6 Signs of Allergic Reaction in Dogs

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Does your dog have allergies? Are they severely allergic to anything? How do you know if your dog is dealing with an allergic reaction to something they have come into contact with? And when is an allergic reaction an emergency for your pet?

Below, we’ll answer all these questions and more. By the time you finish reading this article, you should be able to recognize the signs of allergic reaction in your dog and know when to take them to the emergency vet, too. Read on to learn more.

signs of allergic reactions in dogs

Signs That Your Dog is Having an Allergic Reaction

The 6 most common signs are listed below:

1. Panting

Panting on its own does not necessarily indicate an allergic reaction in your dog. Panting can be associated with pain, respiratory illness, heatstroke, or just being too warm on a hot day. However, when it is found along with other symptoms on this list, panting may mean your dog is having an allergic reaction to something.

Panting from an allergy typically does not include drooling, although it could in some dogs. If your dog is panting and seems to be in distress, take them to the vet. No matter what the underlying cause might be, they likely needs medical help in this situation.

2. Hives and Itching

One very telltale sign of allergic reaction in dogs is the appearance of hives. Hives break out on the skin and form in red, itchy patches. They may cause your dog to lick, chew, or scratch the site of the hives so much that they break the skin, which can then lead to infection.

If your dog is allergic to something so much that it causes hives, they need to be seen by a vet or emergency vet. Hives can quickly escalate into a more serious anaphylactic reaction, so keep a very close watch on your pet if they exhibit this sign.

3. Obsessive Licking or Chewing

Some dogs may obsessively lick or chew the location of the allergen, especially if they have been bitten or stung by something. While this behavior may be related to the pain of the bite or sting, it can also indicate an allergic reaction taking place. Monitor your dog carefully and see if they show any other signs of being allergic to the bite or sting. If so, they may need to see a veterinarian.

4. Swelling of the Site

If the allergic reaction is caused by a bite or sting, or if it is caused by something your dog comes into physical contact with, they may experience swelling at the site of the allergy. This symptom is most commonly seen in dogs who are stung by insects, but it can occur with other allergy types, too.

Swelling of the site is a moderate symptom that can quickly escalate to a severe one. Pay very close attention to your dog and watch for any changes in their symptoms moving forward. If any symptoms worsen, or if they develop new symptoms, go to the emergency vet.

5. Swelling of the Face or Neck

In the case of anaphylaxis, your dog may experience swelling in their face, snout, and neck. This type of swelling is extremely dangerous and can quickly cut off your dog’s airways, making it difficult or impossible for them to breathe. Facial swelling is often the cause of death in severe allergic reactions. If your dog’s face or neck are starting to swell, don’t wait. Go to the emergency vet immediately, as they may need steroids and other treatments to help them recover from this reaction.

6. Rapid Heart Rate

A rapid heart rate is another concerning symptom that is often associated with severe allergic reaction in dogs. If your dog is suffering from any of the other symptoms on this list and you also notice a rapid heart rate, take them to the emergency vet for prompt medical treatment.

Additionally, if your dog has facial swelling and a rapid heart rate, this is a serious emergency. Go to the emergency vet right away. The sooner you respond to your dog in this situation, the better their chances will be. Anaphylactic reactions to allergens should never be taken lightly, as they can quickly turn fatal.

Seek Veterinary Care for Allergic Reactions in Dogs

Mild allergic reactions will often resolve on their own in a day or two. Moderate allergic reactions require close monitoring but will typically get better without medical intervention as well. However, severe allergic reactions are dangerous and can be potentially life-threatening. For this reason, you should take your pet to their veterinarian as soon as they shows signs of any allergic reactions, as these can worsen quickly.

If your pet is showing signs of an allergic reaction, or if you have additional questions, our team is ready to help. At Orlando Vets, our compassionate and talented veterinarians are dedicated to providing your pet with the best care. Please contact us or make an appointment today!

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