5 Signs Your Dog or Cat Has Allergies

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People aren’t the only species affected by allergies. Many mammals, including your cat or dog, can have allergy-related issues as well. These five signs could mean that your pet is suffering from allergies.

1. Itching

While there are many causes of itching in dogs and cats, allergies to pollen, dust, fleas and even certain food ingredients can cause itching. If you notice a sudden change in your dog or cat that including excessive scratching, hair loss, crusts or scabs, red skin or irritation, have your pet seen by a veterinarian. Itching can be seasonal if it is related to season allergy such as pollen, or it can be year-round if your pet is constantly exposed to an allergen

2. Red, Watery Eyes

pets can experience some of the same symptoms of allergies as humans. Red, watery, itchy eyes are a sign of environmental allergies. These typically worsen in the spring and fall, depending on your geographical location and what allergens your dog is susceptible to. However, in warmer climates, these signs can happen at any time of the year. Pets may begin rubbing their faces on carpeting, bedding or furniture as well as scratching and pawing at their eyes.

3. Paw Licking

A classic sign of allergies in dogs is excessive paw licking. Dogs with white or light-colored fur on their paws may experience a change of hair color as the excessive licking and saliva can cause “bronzing” of the fur. If you notice that your dog’s paws have a brownish tint to the hair, it may be a sign that they are licking their paws a lot. This is usually because of the allergens that stick to the fur and skin as they walk through grass outside

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4. Ear Infections

One of the most common signs of allergies in dogs and cats is recurrent ear infections. If you notice that your pet is shaking his head a lot, scratching at his ears or is holding one ear up or down in an unusual way, he may have an ear infection. Often times, ear infections will cause the ear canal to have a foul smell and brown or yellow debris in the ear canals. If your dog is being treated for ear infections every year or more, it might be time to look into treating underlying allergies as a potential cause.

5. Sneezing and “Reverse Sneezing”

Allergens in the air can cause cats, dogs and people to sneeze. In dogs, irritation in the sinuses can cause what is called a “reverse sneeze” that tends to happen more during allergy season. Typically, these sneezing fits are harmless but they can be a nuisance to both pets and their owners. If your pet is sneezing more during allergy season this year, talk to your veterinarian about what medications you can give your pet to help reduce sneezing.

If you notice any of these signs, have your pet seen by your veterinarian to give them relief from the allergies and to prevent more serious problems from developing. Medications are available from your veterinarian to lessen these symptoms and, depending on the allergy type, prevent them all together.

Environmental allergies (also known as atopy) are the most common pet insurance claim Pets Best receives for dogs; accounting for 30% of all the dog insurance claims. And for cats, allergies (of all types) are the fourth most common claim Pets Best receives; accounting for 8 percent of all cat insurance claims. Pet insurance covers future health issues that occur after the policy is in effect, so it’s important for pet parents to get their dog or cat enrolled on a pet insurance plan as soon as possible. Get a pet insurance quote today at PetsBest.com.

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Learn more: The top 10 pet insurance claims for dogs and cats.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best pet health insurance. Pets Best was founded by a veterinarian in 2005 and offers pet insurance plans for dogs and cats in all 50 states and D.C.

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