Does Your Pet Have Allergies Or An Illness? How Can You Tell?

Does Your Pet Have Allergies Or An Illness?

Pet allergies are very common. Dogs and cats can develop allergies to foods, pollen, or items around the home such as plastics or dust mites. The symptoms can often be confusing, and it is often difficult to tell if your furry family member is sick or experiencing an allergic response. Does your pet have allergies or an illness? Here are 6 ways to help you tell the difference.

6 Tips to Tell Whether Your Pet Has Allergies or an Illness

1.  Itchy Skin

In dogs and cats, itchy skin, especially on the paws, trunk, legs, face, and around the anus can signal food allergies. Dogs may have chronic ear yeast infections that resist treatment. In cats, food allergens can sometimes cause wheezing or heavy breathing. Most food allergies can be addressed with a change to a particularly limited ingredient diet. Other culprits can be something as simple as dry skin. Talk to your vet about treatment options to treat itchiness that is caused by allergies.

2.  Swelling/Bleeding

If your dog’s face swells or if his snout is causing him to bleed because of scratching or chewing, you should see your vet immediately. Also, if a pet does not respond to a special diet after a month, they should be investigated for another cause such as thyroid disease. If your cat seems to be in distress or is drooling while wheezing, consider this to be a medical emergency. These symptoms are often more than just allergies and should be treated appropriately.

3.  Food Sensitivity

Dogs and cats with frequent, loose bowel movements and occasional vomiting may have a type of food sensitivity. In many cases, it is an allergy to, or inability to digest, grains such as corn, wheat, or soy. A quality grain-free diet may permanently cure this allergy.

Easy Ways to Deal with Seasonal Allergies in Cats

4.  Loss of Appetite

If your pet stops eating, has abdominal discomfort, or has bloody or fatty stools, they should see a vet right away to rule out acute pancreatitis or other pressing issues. Cats with the above symptoms that start vocalizing and/or straining on the litter pan may have a bladder blockage. Get him or her to the vet immediately if you notice these symptoms.

5.  Rashes/Chronic Wheezing

If your pet has rashes, acne, chronic wheezing, hot spots, scabs, and rubs her face on the carpet, this can indicate an allergy caused by inhaled allergens in the home. A plastic food dish might be the culprit, so switching to a metal one may be all that is needed.

6.  Other Skin Problems

Skin with discoloration, yellowish discharge, or swelling may indicate a medical problem that needs to be addressed promptly. It could mean that your pet has a wound that has become infected, or that there are additional underlying health problems, both of which should be evaluated by a professional.

Any time your pet is having a new set of symptoms, you should always consult your veterinarian to rule out a problem that could require prompt treatment, say the experts at the Animal Care Center of Forest Park. However, these are a few tips you can use to try to determine if your pet has allergies or illness.


“Does Your Pet Have Allergies Or An Illness?”

Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO.

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15 thoughts on “Does Your Pet Have Allergies Or An Illness? How Can You Tell?”

  1. Baymax is allergic to chicken and grains. He gets really dry and itchy skin as well as gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea. It’s easy enough to find grain-free things these days, but finding chicken-free food and treats is so hard! I have found food and treats that work though, they are just more expensive than normal. worth it though for how healthy he stays now that I have eliminated his allergens!

    • I’m glad you’ve got things figured out for Maymax, Mila. I can imagine it’s difficult to find the right food and treats. My husband and I are vegetarian, and it’s so hard to find stuff. Practically everything practically has meat. Nice to hear from you, girl. Peace out.

  2. Thanks for sharing the tips for dog owners. The information you have provided will help me in determining whether my Shih Tzu is having an allergy or not.

  3. Thanks for sharing this advice on determining whether your dog has allergies or a more serious problem. Since our pets can’t talk to us, it really is important that watch for any signs of discomfort and scrutinize them. However, it is nice that you can determine whether your pet is just sneezing, or suffering from something much more serious. Either way, I think a good vet is another way to help make sure your pet is healthy since they can diagnose conditions that the owner may have overlooked.

    • Absolutely, Delores. Always seek advice from your more knowledgeable vet if you suspect something is going on. Thank you so much for visiting my blog today! I do hope you’ll come again. Peace

  4. Great tips Jeanne! Thanks for sharing. It is so important for people to be informed about how allergies can affect their pets. Working previously in a vet hospital and now at a dog daycare, I’ve seen many pets with many kinds of allergies. Some can be deadly if not recognized and taken seriously.

    • Hi Lisa. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my post. Yes, I’m sure you seen a lot in your experience of working at a vet hospital and a dog daycare. The daycare must be a lot of fun. I envy you! 🙂 If you have any stories to tell … I accept guest blogs! 🙂 Peace

  5. I am so glad Laika doesn’t seem to suffer from any allergies. I could only imagine how hard it is to find out your animal is allergic to some common food ingredient or sensitive to a common fabric. I never realized chronic wheezing might be a sign of allergies either, good to know. Great informative post – thank you for sharing.

  6. Allergies in pets are so crazy! As you mentioned above, they just don’t present in the same way that human allergies do. My Cinco was allergic to a substance on or in this rug I had one summer. He lost all of his belly fur! We had to dig and dig to find his allergy and we finally removed the rug. One the rug was gone he started growing his fur back.

  7. Thanks for sharing this great, important info, Jeanne! I know all too well what it’s like, as Destiny has many allergies (like her Momma!). I think a lot of people don’t realize that pets can have allergies just as seriously as humans. Great post, and love your site redesign! 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by, Asia. It seems like more and more dogs are becoming allergic these days. Cats too. A lot of time it has to do with food, so I’m wondering what’s really in it, sadly. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and thank you for the complement on my site redesign. It’s an ongoing project. 🙂


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