5 Supplements EVERY Itchy, Allergic Dog Should Be Taking

5 supplements every itchy allergic dog should be taking boulder holistic vet angie krause

Chronically itchy dogs make up a large portion of my practice.

Many people come to me for alternative ways to help control the itch. Here, I have compiled a list of five supplements that can help support allergic dogs.

It is important that you work with your veterinarian to help diagnose and treat your dog properly. These supplements alone will most likely not be enough to stop your dog’s itch. Combined with diet and regular veterinary care, these supplements can help improve your dog’s itch.

1. Omega Fatty Acids. This is a no brainer. Every dog should be on an omega 3 fatty acid supplement. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help decrease inflammation and benefit organ function. For some itchy dogs, this all they need to drastically improve their itch. Giving your dog omega 3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the amount of steroids that it will take to eliminate biting, scratching and chewing. Fish oil, krill oil, and green-lipped mussel are all great sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Dose: 25 mg/kg EFA + DHA per day

Recommended Brand: Ultra EFA from RxVitamins

2. Probiotics. While probiotics don’t directly stop your dog from scratching, they do promote gastrointestinal health. Having a good population of healthy bacteria in the gut of your dog can drastically reduce and prevent allergies.

Dose: 10 billion CFU (Colony Forming Units) per day minimum

Recommended Brand: Bacillus CoagulansVET or RxBiotic

3. Quercetin. This is a bioflavonoid and is often referred to as ‘nature’s Benadryl’. This supplement is usually paired with bromelain and is thought to have synergistic effects when used together.

Dose: 125 mg once daily for small dogs (0-20 lbs); 250 mg once daily for medium sized dogs (25-50 lbs); 375 mg once daily for large dogs (>50 lbs)

Recommended Brand: Quercetin by Pure Encapsulations

4. Magnesium. It is thought that magnesium can help reduce allergic inflammation. While this may or may not be true, magnesium’s real benefit is calming the nervous system and reducing anxiety. Many dogs with chronic allergies suffer secondarily from anxiety. I generally recommend magnesium citrate. However, magnesium glycinate may also be used.

Dose 10 mg/kg given once daily.

Recommended Brand: While I personally use Pure Encapsulations, there is an abundance of options for this particular supplement.

5. L-theanine. This is another great supplement to control anxiety. L-theanine works by increasing serotonin and therefore increasing your pup’s overall sense of well-being. Many dogs continue to bite, lick and chew past the resolution of their allergies due to chronic stress and anxiety.

Dose: Dogs up to 25 lb = 10.5 mg once daily; dogs 25-50 lb = 21 mg once daily; dogs 50-100 lb = 42 mg once daily; dogs over 100 lb = 63 mg once daily

Recommended Brand: Nutricalm by Rx Vitamins for Pets

Remember to work with your veterinarian before starting your dog on any new supplement or diet. I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below!

With love,
dr. angie signature boulder holistic vet

55 thoughts on “5 Supplements EVERY Itchy, Allergic Dog Should Be Taking”

  1. my shih tzu is a crazy itchy dog..has had allergy shots..but, I don’t like them..How do I get all these pills down my little dogs throat…it’s a battle getting benydrl down

  2. Can these supplements help my 5 year-old cat that has developped red bumpy scabs on his tummy and hind legs? He’s scratching and licking all the time. He was precribed prednisolone which helps but not for long and I don’t much like giving it to him.

    1. Hi there,

      I am so sorry to hear about your kitty! I find that kitties that have itchy skin are often allergic to food. Have you tried any food trials?

  3. I gave my dog Quercetin and after a few days he started immediately throwing up while eating it in his food. Needless to say, I am not giving it to him anymore.

    1. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM

      Hi Cris,

      Magnesium can be helpful it certain situations. It can cause diarrhea when given in too high of a dose, so always start small.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Angie

      1. I know that … from own experience. Thanks! I was just wondering whether the other ingredients might be toxic to dogs and which kind of Mag would be better absorbed.

