Allergies or Something Else?

Snowball a Jack RussellAs a kid I always wondered why Snowball, our pet Jack Russell, licked her feet like they were ice cream cones every fall and spring. You can see the little brown stains on her paws in her picture. Does your pet do the same thing? Like Snowball, your pet may have allergies.

How do you know if your pet has allergies? What might they be allergic to? Find out below.

Dogs with allergies are usually itchy, which they show by licking, rubbing or scratching some part of their body including their feet, ears, eyes, sides, or rear end. Every pet is a little different. Cats with allergies can be pretty mysterious about it.

Allergies may be part of the reason your pet has:

  • Ear infections
  • Hot spots
  • Full or infected anal glands
  • Skin disease that keeps coming back

The last thing you want when your pet has a skin disease is to catch what they have. Skin diseases like fleas, mange, and ringworm can make people itchy too, so make sure to get to a vet (like me) to find out if your pet has something contagious and how to protect yourself.

Skin disease can also be a sign of bigger problems that your vet can look for: thyroid, adrenal gland, and liver disease, to name a few.

You might know that pets, like people, can be allergic to things in their environment such as pollen and dust. You might not know that food and flea allergies are common in pets too.

While people with food allergies get upset stomachs, pets can get itchy skin. Pets with flea allergies can become itchy all over from a single bite, even if they aren’t infested with fleas.

Whether allergies make your pet only slightly uncomfortable or constantly itchy, we will tell you how you can help make your pet more comfortable in our next entry.

For more information on why a pet may be licking their feet check out this blog post.


Please remember that this blog is not a substitute for real-life veterinary advice. Your vet knows you and your pet best and you should talk with them before starting any course of treatment. Seeing, touching, and smelling a pet is essential to making a good treatment plan, none of which I can do from my blog (sorry).

More than anything, I hope these topics will encourage you to take your concerns to your veterinarian and help your pet feel better sooner.

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