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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Does Your Pet Have Allergies Learn The Signs

Does Your Pet Have Allergies? Learn the Signs

PetSmart Banfield, The Pet Hospital®

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Just like humans, pets can experience allergic reactions from almost any substance including food, insect bites, medications, grooming products, vaccines and inhaled particles like dust or pollen.

The immune system is designed to protect the body from infection. A normally functioning system recognizes things that are "non-self" such as bacteria, viruses, other microorganisms, pollen and other small particles that enter or contact the body.  The immune system processes the invaders to help prevent disease.

In some instances, the immune system can overreact, causing mild to severe, life-threatening disease, manifesting as an "allergic reaction.”

Mild to moderate reactions may include swelling or irritation of the skin, especially around the face, head and feet. Hives, rashes, blisters, clear discharge from eyes or nostrils, sneezing, itching and mild discomfort may also be present. 

More serious reactions include all of the above as well as:

- Difficulty breathing

- Choking

- Coughing

- Severe swelling or skin reactions

- Pain

- Depression

- Anaphylactic shock (this is a severe, immediate and life-threatening immune reaction that requires emergency treatment)

Diagnosis is based on history, symptoms and examination findings. All allergic reactions should receive prompt medical treatment.


The treatment varies based on severity, but usually includes antihistamines and other medications to control the allergic reaction. Severe cases may require additional medications, breathing support, cardiac monitoring, fluid therapy and hospitalization.



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