Are You Allergic to Dogs?

Humans that are allergic to dogs can own pets, as allergies are manageable. Dog allergies are caused by a protein that is present in the dander shed by dogs, and occasionally by hair. Sensitive people that are exposed to other inhalant allergies such as pollens, dust or smoke are more likely to develop dog allergies.

Human Allergies to Dogs

Dog dander is the dead skin that is shed by the dog. It contains a protein that causes allergic reactions in people. The dander is scattered all around your home and can get stuck on pillows, carpets, drapes or furniture and inhaled by people.

The same protein is secreted through the dog’s saliva and urine, but in lower amounts.

Signs of Dog Allergies

If you suspect you may be allergic to dogs, you need to monitor your symptoms. You are probably sneezing in the presence of a dog or in an environment inhabited by dogs.

Other symptoms of allergies are similar to the symptoms of a cold:

  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Itchiness on the skin
  • Dermatitis

These symptoms can point to other types of food or inhalant allergies, so special tests should be ordered to establish the reason for these negative reactions.

Diagnosing Dog Allergies

Dog allergies can be diagnosed through skin and blood testing.

The blood tests will look for specific antibodies that are present in the blood of allergic people. The most effective blood tests are the RAST (radioallergosorbent) and the ELISA (ezyme linked immunoabsorbent assay) tests.

Skin testing is performed by injecting a small quantity of the allergen, the protein from the dog dander. If the skin gets irritated within 6 hours after the injection, the test is positive.

Treating Dog Allergic Reactions

After detecting the allergen, there are basically three types of treatment options:

  • Antihistamines: Rotated every 3 months to prevent immunity buildup to the components of the medication
  • Steroids: Should be administered for short periods only, due to the side effects
  • Allergy shots: Will make you less sensitive after being exposed to at least 6 shots with dog allergen

Dog Allergy Management Tips

In addition to the allergy treatment, you can also try a few techniques to reduce your reactions to dogs:

  • Keep a proper hygiene for your dog. Bathe him at least once per week to get rid of the dander and loose hair.
  • Regular grooming will reduce the amount of dander spread in the house.
  • Vacuum your home daily to get rid of dander.
  • Use air purifiers.
  • Use allergy reducing sprays on your dog.
  • Don’t allow your dog in your bedroom.
  • Modify your dog’s diet and add more fatty acids to his diet.
  • Wash your hands every time after playing with your dog.

Dog allergies cannot be treated, but can be minimized.