Dust Mites Allergy Symptoms in Dogs

Dust mites allergy can be a year-round problem for both dogs and people. In people, they cause wheezing and sneezing, but your dog will most likely show signs of his dust mite allergy by developing a skin problem. By learning what the signs of canine dust mite allergy are, you'll be on the lookout for them so you can help your dog feel better when he has an allergy attack.

Where Dust Mites Live

Relatives of spiders, dust mites are found throughout the average American home. They feed on dead skin cells that fall off humans and animals. After they eat, they eliminate, and it's a protein in their waste that causes an allergic reaction in sensitive dogs and people.

Dust mites are most often found in the bedroom, and they also are found in large quantities in carpeting and on upholstered furniture. Mites congregate in mattresses, carpet backing, upholstery and fabric. The mites come out to feed at night, and they thrive in warm, humid environments (those in which the temperature remains above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent humidity). Cooler, drier home environments deter the development of dust mites. Dust mite allergies are most likely to cause problems for dogs and people between August and November, when evenings become cooler but humidity levels are still high.

Signs of a Canine Dust Allergy

Canine dust allergies are atopic, or an inhaled allergy that causes a skin reaction in affected animals. Dust-sensitive dogs are most likely to begin showing signs of their allergy when they are between 1 and 3 years of age. Physical signs of canine dust allergy include:

  • Chronic ear infections
  • Constant chewing on the feet and legs
  • Constant scratching (most common scratching sites: the dog's belly, ears and face)

Untreated dust allergies can create bald spots in the dog's coat because he scratches hard enough and long enough to remove his hair.

A Clean House Is a Mite-Controlled House

Keeping your house as dust-free as possible can help alleviate the signs of your dog's dust mite allergy. Vacuum and dust frequently, and pay special attention to carpeted areas and upholstered furniture. Cover mattresses and pillows with special allergy-reducing covers.

Wash dog and human bedding weekly in hot water, and dry all bedding thoroughly. Wash your dog's cloth toys weekly to reduce the number of mites that may try to live in them.

Place high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners to the rooms where your dog spends the majority of his time to remove additional mites, 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. Run your central air conditioner regularly to regulate your home's humidity levels and use dehumidifiers in basements or other problem areas.

Restricting your dog's access to high humidity areas of your home, such as basements, bathrooms or laundry rooms, can also help since mites need high levels of humidity to thrive.