Spot allergies quickly

Many people visit our stores asking for help with their pets who are itching, biting, scratching, or licking. In many cases, an allergy is the culprit.

Just like humans, pets can be allergic to foods (or ingredients), dust, plants and more. Dogs and cats have different reactions that can range from minor sniffling, sneezing, itching or biting, to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Grass pollen, for example, can make dogs sneeze, give them watery eyes, and have them biting or licking itchy paws and skin.

Depending on the type of allergy, your pet may exhibit different symptoms. Although pets occasionally will have watery eyes and some sneezing, the most common reaction is scratching. Constant scratching may lead to loss of fur, open sores, and raised and infected welts. Many dogs also suffer from ear infections as a result of allergies.


Pets affected by allergies may suffer their entire lives and symptoms generally worsen as they age. There are some things that you can do to manage your pet’s pain by understanding the signs of allergies and finding products that can help to alleviate their suffering.

Here are some types of allergies that can affect your pet:

  • Allergens: Allergens that are inhaled or come into contact with the skin such as pollen, mould and dust mites.
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis: An allergy incurred as a result of flea bites.
  • Food Allergies: Allergies that occur from products your pet ingests.
  • Contact Dermatitis: These allergies are caused by something your pet comes in direct contact with, such as carpet fibers, plastics, etc.
  • Seasonal Allergies: Some pets experience allergies to ragweed, tree pollen, dust mites and other allergens during the fall, spring or winter season.

7 Signs of Allergies

Common signs that your pet may be suffer from allergies can include:

  1. Chewing at the feet
  2. Excessive and constant licking of the sides or groin
  3. Rubbing their face
  4. Inflamed ears or recurring ear infections
  5. “Hot spots” in dogs and pinpoint facial scabbing in cats
  6. Hair loss
  7. Asthma-like wheezing (more common in cats)



Food Allergies

Food allergies are the most common for pets. If your pet is scratching all year long (and not just during the spring season), a food allergy is most likely the source of the problem. Pets can be allergic to grains, proteins and/or preservatives, and the symptoms will resemble those of seasonal allergies. Pets with food allergies commonly have itchy skin, chronic ear infections or sometimes gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting.

To address the problem, we recommend a “food trial” which involves limiting the pet to a unique animal protein source such as duck, venison or fish. A Limited Ingredient Diet will typically include only one meat and limited vegetables. Restrict all treats and table food until the allergy source can be determined. Over time, you can reintroduce your pet to other proteins, using a process of elimination to determine the allergy source.

Common Symptoms


  • Waxy discharge, redness, odour.
  • Scratches or rubs ears against the furniture or with their paws


  • Reddened; possibly with crusts or scales; odour with secondary infections.
  • Scratching and licking sides/belly, elbows, and/or groin.


  • Inflammation, redness, odour; brown discolouration where licking has occurred.
  • Licking and chewing of feet/pads


  • Mouth, chin and areas around the eyes reddened with hair loss.
  • Scratching or rubbing face with paws or against furniture.


  • Bald spots; brown discolouration where licking has occurred
  • Scratching sides/belly; rubbing face against furniture or carpet, licking.

There is no cure for allergies in dogs and cats, and identifying and treating the source of an allergy can be tricky, but the majority of allergies can be effectively controlled with diet change, supplements, or other types of treatments. A licensed veterinarian may need to be consulted for extreme or ongoing cases, while the Pet Care Specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods can assist with product recommendations in many other cases.