Antihistamines for dogs are sometimes an effective treatment for itchy skin caused by allergies and other conditions. Its use is usually part of a comprehensive approach to allergy control that may include other canine medications, the identification and avoidance of inhalant allergens, and other treatments.
Many family veterinarians and veterinary dermatologists now prescribe dog antihistamine only in conjunction with an omega fatty acid supplement, specifically with omega3 fatty acids.
While studies show that omega6 fatty acids are also important, they are found in sufficient amounts in daily diet. By adding omega3 fatty acids only, these two polyunsaturated fatty acids can be in a good working balance enabling them to be effective. Together, these fatty acids are known as “essential fatty acids,” or EFA’s.
Research clearly shows a marked improvement in antihistamine use success rates when used with omega3 fatty acids in an omega fatty acid supplement, such as 3V capsules. 3V Caps for dogs are actually fish oil capsules that include several vitamins (A, D and E) that support absorption of EFA’s into the body.
It is very convenient when a family vet can get a dog antihistamine to work. Antihistamines for dogs are inexpensive and they are a relatively safe medication. This is why it is often one of the first things a family vet will try.
Unfortunately, success rates using dog antihistamines alone are low, maybe 10 to 20%, but reinforced with essential fatty acids supplements success rates raise to 25 to 40%. Clearly, antihistamines drugs do not work for all dogs as well as they do in humans. But when the option is available, a good attempt should be made.
Obviously, dogs do respond differently to individual antihistamines drugs, so it may be necessary to try several different dog antihistamines before one is found that will be the most effective and with the least side effect (sleepiness).
Incidentally, note that some pharmacies are able to change the flavor or form of medications in order to make it more appealing to your pet, should administration be a problem.