Common Puppy Allergies Symptoms

Puppy allergies can be caused by food, fleas or environmental allergens and can cause your pup supreme discomfort. Treatment varies based on the cause of allergies, so consult your veterinarian if you see allergy symptoms developing.

Nasal Symptoms

Puppies experiencing allergies may suffer from symptoms that appear cold-like in nature, such as sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge and runny eyes. These symptoms are not caused by the allergies themselves but by the body's reaction to the allergens.

Puppies that are prone to allergies have sensitive immune systems that release a defense at the first sign of allergens, attacking them like bacteria or viruses. When this happens, the defense, called histamines, causes blood vessels to become more porous so the allergens can be flushed out.

This reaction results in the flooding of nasal passages that result in sneezing and eye and nasal discharge. Occasionally, the particles are so small that they reach the lungs where they combine with antibodies, causing the coughing. This is caused by the histamines causing smooth muscle contractions in the lungs.

Skin Problems

Puppies suffering from allergies can show a variety of skin problems, such as dry, flaky skin, scaly skin, rashes or hives. Itching and scratching at these can lead to bacterial and yeast infections of the skin that can lead to more symptoms.

Many of these symptoms are caused by the scratching and biting, but others are caused by the histamines. While humans harbor most of their histamines in their nasal passages, dogs carry most of theirs in their skin, causing them to experience most of their worst symptoms in their skin, right where we can see it.

Behavioral Symptoms

Many owners notice puppy allergies not by the physical symptoms but behavioral ones. These symptoms include scratching, biting and rubbing into other objects. This is usually a product of the other symptoms, such as the itchy skin, but being aware of these symptoms can make you aware of the problem. This is not just a fastidious grooming regimen.

The location of the licking and biting can also alert you to the cause of the allergies. Licking the feet and groin areas can be a sign of food allergies, while intense biting around those areas as well as the tail can be an indicator of flea allergies. Dogs with environmental allergies often chew along their sides, although this isn't always the case.

Ear Infections

Dogs with allergies often suffer from recurring ear infections. The symptoms of these include head shaking, scratching at the ears and a strange odor or discharge in the ears.

This is usually a secondary illness caused by the dog's weakened immune system. In addition, dog's ears make a good storage area for histamine producers, so when a dog suffers from allergies, much of the histamine response is launched in the ears, causing itching, swelling and other symptoms.

Dogs suffering from allergies may experience one or many of these symptoms, but all of them can make your dog very uncomfortable. If the allergies persist, visit a veterinarian for allergy testing so you can help relieve the dog's symptoms.