All About Dog Allergies
Dog is known as the manâ€™s best friend. However, for people who are allergic to dogs this may not be the case. While 40% of households in U.S. have a dog, 15-30% of allergy sufferers have dog allergies
Dog Allergy Causes:
People who are allergic to dog may think their allergy is caused due to dog hair. This is not true. Dogs shed dander or skin flakes from their body. The protein in pet dander causes allergies.
Dog saliva and urine also cause allergies. People with dog allergies have supersensitive immune system, which reacts to the harmless protein in dogâ€™s dander, urine and saliva and tries to invade it. This causes the allergy symptoms.
Dog Allergy Symptoms:
Dog allergy symptoms are similar to a typical allergic reaction. They are:
- Stuffy, runny, itchy nose
- Red, itchy eyes
- Sneezing, coughing, wheezing and breathlessness
- Rash on chest, face and neck
For people with dog allergies, a lick or a scratch from the dog can cause an allergy. Also, when dander from the dog gets airborne and enters the lungs, it causes sneezing, coughing, breathlessness.
Testing for Dog Allergies:
Getting tested for dog allergies is important. While you may be thinking you are allergic to dog, you may actually be allergic to the pollen, dust carried by your dog.
Your doctor can do a skin test or a blood test, RAST (radioallergosorbent test) to determine if you have dog allergies. However, dog allergy testing may not give a complete, accurate result. For this, your doctor would ask you to stay away from your dog for a while to finalize the diagnosis
Allergy shots or immunotherapy is a long-term treatment available for people with dog allergies.
How to Prevent Dog Allergies?
Dog allergens can become airborne and they can stick to clothing, carpets etc. Hence the only way to prevent dog allergies is avoid having dog as your pet. However, most people find it difficult to part with their pets. Here are some tips to prevent dog allergies:
Keep your dog out of bedroom:
Keep your dog out of bedroom or out of rooms where you spend most of your time. This will limit the amount of dog allergens and this can decrease your allergy symptoms
Bathe your dog regularly:
Bathing your dog once or twice a week will reduce the amount of dander spread by your dog. Make sure the bathing is done by someone who is not allergic to dogs
Keep your home clean:
Keep your home clean by vacuuming with HEPA enabled vacuum cleaners which can reduce the dog allergens. Also remove upholstered furniture and things which can collect dust. Washing curtains, carpets regularly also reduces the dog allergens
You can add HEPA filter to central air-conditioning and heating to reduce the pet allergens which are airborne
Preventing dog allergens may be difficult. However, by proper care dog allergies can be managed.