Dog Allergy Symptoms in Humans

Humans may be allergic to dogs and about 1 in 10 people develop allergies to pets. Dog allergy symptoms are developed to dog dander and in rare cases to dog hair, urine and saliva. The typical dog allergy signs include sneezing, coughing or rashes on the surface of the skin.

Dog Allergy Symptoms in Humans

Dogs shed dander on a regular basis. The dog dander is made up of skin cells and contains also several proteins; one of these proteins causes the negative reactions in humans. This protein is present in lower concentrations in the dog’s urine and saliva, but typically humans develop allergies to dog dander only.

The symptoms of allergies to dogs include:

  • Skin itchiness, caused by the contact with dog dander
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Frequent sneezing, especially in the presence of a dog, as the dander is inhaled and irritates the air ways
  • Dry coughing
  • Breathing problems, when inhaling the dog dander
  • Stuffed nose, due to the presence of histamines that are secreted in excess by the immune system
  • Watery eyes, also caused by the histamines in excess
  • Inflamed eyes, if the allergic person touches a dog and then touches his eyes
  • Swollen extremities, in rare cases

These allergy symptoms will be present when the allergic person in a dog’s companionship, but also when he is in an environment where dog dander is present.

Diagnosing Allergies to Dogs

The allergies to dogs are mostly developed in people with a more sensitive immune system.

The allergies may be detected through skin or blood testing. The skin testing will be performed by injecting a bit of dog dander protein under the skin; if the patient displays a rash or a negative reaction in the following 3 to 5 hours, the diagnosis is clear.

The blood can be examined to see if there are antibodies that form when the blood is in contact with the allergen substances.

Dog Allergy Treatment Options

Dog allergies may not be treated, but there are treatment options that can reduce the symptoms.

The treatment options for people with allergies to dog dander include:

  • Antihistamines, which reduce the symptoms but will not cure the condition; must be periodically rotated, so that the patient doesn’t develop immunity to the drugs
  • Steroids, not recommended for long term use, as they have severe side effects including kidney or liver damage
  • Allergy shots, are effective in over 75% of people and may possibly make the patient immune to dog dander; the main disadvantage of the allergy shots is that they need to be administered for at least 3 to 6 months before they start being effective and should be administered for 2 to 5 years to develop immunity to dander
  • Immunity boosters and diet supplements

There have been rumors about the invention of hypoallergenic dogs; however, dogs that don’t cause allergies in humans don’t exist. All breeds of dogs produce dander, so they all cause allergic reactions in more sensitive people.