Allergies are one of the most common conditions that a pet parent can face. Dogs become itchy and miserable, and no one gets any sleep from all of the scratching and licking that tends to happen at night.
Many pet parents are looking for natural remedies for dog allergies to avoid potential side effects of drugs like prednisone. Fortunately, there are many safe and effective alternative dog allergy supplements available that pet parents can use to help reduce their dog’s allergy symptoms.
Quercetin is one of those natural remedies that can be used safely and effectively. Let’s take a closer look at quercetin and how it is used to help relieve allergies in our canine companions.
What is Quercetin?
Quercetin is a plant-derived flavonoid found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, such as kale, green tea, blueberries, and broccoli. It’s technically considered a plant pigment, which is why you’ll find it in richly pigmented fruits and vegetables.
In human nutrition and wellness, quercetin is used extensively for its anti-inflammatory properties and is also thought to improve endurance and athletic performance. But in our pets, quercetin is most often used to help with the itchiness, inflammation, and discomfort caused by allergies.
It is commonly referred to as “nature’s Benadryl” due to its natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antihistamine properties. Histamine is released from inflammatory cells when our dogs are exposed to allergens and it’s part of the cause of itchy, puffy eyes and irritated, itchy skin.
Is Quercetin Safe for Dogs?
Quercetin is a very safe flavonoid and quercetin supplements for dogs with allergies are generally well tolerated.
Pet parents do need to be careful if their dogs are on medications that are metabolized through a certain pathway in the liver called the P450 pathway. These drugs include tramadol, amitriptyline, ondansetron, omeprazole, piroxicam, and Prozac (fluoxetine). Other drugs that can potentially cause an adverse reaction when given in combination with quercetin include blood pressure and heart medications such as amlodipine, enalapril, diltiazem, and furosemide.
If your dog is on medications, it is always best to ask your veterinarian if this supplement can be given along with their current medications.
Benefits of Quercetin for Dogs
Quercetin works to suppress inflammation and reduce the amount of histamine released in a dog’s body. This means that if a dog comes into contact with pollen or another potential allergen, he or she will be less itchy.
Quercetin can replace conventional drugs like Benadryl to help your dog feel better, but studies have shown varying response rates. This means that you may not notice quercetin working as quickly as Benadryl. However, it’s a natural and safe option and may be worth seeing how your dog responds and reacts to this supplement.
Many quercetin supplements also have bromelain present. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that is found in the pineapple plant. The purpose of bromelain is to help digest and breakdown proteins and has also been used to reduce inflammation in the body.
Quercetin with bromelain for dogs is an ideal combination due to the greater anti-inflammatory effects they have together versus using either one alone. This combination is used for acute or chronic inflammation in both people and dogs.
How to Give Quercetin to Dogs
There are numerous ways that you can give quercetin safely to your dog. Quercetin is added to many supplements that contain other nutraceuticals or antioxidants like vitamin C, or you may find it alone in a supplement or combined with bromelain. However, many supplements do not have quercetin in high enough dosages for it to be anti-inflammatory which makes it less effective.
For best results, look for the supplements that combine bromelain and quercetin together. Quercetin with bromelain typically comes in a capsule form and is one of the easiest and most effective ways to dose dogs.
When using quercetin for allergies and anti-inflammatory effects, the supplement is best given on an empty stomach without food. Otherwise, the bromelain is used specifically for digestion versus working on the inflammation that is present. Pet parents can add a little food around the capsule if needed to help their dog take the supplement.
If your dog refuses to take the capsule form, you can safely open the capsule and sprinkle the powder onto the food to encourage her to take the supplement.
Quercetin Dosage for Dogs
A safe dosing guideline for quercetin is 5-10 mg per pound of body weight, which can be given twice a day. It should be given one hour prior to food or three hours after food.
For example, a 75-pound dog will take about 800mg of quercetin twice a day by mouth.
If your pet is on a medication, it is always best to discuss dosing with your veterinarian.
Quercetin Side Effects for Dogs
Some dogs may feel nausea or have a reduced appetite when quercetin is given on an empty stomach. If you notice your pet experiences any of these symptoms while taking this supplement, give it with your dog’s meals.
As previously discussed, if your dog is on any medications, especially ones that are metabolized through the P450 pathway, make sure to have a discussion with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may recommend a different supplement or suggest a change in dosing.
Where to Buy Quercetin for Dogs
Pet parents can buy quercetin supplements for their dogs at any natural food store, human supplement store, or pet store.
Remember to look closely at labels to determine if the quercetin in the supplement is high enough to have an anti-inflammatory impact. Calculate the dosage for your pet’s body weight—using the dosage 5-10 mg per pound of body weight—and use this amount to determine if the pet supplement has a high enough concentration of quercetin to make it helpful for supporting your dog’s allergy treatment.
Because the supplement industry is unregulated, you can look for the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) label on pet supplements. Companies must apply to be a part of this council and follow certain guidelines and regulations to ensure their product is high quality and truly has what it states present in the product.
Quercetin is a great, natural supplement that can provide an itchy dog major allergy relief. Results can vary between dogs, but this is a safe supplement that most pet parents can try.
If you have any questions or concerns in regards to using a quercetin supplement for dogs, always ask your veterinarian for guidance and advice.
Don't miss our vet-approved pet care tips!
Sign up for our newsletter to stay in-the-know.