  4. My Dalmatian rescue is itchy, and has a cough/reverse sneeze in the morning after waking. He does not have kennel cough and has been on Apoquel for 2 weeks, which has helped the itching, but not the cough. After reading about Apoquel side effects I don’t want him to continue on that. He gets cod oil and a good probiotic, and he’s on Fluoxetine because of excessive fear and anxiety. I recently ordered some Beta Thym and am interested in adding the Quercetin and Magnesium – would it be OK for him to be on all 3 of those supplements? Thank you for any information!

    1. Jacquie Edie, Veterinary Nurse for BHV

      Hi Leanne,

      Your Dalmatian is lucky to have you to take such good care of him! I’m sorry to hear of his itching, sneezing and anxiety. The cod oil and probiotic are great supplements to help with his allergies. Do you think the Fluoxetine is helping with his anxiety?

      Quercetin and Magnesium are fine to give in conjunction with his other medication and supplements. Dr. Angie has not used Beta Thym in her practice so we cannot speak to it’s efficacy. Are you using it as an anti-inflammatory? If you try it, keep us posted as to how it works!

      Have you considered an amino acid based diet for your guy? We have seen good success in the reduction of symptoms in dogs with allergies, when fed this type of diet.

      You are doing a great job caring for your dog! Keep us posted as to what you try and how it helps!

      Kindly,
      Jacquie

  5. Thank you so much for this article. My 80lb doodle has environmental allergies and though I am already incorporating some of these supplements into his system, I want to try the others that I am not. I have been battling his allergies for 3 1/2 years now and I don’t want to do the shots. I have 3 questions.
    1 – The dosage of the Magnesium, it says 10mg. Is that for all size dogs, and how do you measure just 10mg?
    2 – I already give my dog Vetionx Omega 369, is this different from Omega Fatty Acids 3 that you recommend? If so, should I continue giving the one I am giving plus the one you recommend or just give the one you recommend?

        1. Thanks for asking. Oak season is coming earlier this year here. It doesn’t help when Dietrich goes outside and starts rolling the yard. About 3 weeks ago, he had another bout with allergies, licking and chewing his side next to groin till it was bleeding and the hair matted, then chewing the back of his back legs. Every time he licked, it smelled so bad. All the while he has been wearing a cone on his head, but he still can reach that area if he really wants to. He sleeps in our room and one day he woke up about 6:30 just pacing the room, I thought he needed to go outside. I let him out and a few minutes later looked out and he was just sitting in the yard. When I got him in I noticed he chewed up the back of one of his legs to where the hair was matted and bleeding. The next day, the same thing except it was the other leg. When I got him back inside the other leg was worse than the one the day before. I was trying to clean it and trying to cut the hair away from the wound. He was fighting me the whole time. Good thing I had put the cone on his head and then the muzzle or he would have bite me, that is how bad it was hurting him. After he decided I was going to win, he let me work on him, I did find out what the dew claw was for. I ended up taking him to our vet and he prescribed three medications, Prednisone, Apoquel & Cephalexin, And that really helped him. About a week after taking the meds I was able to take the muzzle off, in another week I have been able to leave the cone off of him. I hate giving him prescriptions, but it seems like the only thing that really has worked.

          1. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM

            Hi Jan,

            Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. I know that this is so stressful for you both.

            I’m so glad that the medications did help rescue your pup from the extreme itching. Another thought is to visit a veterinary dermatologist. If these allergies are largely environmental, they may be able to help with immunotherapy!

            I’m hoping you find a solution that not only helps your dog’s allergies, but also feels like the right approach. Managing allergies can feel so overwhelming, and you are doing a great job!

