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Top Signs Your Pet Is Having an Allergic Reaction

Like humans, your four-legged friend can also be allergic to a wide variety of things. These allergens can be found in food, household items, and outdoors. Some of the most common triggers include:

  • Dander.

  • Bug bites.

  • Perfumes.

  • Prescription drugs.

  • Laundry detergents.

  • Fabrics like polyester.

  • Dust, mold, and pollens.

  • Grass, tree, and weed pollens.

  • Chicken, beef, eggs, and other food ingredients.

  • Insecticides, flea-control products, and household cleaners.


Here are the top signs your pet has an allergic reaction:

Itchiness. This is a universal manifestation of exposure to an allergen. The irritation could either be localized or generalized. Some of the most common areas that can be itchy are the face, ears, limbs, armpits, and hindquarters. You will often see your pet lick, bite, or scratch at these sites. This can lead to skin inflammation and even hair loss.

Puffy Face. Facial swelling can occur around your pet’s eyes, on their ears, and muzzle. The puffiness is usually more dramatic and noticeable in short-haired breeds. Areas that have become swollen due to an allergen are also generally itchy. So, if you see your cat or dog rubbing or scratching its face, it should alert you of the problem.

Hives. Also referred to as urticaria, hives are localized skin rashes characterized by small, round, red bumps on the skin. Like facial swelling, you can easily spot the onset of hives if your pet is short-coated. Otherwise, you will have to rely on your sense of touch to detect these raised welts in pets with long, thick hair. The hives may or may not be itchy. They’re not life-threatening, but urgent medical attention may be necessary to make your pet comfortable.

Gastrointestinal Issues. Vomiting and diarrhea are more common in allergy-inducing foods. But these symptoms can also be triggered by other allergens. A prescription diet is required to diagnose food allergies. Talk to your veterinarian. They will discuss with you the tests and protocols to determine whether the allergic reaction indeed was because of food allergies or due to inhalant triggers. Vomiting and diarrhea can also be because of anaphylaxis. During an anaphylactic reaction, your pet’s immune system releases many chemicals, which can have a systemic effect on various areas of their body. These include their gastrointestinal tract.

Anaphylaxis. This is the most severe type of allergic reaction. An anaphylactic reaction can cause your cat or dog’s body to go into shock. This can lead to reduced blood pressure, labored breathing, loss of control of the bowels and urinary tract, seizures, and collapse. Any allergen can lead to anaphylactic shock in pets. Vaccines are a more common cause. So, you must monitor your cat or dog closely during vaccination. Never leave them unattended immediately after receiving the drug. Check for pale gums, lethargy, and gastrointestinal problems. If an anaphylactic reaction occurs, the symptoms surface within just a few minutes. Without immediate treatment, it can be fatal.


Do you want to learn more about how you can manage your pet’s allergic reactions? Visit Santa Monica Pet Medical Center today in Santa Monica, California, for more information. Call us now at (310) 393-8218 to book an appointment.

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