How to Know If Your Pet Has Allergies

Published: September 2, 2020


Academy Animal Hospital Greenwood

You might not think about this often, but animals can have allergies just like people. However, your dog or cat’s response to allergies can look different than your own.

If you’ve noticed your pet has begun itching more than usual or has patches of missing hair, allergies could be the cause. There are a variety of allergies your dog or cat could have, and being aware of the symptoms could help you identify the problem before it snowballs into something bigger.

Symptoms to Look For

Allergies are common in pets and, unlike in people, these allergies tend to get worse as dogs and cats get older. Pets can have seasonal allergies, food allergies and allergies to other substances.

It may be time to take your pet to the vet if they display the following signs:

  • Scratching, especially near the base of the tail (a sign of flea allergies)
  • Constant licking
  • Recurring “hot spots” (a moist, raw skin spot)
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Loss of fur
  • Face rubbing
  • Hives
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny or red eyes
  • Inflammed skin
  • Excessive shedding
  • Respiratory issues

Identifying whether your pet has an allergy is not limited to these signs, but they are common symptoms in dogs and cats. Knowing what to look for when determining whether to take your pet to the vet is important for preventing a condition from worsening.

Common Allergies

Though these are certainly not the full range of allergies your pet can develop, it is important to keep in mind some common allergies that could be affecting your companion. Not all of the sources of your pet’s allergies are visible, so it may help to remember these potential causes.

Skin Allergies

The most common skin allergy diagnosed in cats and dogs is flea allergies (flea allergy dermatitis). This allergy typically develops when a dog or cat is young (up to 5 years old), but it can develop at any time. The cause of this allergy is thought to be flea saliva specifically. The symptoms of this allergy include frequent and severe itching, hair loss, and scabs on the skin.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are another common allergy in dogs and cats. This allergy type also results in itchy skin but also can result in recurring ear infections and gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Dogs are most commonly allergic to a protein source in their food, but grains and other ingredients could potentially be the source. Cats can develop allergies to specific ingredients in their food, and this can occur at any age, whether they have eaten the same food for years or have started a new diet.

Seasonal/Environmental Allergies

The environment of your home also can be a source of allergies for your pet. Whether inside or outdoors, your dog or cat can develop allergies to substances around your house. Like with other common allergies, symptoms include licking, scratching, face rubbing and loss of fur. These allergic reactions can be triggered by the same things that trigger humans: pollen, mold and dust.

What to Do Next

If you suspect your pet has allergies, it is important to contact a veterinarian to identify exactly what your pet is allergic to. Whether it is fleas, food or flowers, look no further than Academy Animal Hospital, where our team of professionals is dedicated to providing the best possible care for your pet.