Controlling Dog Itching with Dexamethazone

Dexamethazone is a synthetically produced corticosteroid or an anti-inflammatory agent that's 25 times more potent than the naturally occurring cortisol. Dexamethazone is an anti-inflammation, anti-pain medication that metabolizes fats, proteins and sugars. It prevents the release of certain substances that can cause inflammation and is used to control allergic reactions in dogs such as itching, hives and asthma. Dexamethazone has beneficial effects as well as adverse side effects and should be used only if prescribed by a veterinarian. It's available as an oral medicine, in injectible form and as an ointment that can be topically applied.

Controlling Itching with Dexamethazone:

  • After a dog undergoes surgery, the surgical site heals and the sutures dry. Due to this, there is intense itchiness that can cause a dog to bite, lick or scratch the area. Dexamethazone can provide rapid relief from such itchiness.
  • Dexamethazone is required by a fourth of dogs that have received allergy shots. 
  • It can help relieve itching and inflammation caused by dermatitis. Dermatitis is an allergic reaction that can be caused by flea or insect bites, and is characterized by intense scratching, oozing and the development of a hot spot or a red sore.

How Safe Is Dexamethazone?

This is a prescription drug and should be only used in accordance with vet instructions. There are several severe side effects and, as a result, other safer and more natural medicines are preferred to Dexamethazone.

Common Side Effects

Dogs that are administered Dexamethazone experience several side effects such as an increased appetite, insomnia, giddiness, stomach disorders and nervousness along with mood changes.

Severe Side Effects

After taking the drug, dogs can also suffer from certain severe side effects such as increased heart rate, heart failure, hypertension, blood clots in the vein, enlargement of the heart and edema. They may develop gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, liver and kidney disorders, formation of stomach and throat ulcers and pancreatitis. In addition, they often show signs of hormonal imbalances that lead to menstrual cycle disorders and high blood sugar. Side effects are also observed in the skin such as redness, hives, rash, loss of hair and thin and fragile skin. Apart from these severe reactions, some pets develop osteoporosis, muscle weakness, depression, convulsions, weight gain, mental disorders and inability to fight infections.


Dexamethazone shouldn't be prescribed and administered for long periods of time as it can cause fatal hormonal and metabolic changes. It's contraindicated in young puppies as it can hamper their growth. When withdrawing the drug, care should be taken to withdraw it gradually and to taper down the dosage in order to avoid metabolic crisis. You should be aware that your pet will be less able to resist infections while he is on Dexamethazone, and be on the lookout for this complication. The drug is also contraindicated in pregnant pets and lactating mothers.


If large doses of Dexamethazone are administered over a short period of time, the drug isn't harmful. However, if Dexamethazone is administered over a long period, it can give rise to complications such as Cushing's disease and suppression of adrenal function.

Dexamethazone is a drug that should be administered as prescribed by the vet to avoid complications and to relieve your pet from itching.