The symptoms of pet allergies can present in several different ways, depending on the type of allergen affecting them. The symptoms from a food allergy, skin allergy, or environmental allergy are often very similar to one another. Just like with humans, the severity of an allergic reaction can also vary, so it’s not always easy to know if your pet is having a reaction and to what. Here are a few ways to tell when it’s time for a trip to your vet’s office.
Allergies in Pets
Pet allergies of any kind can develop at any stage in your pet’s life. Perhaps their favorite patch in the yard suddenly seems to bring on itchy, watery eyes when they come back in the house. To help determine the type of allergic reaction your pet is having, try to recall any foreign substances your pet may have recently come into contact with. This will not only help in preventing allergic reactions but also help your vet determine the best course of treatment.
Symptoms of Allergies in Pets
The symptoms of dog allergies and cat allergies are very similar, so if you have more than one species of furry friends, watch for symptoms in them both. Symptoms of pet allergies include:
- Scratching and/or biting of the skin (localized or generalized) – If your pet seems to be constantly scratching/biting/licking either a specific area or all over the place, check under their fur for signs of inflamed or irritated skin, fleas/ticks, hives, an ear infection or excessive shedding.
- Sneezing / Wheezing / Coughing/Snoring – The severity of these symptoms is something to really pay attention to. If your pet is having trouble breathing due to excessive respiratory issues, getting them to the vet ASAP could save their life.
- Vomiting/Diarrhea – The two most common signs of food allergies are vomiting and diarrhea. Watch your pet closely to determine whether that pile on the floor is a one-time occurrence or the symptom of something more severe.
- Swelling anywhere on the face, eyes, or ears – Swelling of any sort is a big red flag that your pet is suffering from some type of injury or allergic reaction. Examine the area to determine if there are signs of a bee sting or other injury. If none are present, this could be a telltale sign of an allergy. If the swelling is in any way affecting your pet’s ability to see, hear, or breathe, it’s time to get them to a vet now.
- Discharge from Eyes & Nose- Certain breeds of dogs have naturally droopy eyes and are more prone to dust causing some eye discharge. Usually, this is easily wiped away with warm water and a soft cloth. But, if your pet’s eyes have excessive discharge, it may be time to see the vet. This is especially the case if the fur around the eyes is becoming matted with hard clumps or the discharge is any other color than clear.
- Scooting on Butt – That little booty scooch across the floor may garner some giggles from the kids, but if your pet is doing it often, it can be a sign of something more nefarious such as an allergy, worms, or infection.
Causes of Allergies in Pets
- Flea bites or flea-control products
- Pollen, grass, plants, mold, mildew, and other organic substances
- Prescription drugs
- Dust from home renovations
- Perfumes and colognes
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Household cleaning products
- Certain types of cat litters
When in doubt, it’s better just to take your pet to their vet to check out. Do your best to provide your vet with any recent changes to the food, environment, or products you have used on your pet. Your vet will likely order a series of tests to rule out other diseases before beginning an allergy testing panel. This process can take quite a while, so in the meantime, keep a diary of symptoms and the circumstances surrounding the symptom outbreak. Doing so may end up saving your pet a lot of discomforts, plus the added benefit of saving you time and money on vet bills.