Lesson 4: Building a Treatment Plan: Tailored Solutions for Your Dog

In this lesson we will discuss how to work with a vet to build a treatment plan for your dog’s atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a complex condition to manage and cannot be cured. The treatment options available aim to improve skin health and reduce itch and inflammation during a flare up. These may include topical treatments (applied to the skin), medications, immunotherapy, and diet. Home and allergen management can help to prevent your dog from having a flare up of AD in the first place.

It is likely that your vet will recommend several treatment options, which will work hand in hand to manage AD. They will work with you to create a personalized and effective treatment plan for your dog. This is necessary because every dog’s AD will differ.

The Itch Threshold

All dogs have an ‘itch threshold’ – the amount of itch they can take before they actually start with itch symptoms (scratching, chewing, etc).

Dogs with AD are already closer to this threshold than normal dogs. It doesn’t take much to push them over the edge into severe itching. For example, a dog with AD and on medications might be coping, but a single flea could push them over the edge into symptoms. That’s why managing the dog as a whole, not just their allergens, is important.


There is no cure for AD, but management can reduce their symptoms and keep them comfortable. While drugs reducing the immune response are popular, reducing allergen exposure and improving skin barrier function are also important. It’s also important to remember that other things make dogs itch – like fleas – and dogs with AD feel itchy quickly. Treating the whole dog holistically can help to keep them below the itch threshold and stop the itch!

Choose from the topics below to read more about the three treatment areas