Injections vs Oral Treatments for Allergies in Dogs

Injections vs Oral Treatments for Allergies in Dogs

Health & Safety

If you share your home with a dog that suffers from skin allergies, it can be challenging to keep on top of things so that your pet is kept as comfortable as they can be all of the time. This begs the question of whether it would be better for your dog to have regular injections to treat their allergy or maybe an oral treatment might be the best route to take?

There are many breeds that are predisposed to suffering from skin allergies and there could be a multitude of reasons why they do. Whether you share your home with a Bichon Frise, a Siberian Husky, a Golden Retriever or other breed of dog that suffers from some sort of skin allergy, finding the right way to make your pet comfortable is essential, especially as most conditions tend to be chronic and/or ongoing. On top of this, it can take a long to find out just what is triggering their allergy.

The Options Available

There are two basic treatment options available for dogs that suffer from skin allergies which as previously mentioned is to have a vet give your pet an injection every two weeks or so or the other is to opt for an oral treatment which you would have to administer yourself at least twice a day in order to keep on top of their condition.

Positives and Negatives of Injections

Injections to treat allergies in dogs have been available for quite some time and are an extremely effective way of keeping things under control. Dogs with allergies need to be given a shot every two weeks or so although if a dog responds well to the injections, their shots can be spaced further apart. The downside is that dogs would generally need to be given these injections for the rest of their lives or their condition might flare up again making life very uncomfortable for them again.

Positives and Negatives of Oral Treatments

Oral treatments need to be squirted under a dog's tongue and they work in pretty much the same way as an injection with weaker concentrations of the medication being administered to start off with. The does is typically increased over time as a dog's treatment progresses. The biggest downside to oral treatments for the control of skin allergies, is that owners have to give the treatment twice a day and it's really important not to miss any out for this type of treatment to work as effectively as it should.

These twice daily treatments would need to continue for the remainder of a dog's life too. The reason being that more research needs to be done to establish whether a dog responds to oral treatments in the same way that people do. With people, treatment can typically stop anything from 2 to 5 years after it commences with the benefits continuing on well after the treatment has actually stopped.

Other Differences Worth Considering

There are other things to consider when it comes to deciding whether an oral treatment would be better than an injection to control skin allergies in dogs. The first being that some dogs don't respond that well to the injection form with around 50% of dogs not showing much improvement even after they've been given allergy shots for quite a while. However, these same dogs did respond that much better when given an oral treatment for their allergies. The reason for this is the two treatments interact quite differently with a dog's immune system.

When it comes to injections, some dogs can have quite a bad allergic reaction to them. It can bring on a condition known as "anaphylaxis". Where oral treatments are concerned, this is not the case at all. The most commonly seen adverse reaction to oral treatments for skin allergies in dogs, is they may suffer from a mild oral irritation.

What About Response Rates to Both Treatments?

When it comes to how quickly a dog responds to either treatment, it is thought the response time in both is much the same. However, studies have shown that both oral and injection treatments for skin allergies are effective in around 50% of dogs that are treated. Only a quarter of dogs with skin allergies show a mild improvement when given either treatment. Another quarter of dogs show no improvement at all whether they are given oral treatments or injections. As a rule of thumb, vets tend to advise owners that it takes anything from 3 to 6 months to see any sort of marked improvement when a dog is given an allergy shot. When given an oral treatment, dogs tend to respond a little faster which is typically anything from 1 to 3 months after the treatment begins.


If you share your home with a dog that suffers from some sort of skin allergy, a vet would need to carry out a whole host of tests to find out what is triggering their condition. It can take quite a long time to establish a trigger so dogs need to be made to feel more comfortable as soon as possible. As such, it's a little bit of trial and error to find out which treatment would work best at keeping their condition under control. The vet would be able to offer advice on whether an injection might work better than an oral treatment for a skin allergy in a dog, but this might have to be revised once a treatment starts because it would depend on how your pet responds.



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