14 Mar | Posted by Carmelina Tortorelli | no comments |
Dogs secrete proteins that end up in their dander (dead skin), saliva, and urine. An allergic reaction occurs when a sensitive person’s immune system reacts abnormally to the usually harmless proteins. Different breeds produce different dander, so it’s possible to be more allergic to some dogs than others.
The allergen eventually finds its way into the animal’s fur. From there, it collects in carpets, on clothing, on walls, and between couch cushions. The pet hair itself is not an allergen, but the hair can hold dust and dander.
Pet dander can remain airborne for long periods of time as well. It can eventually find its way into your eyes or lungs.
Symptoms of dog allergies
The symptoms of a dog allergy may range from mild to severe. Symptoms may not appear for several days after exposure in people with low sensitivity.
Some clues you may be allergic to dogs include:
Children with dog allergies will often develop eczema in addition to the above symptoms. Eczema is a painful inflammation of the skin.
People used to believe that exposing a newborn to the family dog could cause a child to develop a pet allergy. Thankfully for dog owners, the opposite appears to be true. Several studies in the past few years have found that exposing a baby to a pet doesn’t increase the risk of developing allergies or asthma. It may actually protect the child from developing them in the future.
How to treat dog allergies
The only surefire way to get rid of a pet allergy is to remove the pet from your home. There are, however, ways to minimize your exposure to allergens and lessen your symptoms if you don’t want to part with Fluffy.
Here are some medications and treatments that can help you manage allergies and asthma:
Some people with dog allergies may find that a saline (salt water) rinse daily to clear nasal passages of allergens can help. A “nasal lavage” can control symptoms such as congestion and postnasal drip.
OTC saline sprays and nasal lavage kits are readily available. You can also make your own by mixing 1/8 teaspoon of table salt with distilled water.
There are several things dog owners can do around the home to reduce allergens. They include:
Many of the lifestyle changes and allergy medications listed above can help you to reduce uncomfortable symptoms if you love dogs and don’t want to give up being around them.
An allergist can perform tests and tell you how severe your dog allergy is and what types of treatments can help. Talk to your doctor about your allergy and your treatment options.