As spring turns to summer, the world comes alive again. Unfortunately, with the new growth comes many allergies, such as those caused by spiders, bees, pollen, mold, and grasses, which can all create severe allergic reactions in pets, as well as people. With warmer temperatures, you’re likely to spend more time outdoors with your furry pal, who may stick their nose into an unfortunate location, such as an anthill, beehive, or flowers pumping out yellow pollen. While some pets may frolic in a field of wildflowers and come away with nary a hot spot, other pets will become a hot, itchy mess. If your pet is predisposed to sensitivities, keep a sharp eye out for the following allergic reaction signs.

#1: Your pet is itchy

Red, itchy, irritated skin is one of the most common signs of an allergic reaction in pets. While human allergies tend to manifest in watery eyes and sneezing, pets often show their allergies through skin issues. Pets allergic to pollen generally develop itchy paws and abdomens that come in contact with the grass, and you’ll likely notice them chewing and licking at their red, inflamed paws, or licking their belly. Allergic pets are also prone to itchy ears, which can turn into ear infections, as inflammation leads to yeast overgrowth. If your pet is licking, chewing, or scratching excessively, an underlying allergy issue is likely the reason. 

#2: You notice your pet’s face swelling

Pets can be too curious for their own good, sticking their noses into interesting places like anthills, beehives, and spiderwebs. Unfortunately, these insects do not take kindly to strangers, and often retaliate with a bite or sting. A localized allergic reaction can occur at the place of injury, leading to a puffy face. Puppies are particularly adept at pouncing on biting or stinging bugs, and frequently sport a swollen muzzle, face, or paw from their attempts to play with insects. 

Vaccine reactions can also cause your pet’s face to swell, which can be life-threatening, if the swelling advances to blocking their airway. Most vaccine reactions occur shortly after administration, which will allow you to return to your family veterinarian for treatment. However, if your family veterinarian is not available, and your pet is swelling up, contact the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center for after-hours care. 

#3: Your pet is covered in hives

Like people, pets can break out in hives as a result of an allergic reaction. While not as noticeable in long-haired pets, you can easily see and feel small bumps under your short-haired pet’s skin. Hives generally pop up after an encounter with an insect or environmental or contact allergen, such as pollen, grasses, or cleaning products. Most often, you will see hives on your pet’s sides and belly during an allergic reaction, but they can also crop up on the ears and muzzle. 

#4: Your pet is suffering from gastrointestinal issues

While your pet can experience vomiting and diarrhea with any allergic reaction, gastrointestinal upset is most frequently associated with food allergies. Contrary to popular belief, true food allergies in pets are relatively rare, with grain allergies less common, and a pet’s food allergy is likely caused by a protein source, such as chicken, lamb, or dairy products, rather than corn or rice. Food sensitivities are more common than food allergies, and pets with a food sensitivity often develop vomiting or diarrhea after eating that particular food. If you notice your pet itching year-round, with vomiting or diarrhea, speak to your family veterinarian about a possible food allergy.

#5: Your pet is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction or going into shock

Anaphylaxis is an emergency situation that occurs when a pet has a severe reaction to an allergen. Most anaphylactic conditions set in rapidly, often only a few minutes after exposure. During an anaphylactic reaction, your pet can suffer from shock, vomiting, difficulty with bowel control, uncontrolled urination, and trouble breathing. If your pet is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction, immediate veterinary intervention is necessary, as this condition can be life-threatening. If your family veterinarian is not available, contact us immediately.

If you notice any allergic reaction signs in your pet, don’t wait to see if they go away. Contact the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center for after-hours urgent care, to get your furry pal prompt relief.