Dog Allergies: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention Explained
“A dog is a man’s best friend” - this saying is not true for those who are allergic to dogs. The severity of dog allergies range from mild to severe. However, home remedies and certain medication can help reduce the symptoms.
In this article, we will learn the causes and how to treat dog allergies.
What Are Dog Allergies?
When there is an allergic reaction in the human body due to proteins present in a dog's skin, urine or saliva, it is known as dog allergy. Dog allergies affect 10% to 20% of the global population every year. Although cat allergies are almost twice as common as allergies caused by dogs, the effects of dog allergies are more severe.
What Are the Symptoms of Dog Allergies?
The symptoms of dog allergies can be anywhere between mild to severe. They include –
- Itching and swelling in the membranes around the eyes and nose.
- Skin redness after a dog licks.
- Wheezing, breath shortness and coughing after being exposed to allergens.
- Rash on neck, chest or face.
- Severe asthma attacks.
- Eczema in children.
What Are the Causes of Dog Allergies?
Dogs secrete certain proteins that stay in their dead skin, urine and saliva. The allergic reaction occurs when the immune system of a person reacts to these harmless proteins. However, the dead skin varies across the different breeds of dogs. So, it is normal to be more allergic to specific breeds.
An allergen finds its way to the fur of the dog and gets collected on clothing, carpets and couch cushions. Dead skin and dust is the allergen for dog allergies which can stay in the air for a long time.
How to Treat Dog Allergies?
The only way to totally get rid of dog allergies is to remove the dog from home. However, if you love your dog very much and do not want to part with him, use the following medicines to help reduce symptoms of dog allergy in humans –
- Antihistamines, Benadryl, Allegra, Claritin and Clarinex OTC
- Nasal corticosteroids
- Allergy shots
- Leukotriene modifiers
How Can You Prevent Dog Allergies?
Following lifestyle changes can help to avoid dog allergies –
- Set up dog-free zones and do not allow the dog to enter these areas.
- Bathe the dog every week with pet-friendly shampoo.
- Remove upholstered furniture, carpets, curtains and other items that might attract dander.
- Use high-efficiency air purifiers with HEPA filters to avoid airborne allergens.
- Keep the dog outside.
- While you bring your new pet, assess the reactions of family members.