Developing an allergy to your dog is a problem that no dog lover wants to have. The severity of the allergy will determine how you and your pup can continue to live under the same roof. The good news is, that there are many ways to help manage allergy symptoms so that you and your best friend can enjoy life together.
Why are people allergic to dogs?
An allergy to your dog is caused by an immune system reaction to the proteins found in the dog’s saliva, urine, or skin cells. Most people are triggered when exposed to dander, the dead flakes of skin that can also contain saliva and urine.
However, some people are actually allergic to the environment that the dogs live in. For example, someone with plant allergies may react to a dog that has just spent time on a lawn containing grass or tree pollen.
Symptoms of a dog allergy can range from mild or severe. Fortunately, most people have symptoms similar to a mild common cold but some can have serious, life-threatening reactions. For those people with life-threatening allergic reactions, living with a pet is probably not possible.
If you are allergic to dogs, you may have the following symptoms when spending time around them or going into a home where dogs live:
• Nasal congestion
• Runny nose
• Facial pressure
• Itchy, watery, red eyes
• Itchy mouth and throat
• Contact dermatitis, rash, hives
• Difficulty breathing
How to help manage your allergy to dogs
If you are allergic to dogs and plan to continue to live with your pet, there are some things you can do to help manage your allergies. Since the triggers are found in the urine, salvia, and dander, keeping your environment as clean as possible can be helpful.
1. Keep your Home Clean
There are anti-allergen cleaning products you can buy that can that help remove allergens from the environment. Since you will be cleaning often, by using these or mild, pet-safe cleaning products, you can help reduce the allergens in your home.
2. Reduce Clutter
Reduce clutter where allergens can accumulate. Put as many things that collect dust away as possible.
3. Protect Furniture
Use furniture covers that are easy to remove and toss in the washing machine to keep your furniture protected from pet dander.
4. Vacuum and Steam Clean Carpets Often
Vacuum with a machine that has a HEPA filter and steam clean the carpet on a regular basis.
5. Keep Rugs Clean
Just like the carpet, your rugs collect pet dander. Keep them as clean as possible and consider replacing them with rugs you can put in the washing machine.
6. Install hard flooring
Although it’s a big investment, hard flooring collects fewer allergens than carpet and is easier to keep clean.
7. Replace Pet Bedding
Replace pet bedding with washable bedding or pet beds with removable covers. In between washing, vacuum pet bedding. Covering pet bedding with a washable blanket can also be helpful.
8. Wash Dog Toys
Wash your dog’s toys often to help remove saliva.
9. Keep the Air Clean
Use air purifiers throughout the home and install HEPA filters on the central heat and air conditioning unit. Electrostatic, washable air filters can also be helpful.
10. Keep your Dog out of the Bedroom
As hard as it may be, the dog probably should not sleep with the person with the pet allergy. By keeping the pet out of that person’s room, the person has an allergy-free zone to live in.
11. Personal Hygiene
Wash your hands and face after petting the dog. Use sinus rinse to remove allergens.
12. Grooming your Pet
Groom and brush the pet outside and bathe in gentle allergen reducing shampoos when needed. Use commercial dander removers sold at pet stores. If you’re actually allergic to the pollens in the environment the dog is coming in contact with, wipe down the pet when they come inside, including their face and paws.
13. Consult with an Allergist
An allergist can be very helpful when dealing with serious allergies and may offer you Immunotherapy (allergy shots), to help reduce sensitivity to your triggers. The doctor can also confirm that you are in fact, allergic to dogs and not something else in the environment.
Use over-the-counter antihistamines to help relieve allergy symptoms, when needed.
15. Keep your Dog Healthy
Keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Watch for signs of yeast or fungus, which can trigger allergies. By keeping your dog healthy, on a nutritious diet, and ensuring they are clean and well-groomed, you can help reduce your triggers. Be sure to use pet-safe home cleaners that don’t irritate their skin. If you are bathing often, be sure to use a gentle pet shampoo that won’t strip the skin and coat of their natural protective barriers to environmental irritants and yeast.
Living with Dog Allergies is Possible
Developing an allergy to your dog doesn’t mean you have to give up your pet. It may require a little more work, but many people with pet allergies continue to live with their furry best friend. By contacting a professional, you can also determine if you are truly allergic to dogs and not something else.
You may also notice that your dog’s allergies come and go or are worse at certain times of the year. This could be due to a heavier load of allergens in your environment, such as during ragweed or other high pollen or mold season. By keeping your environment free of mold, dust, and pollen, you can help reduce your allergy load and reduce your reactions so that you may be less sensitive to your pup, which would be a great thing.
As always, we hope you find this info helpful. Please feel free to share with your friends.
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