Pet allergy signs

Pets can be allergic to many of the same substances as people, including environmental allergens, food allergens, and insect bites (e.g., fleas). But unlike us, pets experience allergic reactions primarily through their skin rather than the upper respiratory tract. This means while we’re sniffling and sneezing through allergy season, our pet’s signs include:

  • Frequent scratching
  • Repetitive biting and licking
  • Hair loss
  • Thin or patchy hair coat
  • Facial rubbing
  • Scaly, crusting, or irritated skin
  • Secondary bacterial infections, hot spots, or sores
  • Recurring ear infections

Some pets—especially cats—will display more traditional respiratory signs including eye or nasal discharge, sneezing, and coughing in response to airborne allergens, while food allergies may also trigger gastrointestinal signs (e.g., vomiting or diarrhea).

Relief for allergic pets

If your pet is experiencing allergy signs, schedule an appointment for a dermatology consultation. Our veterinarians will take a complete history—including your pet’s outdoor activity, indoor environment, lifestyle, and diet—and perform a physical exam. Additional testing such as skin scrapes, cytology, or biopsy may be recommended. And because some hormone-related conditions can cause changes to the skin and coat, blood work may also be advised.

Fortunately, if your pet is diagnosed with allergies, medical management can provide much needed relief. Our veterinarians will use multiple methods to address any present discomfort, reduce allergen exposure if possible, and strengthen your pet’s defenses by promoting skin and immune health. If additional care is required, we may refer you to a veterinary dermatologist for advanced testing and treatment.