How to Tell if your Pet has Allergies

dog with allergy

It may surprise you to know that allergies can be just in common in pets as they can in the human members of your family, and in fact, a lot of the sensitivities that cause discomfort for us can also affect our pets. Some of these may be a permanent problem while other allergy symptoms only come into effect in certain seasons. Occasionally, what starts as a seasonal allergy can turn into year-round suffering.

Types of pet allergy

There are so many different varieties of allergy, veterinarians tend to characterize them into groups based on their cause.

Environmental allergies

Environmental allergies are by far the most common type experienced by pets. Also known as atopy, many environmental allergies are seasonal, such as pollen allergies which are prevalent during the spring and summer, or house mite allergies which tend to occur in the winter.

Food allergies

Approximately 10-15% of allergies in pets are attributed to food intolerances, but in many cases, the affected animal may also present with the symptoms of atopy as well. Some of the most common food intolerances in pets are soy, wheat, meats including chicken, beef and lamb, and dairy products.

Bite allergies

Bite allergies usually arise in response to a form of parasitic infection that is affecting your pet. Most often this is caused by fleas, mites or ticks. Such parasites can be prevalent at specific times of the year, but there are a wide range of preventative treatments that can help protect your pet from bite allergies.

Contact allergies

Also known as contact dermatitis, this variety of allergy is caused when the skin comes into contact with the irritant. This could be a cleaning product, a soap or shampoo, or something similar. The symptoms of contact allergies are almost always initially limited to affecting the skin.

Symptoms of pet allergies

As a pet owner, you are almost certainly aware of how frustrating it can be not to be able to understand your furry friend, particularly when you are concerned that there may be something wrong with them. As a responsible and caring pet parent, it is down to you to spot the symptoms that indicate that your beloved animal may be suffering from an allergy.

The symptoms of pet allergies may vary depending on the type of allergy, and it is important to remember that each animal can react in a different way. However, there are some core symptoms that you can expect to see, which include:

Skin problems

This can include red, scabbed, blistered, broken, lumpy, sore or oozing skin. The affected area may appear swollen, scratched or even bruised, and some pets may experience hair discoloration and loss. Many of these symptoms could appear on any part of your pet’s body. However, if they are the result of a contact allergy, the worst of the symptoms are likely to occur or be most severe where the irritant has come into contact with the body.

Behavior

Pets who are in discomfort due to an allergic reaction may exhibit a number of strange behaviors, Excessive scratching and licking is extremely common, but your animal may also behave in a different way to normal, for example, seeming much more lethargic than usual, or less interested in his food or treats. Any unusual behavior could be indicative of an underlying problem.

Ear problems

The condition of your pet’s ears – and particularly those of dogs – are often used as key indicators as to the health of each animal. Ears that are swollen, red, painful and emitting a foul odor are almost certainly indicative of some form of infection.

Breathing difficulties

In severe allergic reactions, it is not uncommon for some pets to experience breathing difficulties. Wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath are all common symptoms of atopy, and in particular, pollen and dust allergies. If your pet is experiencing any of these, it can be extremely frightening to witness, and you should seek professional advice as soon as possible.


Pet allergies are extremely common, but there are a multitude of treatments that can be administered to improve their condition and help them to live full, healthy lives. If you are concerned that your pet is suffering from an allergy, contact and arrange a consultation with us at Flamingo Pet Clinic as soon as possible to obtain testing and further advice.