Pet Allergies: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Puppy scratching himself.

Has your pet been scratching, licking, or biting herself a lot lately? She might be dealing with pet allergies. Our dogs and cats can experience the same over-reactive immune systems that we do when we come into contact with certain allergens. The team at East Sacramento Veterinary Center would like to share the common reasons for allergic reactions in pets. We’ll also help you know what symptoms to watch out for—and share how we can help manage your pet’s allergies. 

Top Causes of Pet Allergies

There are several different ways to describe the allergies that cause our pets distress. Sometimes we name them by the way the allergens come into contact with your pet’s body. Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), for example, is a pet skin contact allergy. In dogs with FAD, a single flea bite can ignite an exaggerated immune response. 

Allergies are also described according to what type of allergen causes them. A good example of this is an environmental allergy. Instead of describing the way the allergen gets into your pup’s system, an environmental allergy means the allergen is found outdoors. 

Some allergies are passed down from doggy parents to their puppies, like atopic dermatitis. This refers to a type of pet skin allergy that causes itchiness and skin lesions. With atopic dermatitis, your dog might inhale the offending allergen—which is usually environmental. Or, the allergen might land on your dog’s skin and work its way into the body that way. 

Long story short? Many allergies fit into more than one category. But for simplicity, we’ll stick to four common ways of categorizing the top pet allergens: 

  • Food allergies: chicken, beef, dairy, soy, egg
  • Flea allergies: flea allergy dermatitis (flea saliva allergy)
  • Environmental allergies: mold, pollen, dust mites
  • Pet skin allergies: canine atopic dermatitis, feline atopic dermatitis

These allergies can develop at any time in your pet’s life. So how do you know what to watch out for? Let’s take a look. 

Signs of Allergies in Pets

The single most common sign of a pet allergy is itching and scratching. If Fido or Kitty can’t stop scratching, itching, or licking themselves, it’s time to bring them in for allergy testing. The same thing goes if your pet experiences: 

  • Swelling of the ears, eyelids, face, or lips
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Redness and lesions on the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Watery eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing

The sooner you bring your furry friend in to get allergy testing for pets, the sooner we can help relieve their discomfort. 

Treating Pet Allergies

If your pet is showing signs of allergies, schedule an appointment with our caring team today.