Non-Antihistamine Allergy Medicine for Dogs

Although many allergy medicines for dogs contain antihistamines, other non-antihistamine medications are available. Here are some other types of canine allergy medications so you can make an informed decision on your dog's behalf.

Why Your Dog Has Allergies

Your dog's allergies are caused by an overreaction of his immune system. When his body perceives a threat from an ingredient in his food, house dust, flea bites or other potential allergens, it begins to produce a defense that includes the chemical histamine. Histamine causes his skin to turn red or itch, it causes hives to form on his body, and it can even cause tissue swelling that can make it difficult for him to breathe or swallow.

When Topical Products May Solve the Problem

Since many canine allergies first show themselves as itching, rash or another skin problem, your veterinarian may recommend topical products as part of a treatment plan. These can include shampoos, conditioners, itch-control sprays and creams. Regular use (a minimum of weekly or twice-weekly) of these products can help relieve your dog's skin-related allergy symptoms.

The Role of Fatty Acids and Supplements

In some cases, canine skin problems related to allergies can be alleviated with the addition of fatty acids and certain vitamins to your dog's diet. Fatty acids, particularly the Omega-3 fatty acids, are a liquid that helps reduce both the effects and levels of histamine in your pet's skin while helping to rebuild his skin and coat.

Another supplement that may help soothe your pet's allergies is biotin. This B vitamin helps improve dry skin problems in some dogs. It is available in a powdered form and can be sprinkled over your dog's food on a schedule as recommended by your veterinarian.

Keep in mind that fatty acids and biotin are not quick fixes to your dog's skin problems. Most dogs need to be on the supplements for a few months before any improvement is seen in their skin and coats.

How Steroids Can Help Your Dog's Allergies

Steroids are anti-inflammatory medications that can help relieve itching and swelling. The main types that help relieve allergy symptoms are corticosteroids, which are different than the anabolic steroids that have been misused by professional and amateur athletes.

Steroids are available as tablets or injections that your dog takes under veterinary supervision. Your vet can recommend an appropriate steroid dose and a proper course of treatment to provide allergy relief without causing additional unwanted side effects, such as incontinence, lost muscle mass and a compromised immune system.

Immunotherapy May Also Work

If your dog's allergy symptoms are especially severe or if he doesn't respond to other treatments, your veterinarian may recommend immunotherapy, also known as "allergy shots." This series of shots introduces a small amount of allergen to your dog's system over a period of time, to give his body an opportunity to build up an immune defense to the allergen. Remember that this type of treatment takes months or even years to show results, and it is not successful in all cases, but it may be just the solution your dog needs.