Achoo! Could Your Pet Have Allergies?

Photo: Kristen G.

Photo: Kristen G.

Achoo! Was that you dear? No, it was the dog.

Just like people, dogs and cats can have reactions to certain allergens common in our environment.

Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested, or contact your pet’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive, and respiratory symptoms may appear.

According to Dr. Christine Cain, Section Chief of Dermatology & Allergy at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, “Itching is the number one sign of an allergy in your pet.” Some other symptoms of allergies are,

  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Itchy ears and ear infections
  • Sneezing
  • Constant licking

The most common type of allergy for cats and dogs is a flea allergy. A flea allergy occurs when a dog or cat becomes infested with fleas, and the fleas begin to feed on your pet. As the flea feeds, it’s saliva secretes a substance to which some animals develop an abnormal sensitivity. An allergy to the flea is the result.

Lorie Huston, DVM, says, “The symptoms of flea allergies can be prevented by preventing your dog or cat from becoming infested with fleas.”

Talk to your veterinarian about the best method of protecting your pet from fleas.

Another type of allergy common in pets is an inhalant allergy, which is a reaction to something in the pet’s environment. Inhalant allergies can be caused by grasses, pollens, or dust mites. These allergies may begin acting up as the weather gets warmer and we spend more time outdoors. If you suspect your pet has one or more of these allergies, and their symptoms are worsening, consult your veterinarian for advice.

Foods are another source of allergens for your pets. Since it may be difficult to determine the exact allergen to which your dog is reacting, the solution may require a little more effort. Eliminating certain proteins, for instance, could help to narrow down the issue.

Pets with food allergies will commonly have itchy skin, chronic ear infections, or gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea or vomiting).

Remember, pets can develop allergies at any age, so take note to who is sneezing at your house.


  1. Bill Wilson says:

    Great information as usual. I often said these same things over the years. Food is not the cause of every allergy. Also most people are in denial when it comes to fleas. It often only takes 1 flea to start a reaction.
    Great job from a great store.

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