            Warmly,
            Claire

            Warmly,
            Claire

  6. My dog is currently on prednisone: 20 mg , a half tablet every other day. I feed her sweet potatoes, kale, blueberries, and salmon twice a day with coconut oil and 1 tsp of “Missing Link, The Original Superfood Supplement” for each meal. She’s been on a pre/probiotic since last May (2018) and I’ve ordered a different variety. She is 6 years old. When we first got her she did not have allergies. This started about 3 years ago. My vet put her on apoquel. After reading what some of the long-term problems could be, the vet agreed to switch her to the prednisone. I don’t want her taking that either, but I am at wits end. She has a chronic skin yeast infection, she itches all the time.
    So, my question is, do I need to be concerned about any interactions between the quercetin and the prednisone? And how long should it take for the quercetin to start working?
    Thank you for your time — I really appreciate it.

    1. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM

      Hi Annie,

      Great question!

      We do not know of any negative interactions with using Prednisone and Quercetin together. It may take up to a couple of weeks to see the Quercetin begin working.

      I hope this helps!

      Warmly,
      Claire

  7. Ugh. I just wanted to share that NOW brand vitamins has recently added xylitol to their magnesium citrate supplement. So make sure you check any supplements for additives that would be toxic to dogs. Why they would even add xylitol is beyond me.

    And thanks for this article Dr. Krause! It was very informative. 🙂

  8. Hi, I have a 102lb German Shep. who has a very itchy face. It seems to be just her face and digs at it constantly. We had her on Apoquel but can ‘t afford keeping it up. Other than the list of 5 things do you have any other thoughts why the itch would just be on her face? I’m getting everything on your list and really hope it gives her some relief, I also give her vitamin E daily as I read somewhere that it might help with itch in dogs. Thanks

    1. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM

      Hi Deni,

      Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your pup’s extreme itchiness! That is so frustrating and distressing for you both.

      How are the supplements helping?

      Scratching around the face is most often food. Have you tried an amino acid based diet? Dr. Angie discusses these diets in her blog here.

      Keep us posted!

      Warmly,
      Claire

    1. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM

      Hi Sam,

      For your girl’s size, we’d recommend starting with 125 mg once daily. Are you able to sprinkle half of the contents into her food (maybe even something extra tasty, like a bit of wet food?)?

      Keep us posted!

      Warmly,
      Claire

  9. Deni McDonald

    Hi, when I was out looking for the right mg of vitamins I was having a hard time. For instance I can’t seem to find a magnesium C. that I will be able to do only 10mg a day. And is that 10mg no matter how big the dog? Also, L-the anime doesn’t seem to come in mg that I can give of only 63mg.
    Also, if I tried the amino acid diet feeding her the prescription food and if her itching goes away, I’m suppose to reintroduce foods back in her diet correct? We supplement with green beans and carrots and the kibble now is lamb. Other than adding the veggies back one at a time, how do I break down the foods from her current kibble to introduce back into her diet? I hope this makes sense. THANKS

    1. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM

      Hi Deni,

      Thank you for reaching out! These are great questions!

      For the Magnesium dosing, it is 10mg/kg once daily for pups. How much does your pup weigh? To figure out how much she weighs in kg, take her weight in lb and divide by 2.2. Then multiple her weight in kgs by 10 to get her Magnesium dose! I’m happy to help too, if you’d like!

      For l-theanine, we recommend the Nutricalm supplement through our online store. You can find it here. This is an excellent blend of herbs that promotes well-being and reduces anxiety (and includes l-theanine!). The dosing is really easy: Give your dog one capsule per every 25 to 50 pounds of body weight twice daily.

      If you try the amino acid based diet, and it works, you can absolutely start adding small bits of whole food back into her diet to see how she responds! Have you read Dr. Angie’s blog all about amino acid based diets for itchy dogs? Check it out here.

      I hope that this information helps! Please let me know what other questions I can answer. You are doing a great job!

      Warmly,
      Claire

  10. I just wanted to tell people that I just found a website called HemoPet that does allergy blood tests for environmental and good allergies. I haven’t tried it yet, but Dr Dodd who started it is well respected. I recognize her from the Dog Cancer Series. Anyway, it looks expensive, but I am thinking of trying that. My 13 yr old little pom/papillon ish mix that I rescued in January is crazy itchy. I have been trying so many different natural things, limiting food ingredients, rinsing off after walks, and have been using cbd, benadryl for a couple weeks, the quercitin and the L-theanine for just a few days now. I can’t really see a huge improvement. It is very frustrating. Gives me anxiety, so just imagine how the dogs feel.

