Get rates for your pet:

See My Rates »
Retrieve a Saved Quote

Allergies in Cats and Dogs

By Colleen Williams
published: May 2, 2017 - updated: July 8, 2024 • 2 min. read
dog smelling flower in a field

Just like humans, cats and dogs can suffer from a variety of allergies, including environmental, seasonal, and food allergies.

Allergy Symptoms

Pet allergies are caused by the immune system reacting to a substance or particles in the air, and you can see a broad spectrum of symptoms:

  • Food allergies tend to show themselves with vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive flatulence.
  • Histamines for either environmental or food allergy can result in your pet’s skin being painful or hot to the touch; you may see hives, plaques, pustules, scales, or sores.
  • Itchy skin means scratching, sometimes to the point of baldness and bleeding, and can result in bacterial or fungal infections.
  • Sneezing, watery eyes, and general lethargy can also be reported.
Protect your pet

Common Food Allergies

  • Common food allergies in cats include beef, lamb, seafood, corn, and many fillers. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, scratching, and even hives. Working with your vet to confirm the presence of an allergy and identify the source are the first steps in managing this type of allergy.
  • Common food allergies in dogs, much like cats, can result from irritants in their canned or dry food – beef, dairy, chicken, and more. As is with cats, you’ll want to get your pup to the vet and work on a plan to identify the source of the allergy.

Environmental Allergies

From animal dander to pollen to mold to dust, environmental allergies result in the same symptoms among our furry friends as they do in us. However, in addition to the sneezing and irritated eyes, cats and dogs both tend to get itchy rashes and dermatitis symptoms when they encounter pollen or substances in the air that get a reaction. Cats suffering from environmental allergies may be more prone to excessive grooming, while seasonally allergic dogs will start gnawing on paws or hot spots.

Flea allergies, also known as “flea dermatitis,” can be miserable for pups and kitties too – skin rashes and itchy spots can result in lesions, so get to the vet asap.

Diagnosing and Treating Pet Allergies

An easy reactive test administered by your vet—Heska allergy testing—will help to find out just what your pet is allergic to. While there aren’t many things you can feasibly do to prevent allergies, there have been studies that say probiotics can help boost immunity to allergens. Ultimately, food allergies and intolerances aren’t influenced by gender, breed, size, or even age; dogs and cats (and people) develop them at any point in their lives, so insuring your pet before allergy symptoms are present means these chronic conditions will be covered for your pet’s lifetime.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical diagnosis, condition, or treatment options.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

Show more