps uim. He does have other food allergies “lucky me” but this time of year is the worst!!!

  7. Where can I get corticosteroids for my poor Staffordshire Bull terrier poor thing is ripping her self red raw done the vet thing to no avail and over 6 years every thing on the market to no avail

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