The Best Natural Alternative to Apoquel For Dog Allergies

January 29, 2020 5 min read

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Have you ever had an itch that you couldn't quite scratch? That constant annoyance can drive any of us up the wall, so when we see our dogs incessantly itching, we can immediately deduce that something isn't quite right, and we can often empathize with their frustration.

Skin allergies in dogs are becoming exceedingly common. Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan from a veterinarian can be a lengthy and costly process – who likes hanging out at the vet?

Not us!

Far too often, those solutions involve synthetic steroids and other prescription drugs that, at best, only mask the underlying issue that your pup is experiencing while also potentially exposing them to a whole host of undesirable or downright dangerous side effects.

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Apoquel alternative for dogs with allergies and itchy skin

Fortunately, there are some cheaper and all-natural solutions. Using the alternatives we mention later will satisfy that itch and put your pup's immune system back to work for them, ensuring a long life with optimal health. But first, some statistics:

  • 25% of all canine vet visits are due to allergies
  • 50% of all dogs experience symptoms of allergies in their lifetime
  • 70% of all canine skin conditions are allergy-related

For decades, western medicine has taken one look at human patients suffering from various allergies, and particularly skin allergies, and has thrown steroids back at us as, allegedly, our only hope for relief. So it should come as no surprise that most veterinarians in the U.S. take the same approach when dealing with our pets.

There are many different ways that pet parents try to suppress their dog's allergies, unknowingly disguising the symptoms but not the cause.

Many medications given include steroids and immunosuppressants like apoquel.

The most commonly prescribed canine medication for skin allergies today is a product called Apoquel. Rather than heal or strengthen your dog's immune system, the prescription addresses the allergy directly.

Apoquel clearly states that it works to suppress the immune system.

Think of how prescription painkillers work – they do not heal an injury; they make you not feel the pain. Apoquel works similarly – suppression - which may be acceptable if not for the severe repercussions this can have on your pet's health.


Apoquel for dogs is pitched as "a fast-acting and safe treatment for the control of acute and chronic canine pruritus" –pruritis being a clinical term for excessive itching. The product lives up to its claim of providing relief within 4 to 24 hours but with a cost?

To put it in laymen's terms, allergies are highly exaggerated misfires or outright failures by our immune system, with the resulting symptoms that we or our pets express to those allergies being expressions of our body's reaction to those misfires and failures.

For both humans and animals, traditional medicine offers man-made medications that are meant to trick the immune system into inactivity. That is different than healing.



The short answer: No.

Apoquel is even worse.

This commonly prescribed canine drug atrophies the immune system by interrupting essential communication between cells. Intentionally designed as a kinase inhibitor, cell communication is unnaturally halted. With Apoquel use, your dog is put at risk in a host of frightening ways.

Apoquel stunts:

  • Healthy body growth and development
  • Formation of both white and red blood cells
  • Control of overall inflammation
  • Identification and elimination of abnormal and potentially cancerous cells before they form tumors

As with most mainstream pet medications and foods, the research behind Apoquel is just plain bad. The study periods for Apoquel are ridiculously short and"misleadingly minimize" risk. Despite this fact, many veterinarians will prescribe the drug to the same pet for months or even years.

Because Apoquel is dangerous and can have harmful effects, manufacturers warn to only Apoquel is only to be prescribed to dogs over 12 months old because manufacturers warned that the use of the drug could lead to skin problems or worse issues if given to puppies under a year old.

If your vet is recommending this drug as the only solution to your dog’s allergies, you need to research it. Cross-reference that research with your dog’s specific breed before deciding to take that advice.

You also need to know that there are other options. All-natural options. Cheaper alternatives to Apoquel. Relief and healing for your furry friend could be as simple as an upgrade to a natural and holistic dog food diet. Here’s how!


As we covered above,allergies are often an overreaction by your pet’s immune system to a particular protein. Your dog consumes protein primarily through their daily meals so what you choose to feed them matters!

We were fascinated to learn that roughly 70% of the canine immune system is located within the digestive system.

So, if your goal is to get off of Apoquel and to make the change to hypoallergenic dog food, there is no denying that a raw fresh dog food diet is a key ingredient to your dog’s optimal health.


When you feed your dog dry dog food like processed kibble it wicks the moisture from your dog’s body.

Your dog's body will then begin to feed on itself, slowly degrading its mucosal barrier in an attempt to regain lost moisture, inviting allergies and illness.

A sure sign of a compromised mucosal barrier is a dog that has chronic diarrhea.

On the other paw, a raw diet for dogs like the expertly crafted formulations that we offer here at Cali Raw Dog Food can contain as much as 70% moisture and is packed with naturally occurring enzymes that all work together to repair and maintain the mucosal barrier. Those large, solid, turds in the backyard will let you know that your dog’s immune system isn’t suppressed anymore!

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Healthy digestion equals a healthy immune system for your dog


Switching up your dog's diet to a new food can help narrow down the triggers of your dog's allergies.

The best way to go about this is to go raw because a raw diet isbiologically appropriate and has fewer ingredients than processed kibble.

Store-bought kibble can also contain mixed proteins, all of which are heavily degraded in the manufacturing process. Because so much goes into kibble, it is nearly impossible to hone in on which specific ingredient may be upsetting your dog's immune system.

Here atCali Raw, our expert nutritionist has craftedfour unique protein formulations – beef, chicken, pork, and lamb. This variety can be beneficial when trying to isolate specific protein allergies.

Our selections of 4 different proteins make it easy to find what works for your dog. Continuing to serve them protein-packed meals that closely mimic their natural, ancestral diet will also strengthen their immune system.

OurBeef formula, for example, features high-grade beef, beef heart, and beef bone (ground), along with a host of hand-chosen supplementary ingredients. There are no fillers, starches, or mixed proteins, just proven balanced meals made to make your pet feel its best.

The math is simple.

Raw dog food = Healthy digestive system = Healthy immune system = Healthy dog!

The best dog food for allergies is a B.A.R.F. diet as offered here at Cali Raw Dog Food. I mean… that's why we make it 😉