    1. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM

      Hi Jill,

      We love HemoPet and Dr. Dodds!

      You may be talking about the Nutriscan test- Dr. Angie has used this test for patients in her own practice, and has found some success for certain patients!

      Allergies are so frustrating, and itt sounds like you are doing a really incredible job. Has your pup been seen by a veterinary dermatologist?

      If you try Dr. Dodd’s allergy testing, keep us posted on the results and how they help!

      Warmly,
      Claire

  11. The dosage of the Magnesium says 10mg per day. The brand you suggested comes in 180 mg capsules. How do you measure just 10mg? My dogs weighs 70lbs.

    1. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM

      Hi Cathy,

      Great question!

      The dosing for Magnesium for our pups is 10mg/kg once daily. For your 70lb (32kg) pup, that would be approximately 320mg once daily.

      I hope that this helps!

      Warmly,
      Claire

  12. Deborah Beavers

    I have just learnt that my German Shepherd has quite a few alergies to food and environmental. The vet has prescribed Apolquel which we have accepted very short term. He has 10 days left at 16mg, my question is can I give him quercetin with Apolquel? I was thinking whilst still on the Apolquel then give him a half dose of the quercetin until the course finishes. Just not certain what to do. He will be having a raw diet in a couple of weeks and we give him Keifer, Salmon Oil and Coconut oil daily, Thank you for your help.

    1. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM

      Hi Deborah,

      You should absolutely be able to give Quercetin and Apoquel at the same time.

      Let us know how he is doing!

      Warmly,
      Claire

  13. Hi! Thanks for the information! I’m trying to find a suitable Quercetin supplement that includes Bromelian, do you have any recommendations? The Pure Encapsulations formula unfortunately doesn’t have it. ThankS1

  14. Hi my boxer started allergies at a young age around 6-7 monthsand it was towards end of winter ( in Ottawa) Started with her ears twitching then started scratching them and scratching her armpits. We did food trial vet said they didn’t think it was food related so she has been getting Cytopoint but I would like to get her off and give her a natural supplement that could maybe do the same. Thanks

  15. I have a 65 lb. dog we rescued a few years ago. She was in a pen in our backyard for a few years but we now have her loose on a wireless fence. I noticed this summer she was really itchy. Especially her lower back and right above her tail. I started making her food about 2 weeks ago and it could be my imagination but she seems to be more playful now. I think she is a nervous dog and we don’t know what she went through before we got her to be that way. I just found this page so I am hoping these supplements will help her itch and anxiety. Thanks!

  16. Hello Dr. Krause,

    I have a 7lb shih tzu and his eyes must water a lot as it is staining his fur under his eyes. He also licks his paws till they are soaked, they are also stained from this. He is about 2 years old and we have had him for about 6 months now. He eats Hills Prescription Diet Derm Defense. He is on heartgard and Nexgard. We are wanting relief from the watery eyes and feet licking. Currently just started Vetri Science Derma Stregth Pro Chews, only 2 days so no visible signs yet. I am thinking to add L-theanine, magnesium, and probiotics since reading this article. Thank you and I will keep updating with his progress.

    Hopeful,
    Nicki

  17. Kasthuri Subramaniam

    Hi there…I have a 10 month old pup and she has developed some allergy – there are bumps on her back and down her legs and she feels itchy. She is on RoyalCanin Dermacomfort. She was also on fish oil but my vet has asked me to switch to EPO. I have stopped chicken beef & lamb and am trying her with duck. My vet says it could be environmental allergy and not necessarily food. Have been reading about bovine colostrum and am quite keen to try out. What do you think? Has anyone tried this before and what has the results been like? Thanks !

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