Can I Give My Dog Steroids?

Steroids are a common kind of medication used for animals, especially dogs. This type of medication typically addresses various medical conditions like allergies or inflammation. They can also help reduce pain as well.

Common Uses of Steroids

1. Anti-Allergy
One use of steroids is against fighting the itchiness that is caused by allergic reactions. Allergies are usually common is certain dog breeds like Labradors Bulldogs, Maltese many others. Allergies can be caused by various factors such as food, fleas, or even seasonal allergens, which can be referred to as atopy. If you will be using steroids for your dog’s allergies, make sure that you only use them on a short-term basis. Topical steroids are the best option if you are going to treat skin allergies, because it will have fewer side effects as well. Such steroids can help treat inflammation and itching, which can be very traumatizing for your pet.

2. Anti-Inflammation
Certain conditions like swelling, pain, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and intervertebral decrease can also be treated by using steroids. It can help lessen inflammation.

3. Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are also common in dogs, and steroids can be used to treat various types. They work by suppressing your pet’s immune system, so that your pet’s body doesn’t automatically defend itself thinking that it has an infection or illness. However, high doses of steroids are used for this type of treatment.

4. Addison’s Disease

In Addison’s disease, your pet doesn’t produce enough steroids that are responsible for balancing water and electrolytes in the body. Cortisol and mineralocorticoids are vital kinds of steroids that are needed by your pet’s body, and being unable to produce them puts your dog at risk of various illnesses. Addison’s usually result to weight loss, diarrhea and selective appetite. In order to combat the disease, steroids are taken in order to replace the missing corticoids.

5. Treatment for Cancer
Steroids can also be used for cancer treatment, since several cancers respond to them by decreasing in size. A common type of cancer in dogs is Lymphoma. However, many other kinds of cancers are treated with oral steroids, in adjunction to chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Short Term Side Effects of Steroids

While steroids are usually given by veterinarians to help alleviate symptoms related to inflammation and allergies, along with treating pain, it also has corresponding side effects as well. Some of the most common short-term side effects of steroids are:  energy loss, dehydration, panting, vomiting, or skin conditions. Make sure that you contact your veterinarian right away whenever your pet starts to show any signs of these side effects.

Long-term Side Effects if Steroids

While it is true that vegetables provide your pet with nutrients that are sure to help with their health, there are still some vegetables that may be harmful for your pet. The following vegetables are toxic and you should never feed them to your dog:

  • Avocados (along with the seed, leaves and bark)
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Alternatives to Steroids

Although steroids are used to treat various health problems such as allergies and inflammation, there may also be other options. You can talk to your veterinarian about alternative therapies such as acupuncture, which can help reduce inflammation. If your dog has allergies, then you might want to consider changing its diet. You may even consider hemp based products as well.


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