Dust Allergies in Dogs

When people suffer from a dust allergies, they tend to sneeze and sniffle, but dogs with dust allergies show different clinical signs.

Canine dust allergies are classified as atopic allergies, or inhaled allergies that frequently appear as skin problems. Some, like a flea allergy, are seasonal, while others, like a dust allergy, may be a problem throughout the year. Find out how to detect and treat a canine dust allergy to help your pet feel better year-round.

Signs of a Canine Dust Allergy

Dust allergies and other atopic allergies typically cause clinical signs in affected dogs between the ages of 1 and 3 years.

They include:

  • incessant scratching of the face, ears and belly
  • bald spots
  • chronic ear infections
  • constant chewing on the feet and legs

There may be a genetic component to atopic allergies, with some breeds being more susceptible to them. Breeds that have an increased tendency to develop atopic allergies include:

  • the boxer
  • the Dalmatian
  • the English setter
  • the golden retriever
  • the Irish setter
  • the lhasa apso
  • the miniature schnauzer
  • the West Highland white terrier

Diagnosing Your Dog’s Dust Allergy

A combination of skin and blood tests can help your veterinarian diagnose a dust allergy in your dog. The blood tests will combine a small blood sample from your dog with dust and other allergens with the goal of creating an allergic reaction, while skin tests will involve small amounts of allergens being injected under your dog’s skin in an attempt to create an allergic reaction.

Treating Your Dog’s Dust Allergy

After your veterinarian has the results of your dog’s blood and skin tests, he or she can devise treatments for your dog. Depending on the severity of your dog’s clinical signs, your veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines, sprays to soothe your dog’s irritated skin or medicated shampoos. Steroids may also be prescribed to help relieve your dog’s itching and skin irritation, but they should be used as a short-term solution only because long-term use may lead to organ damage in your pet.

Create a Dust-Free House

To help your dog feel better, create a dry, cool environment in your home because dust mites thrive in warm, humid conditions. A humidity level below 70 percent and indoor temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit or lower will reduce the number of dust mites in your home.

In addition to monitoring the indoor temperature and humidity levels, you may need to clean more frequently. Install a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter on your vacuum cleaner to capture the greatest number of dust mites during each vacuuming session. Vacuum carpeting and upholstered furniture regularly, and consider replacing carpets with tile or vinyl flooring in the rooms that your dog spends most of his time.

Add HEPA air cleaners to the rooms where your dog spends the majority of his time, and consider having your air ducts cleaned to remove dust and other residue that’s accumulated in your home’s duct work over the years.

Wash your dog’s bedding weekly in hot water and dry it thoroughly to avoid creating an additional potential for a mold allergy in your dog.