Dogs and Allergies: Am I Allergic to Dogs?
Dogs are fantastic, and they make amazing pets.
However, you can be allergic to your dog. Some allergies are manageable, and you can have your furry friend around you. An allergy is your immune system’s reaction to something that isn’t actually dangerous.
Allergies are quite common. People are allergic to various things like dog hairs, saliva, dirt, pollen, etc.
15 to 20% people are allergic to their own pets. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give your pet away for finding him a new home. You can adopt several lifestyle changes that’ll help you out as well.
In this blog post, I will share everything that you need to know about dogs and allergies so that you are fully informed.
So, let’s begin, shall we?
Here we go.
If you have a dog allergy, the symptoms may range from mild to severe. In some cases, the symptoms may not even appear for several days after exposure. This occurs in people with low sensitivity.
Following are some symptoms of allergic to dogs:
- Swelling or itching in the nose membranes or around your eyes
- Redness of the skin that’s been licked by the dog
- Coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath within 15 to 30 minutes of exposure to the dog
- Rash on the face, chest or neck
- Severe asthma attack for someone who has asthma
Children that are allergic to dogs can even develop eczema in addition to the symptoms mentioned above. Eczema is the painful inflammation of the skin.
Earlier people used to believe that exposing a newborn to the family dog could cause the child to develop a pet allergy.
However, for dog owners the opposite appears is usually true.
Several studies including one published in the Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology have found that exposing a baby to a pet doesn’t at all increase the risk of him developing allergies or asthma.
In fact, it may actually protect your child from developing them in the future.
Have you heard of hypoallergenic breeds?
Some dog breeds trigger the symptoms of allergy while others don’t. Usually, short-haired dogs are a safer option as they’re not too prone to shedding while the long-haired dogs that shed a lot aren’t a safe option.
But, experts say that isn't usually the case.
In fact, two dogs of the same breed---even from the same litter can give off very different levels of allergen!
It’s not actually the fur that people are allergic to. Instead, it is the dander -- flakes of dead skin -- as well as the urine and saliva which is the real culprit here. So, even if you have a short-haired dog, the chances are that you’ll get an allergic reaction.
But, why dog dander have such an effect on people?
People that have allergies have an oversensitive immune system. So, their bodies react to harmless substances, such as dog dander and attack it as they would attack viruses and bacteria.
The watery eyes and sneezing are just some side effects of your body's attempt to flush out or destroy the allergens.
When people say that they have skin allergies to dogs, they mean that they have allergic to contact dermatitis.
So, what is allergic contact dermatitis?
This happens when you touch something that your body thinks is dangerous, even if it actually is harmless. You may have symptoms such as rashes, redness, pain, swelling, and blisters.
The most common types of allergic contact dermatitis include allergies to nickel, poison ivy, or latex. For those who have pet allergies, they are usually allergic to dander and tiny bits of protein they inhale from the dog’s saliva.
Your body develops cold-like symptoms as a reaction to this. These include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, itchy eyes, congestion, etc.
Some people are highly sensitive and react to dog allergens by having breakouts, rashes on the upper chest, face, and neck. If these people are scratched, licked or bitten by dogs, the area affected becomes red.
If the allergen comes in contact with the person’s nose or eye membrane, the affected area can swell up and itch.
These reactions look like skin allergies.
Having allergies doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to ship your dog off elsewhere.
In this section of the blog post, I will share some lifestyle changes you can make to keep your pet.
Take a look.
- Create an allergen-free room: The most practical choice for this is the bedroom. You should prevent your pet from entering this room so that you get at least eight hours of freedom from allergies. Use hypoallergenic bedding and pillowcases for best results
- Limit fabrics: Most allergens are collected in the upholstery, rugs, and drapes. So, you need to make sure to eliminate them from your home. Steam-clean the fabrics on a regular basis, cover the furniture with cotton covers, buy washable blinds, and cover your furniture with sheets or blankets which you can remove and wash regularly
- Vacuum frequently: Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filter or a disposable electrostatic bag that won’t permit the allergens to blow back out
- Install an air purifier: It should ideally be fitted with a HEPA filter. Modern home lock the air that is loaded with allergens in so let in some fresh air daily
- Use anti-allergen room sprays: These sprays work by deactivating the allergens which renders them harmless
- Dust regularly: You should wipe down the walls as well as your furniture to cut down on allergens
- Invest in washable pet bedding which can be cleaned easily
Dog allergies are quite common and natural.
Your immune system goes into overdrive simply because it considers something harmless, such as your dog’s hair or saliva, extremely dangerous. So, your body fights the foreign substance in order to protect itself.
Having an allergy doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to your furry friend.
This simply means that you have to be more cautious to keep yourself and your body safe and healthy
Have questions? Leave them in the comments