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Knowing the Signs of Allergies in Pets

Knowing the Signs of Allergies in Pets

Allergies in pets are rarer than allergies in humans, but they can still make pets uncomfortable and severe reactions can cause grave health problems. Pet owners who recognize their pet's allergy symptoms can take steps to alleviate the discomfort and help pets lead happy, healthy lives.

What Is an Allergy?

An allergy is the immune system's reaction to something it perceives as a threat. When the immune system targets an allergen, it takes whatever steps it can to minimize the threat and eliminate it from the body. When that perceived threat is a common environmental element, however, allergic reactions can escalate and become acutely uncomfortable because it is impossible to completely remove the unwanted allergen. In these cases, medical treatment can help alleviate symptoms and help pets adjust without too much discomfort.

Pets can be allergic to a wide variety of environmental items, including…

  • Chemicals
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Dust
  • Fabrics
  • Fleas
  • Foods
  • Medication
  • Mold
  • Perfume
  • Pollen
  • Ticks

The severity of different pets' allergies will vary, and not every pet has the same reaction to the same allergen. Some pets may even be allergic to multiple items, making it more difficult to pinpoint allergic hazards that are causing uncomfortable reactions.

Allergy Symptoms in Pets

Pets can react to allergies in a variety of ways. Typical reactions include…

  • Itchy, reddened skin
  • Excessive scratching or biting as a type of scratching
  • Excessively runny eyes or nose
  • Sneezing or wheezing
  • Vomiting, diarrhea or other digestive problems
  • Snoring or irregular breathing when asleep
  • Constant licking, especially of the same area
  • Swollen or reddened paws
  • Chronic ear infections or ear discharge
  • Hair loss in patchy areas
  • Welts, sores or scabs on the skin

Pets' allergy symptoms may fluctuate from day to day, depending on what is causing their reaction and their level of exposure to the allergen. When symptoms are recurrent or increase in intensity, however, it is important to seek a veterinarian's care for proper diagnosis of the allergy and finding the appropriate course of treatment to make the pet more comfortable. In some cases, simple lifestyle changes may dramatically reduce or eliminate the pet's symptoms, while more severe allergies may require ongoing treatment. Whatever the case, however, noticing and recognizing the signs of allergies in pets is the first step to helping minimize how uncomfortable those allergies can be.

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