When humans become too difficult to deal with on a bad day, your furry best friend will be there to give you unrequited love and appreciation. The best part of your relationship with them is that they don’t nag, complain, or get moody! It’s really unfortunate if you are allergic to your best friend and some people don’t even realize that they are. Sometimes the symptoms of dog allergy can be very subtle and unnoticeable while they cause long-term damage and inflammation. Here’s what you can do to identify if you have a dog allergy and what you can do to treat it.
Symptoms of Dog Allergy
Allergies to pets can be severe or extremely subtle. Some people will not experience symptoms after exposure to a dog for a few days. It’s important to know if you are sensitive to dog dander because you need to treat it to prevent long term damage.
Some signs that you may have an allergy to dogs include:
- Itching and swelling inside the nose or around the eyes
- Skin gets irritated or itchy after a dog licks you
- Coughing, trouble breathing or wheezing after coming in contact with a dog or being at a dog owner’s home.
- Rash after being exposed to a dog
- If you have asthma, an attack may come on.
- Sneezing around a dog or after a nearby dog get’s excited (jumps around with hair falling out)
- Runny or itchy nose
- Itchy face, lips, or neck (1)
As a person who does not live with a dog right now and has dog allergies, I can say that I can relate to most of these symptoms. However, I only get them when I am in a house with a dog with shorter hair. I would say that my allergy is moderate because I experience itching of my face, eyes and throat very badly.
These symptoms can be extremely subtle. You may be used to them by now if you have a dog in your home. A sign of a dog allergy can be feeling generally better when you are outside of your home, at work, or somewhere else and then coming back home feeling a little scratchy or sneezey after you wind down.
Causes of a Dog Allergy
It is important to know that you could only have allergic reactions to certain breeds of dogs. The hair length of a dog breed and whether it sheds heavily is a factor that determines how your immune system will react. (2)
Personally, I am allergic to dogs will short hair while moppy dogs will not bother me at all.
Some experts suggest that the breed may have nothing to do with an allergic reaction to a dog’s dander. It may be the individual dog that you could be allergic to. (3)
This makes sense to me because I know some dogs with short hair that do not trigger an allergic response in me when I’m in their home.
Perhaps it has something to do with the genetics of the individual dog and its lifestyle. The allergy to a dog could easily be mistaken for an allergy to the dog’s hair since it sheds a lot. However, it’s important to know that the substance you are allergic to is actually the protein in the dog’s dander – flakes of dead skin. The same protein is present in their saliva and urine.
Treating the Symptoms of Dog Allergy
Your pet allergies will worsen if your lifestyle is not promoting your health. You will find that allergies to pets will become less severe if you incorporate a healthy natural diet with exercise and relaxation. I have noticed that after I eliminated sugar and salt from my diet, my symptoms of dog allergy had become much better. I can now come in contact with a dog with short hair and won’t need an antihistamine 20 minutes later.
Since the pet dander that you are allergic to is airborne and you breathe it in, it would be extremely beneficial to invest in an air filter to capture the allergens in the most important rooms of your home. Experts recommend a HEPA air purifier that does not generate ozone.
Antihistamines are also effective for treating symptoms of dog allergy, but they should not be a habit to use them because they can cause other side effects and change your body in multiple ways. Of all of the over-the-counter antihistamines available, Allegra and Zyrtec seem to be the most effective with the least risk of producing drowsiness. (4)
Xyzal is a new antihistamine that was recently approved to be sold over-the-counter. Studies are being done to prove its effectiveness. If you have tried Xyzal, let me know what you think of it compared to the others in a comment!
If you are allergic to your friend’s dog, an OTC antihistamine would be beneficial to take before you go for a visit. The symptoms of dog allergy are caused by histamine, so the chemical should be blocked from being produced by your body if you expect a serious allergic reaction in the future. It will likely be much more effective than natural supplements in preventing an allergic reaction.
Tips to Help You Live With Your Pet
Allowing your pet outside for most of the time is the best way to limit your exposure to the allergen. It is also very healthy for them to get fresh air and sunlight. You should probably do this if you are allergic to your dog and you’d love to still keep them!
Some other things that you can do include:
- Not allowing the pet you are allergic to in your bedroom. You spend a lot of time in there and you’ll want that environment to be as clean as possible. It would also be great to put an air purifier in there.
- Since pet dander is sticky, you should scrub the floors and walls every so often to clean it up. If you have a rug, you can steam it frequently.
- Change your clothes if you are exposed to a dog you are allergic to.
- Ventilation in your home can stir up the allergens in dander.
- You can allow somebody else to bathe your dog to limit close exposure to the dog’s allergens. They can also brush the dog to help as well.
- You can also consider immunotherapy.
- Adding houseplants to the important rooms in your house can clean the air.
A healthy lifestyle will also be a great immunity boost that can eliminate the symptoms of dog allergy. Avoiding sugar, alcohol, salt, and drugs can help tremendously.
I am always here for you, so if you have a question or something to add about the symptoms of dog allergy, please leave me a comment!
Talk to you soon,