An allergy is a condition in which the immune system overreacts or becomes hypersensitive to a specific substance known as an allergen. The proteins found in plants, insects, animals, or foods are the most common allergies.
Much like in humans, animals’ immune systems become sensitized to the allergen after many exposures over months to years, and subsequent exposure to the same or related allergen induces an over-reaction. The immune system normally defends from infection and disease, but in the case of allergies, the immune reaction can damage the body. Allergies might be viewed as a pointless immunological reaction to a harmless foreign substance.
Because your pet can’t communicate how they are feeling, it is up to you to determine whether they may be suffering from allergies. While this may be more difficult, it is certainly not impossible. Here are six signs you should look out for to determine if your pet has allergies.
#1 Their Fur Or Skin Has Changed
What is an easy way to tell if a person is having an allergic reaction? Simply take a look at their skin. If you see hives or a rash, they may be suffering from an allergic response. The same is true with pets.
Allergies commonly manifest themselves on your pet’s skin, but if your pet has a lot of hair, redness or a rash may go unnoticed. Check for dandruff or skin scaling, as well as hair loss, which can be characterized by excessive scratching or skin changes. Additionally, examine for skin redness within the ears, in between toes, and on the belly.
#2 Scratching, Licking, And Chewing
Although such responses for allergies may appear strange, dogs and cats frequently lick and chew to show discomfort, even if it is a deep, chronic itch – it’s how they try to find relief, much like we scratch at our skin.
An allergic skin reaction or a flea infection can be indicated by constant scratching. If your pet is continually licking, gnawing, or scratching their feet, face, ears, legs, or stomach, see your veterinarian since the cause may very well be chalked up to allergies.
#3 Stomach And GI Issues
Pets can be allergic to seasonal triggers, plants, foods, and many other substances. While seasonal allergies or an allergy associated with physical irritants may demonstrate themselves on the skin, the same is not always true for food allergies.
Food allergies are less prevalent than environmental allergies in small animals, affecting only around 10% of them, but if your pet is experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms as well as itchy skin and puffiness, it is often a combination of symptoms that point to an allergic reaction. Common gastrointestinal symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset.
#4 Itchy Ears Or Ear Infections
Allergic reactions in the ears are common, so look for a persistent ear warmth, redness, swelling, or inflammation. Although allergies can induce scratching and shaking of the head, a grass seed in the ear canal can also trigger these symptoms.
If you notice that your pet is constantly scratching at their ears, rubbing them against furniture, or even demonstrating difficulty maintaining balance, which is connected to ear health, they could be having a response to either allergies or an ear infection. The only way to be sure of the cause is to schedule a visit with your pet’s veterinarian.
#5 Runny Nose And Eyes Or Sneezing
Does your pet seem like they are fighting off a cold? While a viral or bacterial infection may be the culprit, it could also be the result of an allergic reaction. Sneezing and a runny nose should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible if they are joined by fever or any of the other symptoms on this list.
They could be indicators of seasonal allergies and are quite harmless, but your veterinarian should investigate the reason for your dog’s allergic reaction. Runny eyes are a symptom of many upper respiratory illnesses in dogs, and this can also be a symptom of eye injury or allergies.
#6 Swollen Face Or Feet
A pet with a swollen face is most likely suffering from an allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting. This could also indicate that your dog has inhaled an allergen, such as a lot of pollen. Check the exposed skin on your pet’s feet for symptoms of allergic reactions, especially if you notice redness or swelling around the toes or if your pet chews or licks her feet continuously.
A swelling face or nose indicates that your dog is a danger of going into anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is prevalent in dogs with a swollen face, though it does not always occur. If your dog has any facial swelling, take them to see a veterinarian so that it may be treated and avoided from worsening, which could lead to additional symptoms such as problems breathing if the swelling is severe enough.
Confirm Concerns With A Visit To The Vet
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from your dog’s allergic responses, you can decide whether to arrange an appointment with your veterinarian immediately away or wait until the next planned examination.
In any case, it’s critical to speak with your veterinarian about your dog’s allergies and determine the best course of therapy. If you have any doubts about how you should proceed, call a vet right away so you can get your pet the care they require for his allergic reactions.