A dog is a man’s best friend – except if the man is allergic to his dog. According to a report submitted by the Asthma and Allergy Association of America, about 15 to 30 percent of all Americans are allergic to dogs. Although cat allergies are about twice as common as dogs, the allergic reactions from dogs are often more severe, especially in the case of those who have asthma.
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Keep reading to learn more about lifestyle changes, medications that will help relieve your dog allergies, and natural remedies for dog allergies. This post will teach you the following:
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What Causes Dog Allergies?
Dogs often secrete proteins that remain in their urine, saliva, and dander (dead skin). An allergic response occurs when a person with a sensitive immune system comes in contact with these proteins. In addition, different breeds of dogs produce different dander, so a person may be more allergic to some dogs than others.
The allergen in the dog eventually goes into the animal’s fur. It collects on walls, on clothing, on carpets, and between couch cushions from the coat. The hair of the pet is not an allergen, but the hair can retain dander and dust.
Pet dander can remain airborne for a long time. If you are not careful, pet dander can get into your lungs or eyes.
Symptoms of Dog Allergies
The symptoms of dog allergies can range from mild to severe. People with low sensitivity may not experience symptoms for several days. The following are indications that you may be allergic to dogs:
- a severe asthmatic attack (for someone who has asthma)
- itching and swelling around the eyes and in the nose membranes
- rash on the chest, neck, and face
- skin redness after being licked by a dog
- wheezing, shortness of breath, or coughing within a quarter or half an hour of exposure to the allergens
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, eczema can also develop in children allergic to dogs. Eczema is a painful skin inflammation.
Many people believe that exposing a newborn to a family dog may result in the child developing pet allergies, but that is not true. Studies have revealed that exposing an infant to a family pet does not increase the risk of the child developing asthma or allergies. Instead, the exposure may protect the infant from developing them in the future. And if there is any indication of an allergy, you should consider natural remedies for dog allergies.
Diagnosing Dog Allergies
Your symptoms will help your doctor to determine whether you suffer from a dog allergy or not. There will possibly be an examination of your nose, and you may need to answer a few questions before the doctor makes the proper diagnosis. During the examination, the doctor may use a lighted instrument to check the condition of your nasal lining. If you have a dog allergy, your nasal lining may appear bluish or pale; it could also be swollen. The following are some other ways your doctor may perform the diagnosis:
1. Allergy Skin Test
An allergy skin test may probably be the first thing your doctor may suggest to determine what you are allergic to precisely. However, if the case is severe, you may have to visit an allergist (allergy specialist) for this test.
This test requires that tiny amounts of the extracted purified allergen (including animal protein extracts) should be pricked into the surface of your skin. Doctors often carry out this procedure on the forearm, but they can also carry it out on the upper back.
The doctor waits for 15 minutes before observing your skin for any sign of allergic reaction. You may develop an itchy, red bump where the extract got pricked into your skin if you are allergic. Itching, swelling, and redness are common side effects of these skin tests, although they often disappear within 30 minutes.
2. Blood Test
The doctor may not perform a skin test if you have certain skin conditions or possible interactions with some medications. So, instead of the skin test, your doctor may order a blood test. In this test, the doctor will screen your blood for specific allergy-causing antibodies to various common allergens, such as dogs and cats, including some other animals. In addition, this test may show the level of sensitivity you have to an allergen.
How to Treat Dog Allergies
The best way to eliminate dog allergies is to remove the dog from your home, but this is always very hard to do, especially when you have created bonds and fondness for the dog. However, if you do not want to take Fluffy away, there are ways you can minimize your symptoms and lessen the exposure to allergens.
1. Medications for drug allergies
The followings are some medications and treatments that can help you manage your asthma and allergies:
- Antihistamines: These are over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as Clarinex OTC, Allegra, Claritin, and Benadryl that can help relieve runny noses, sneezing, and itching.
- Nasal Corticosteroids: Products such as Flonase (which you can purchase over the counter) and Nasonex can help control dog allergy symptoms and reduce inflammation.
- Cromolyn Sodium: This is an on-the-counter nasal spray that can help relieve symptoms, mainly when you apply it before the symptoms begin to develop.
- Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy): This exposes you to the allergen causing the allergic reaction and then makes your body less sensitive to the allergen, reducing symptoms in the process. Allergists often give allergy shots, and they only apply these shots in more severe cases, especially for long-term treatment.
- Leukotriene Modifiers: These are prescription medications that you can use if you cannot tolerate corticosteroids or nasal antihistamines.
2. Lifestyle Changes
There are several steps a dog owner can take to reduce allergens; such things include:
- using a trial period whenever you introduce a new pet into the home to access the reactions of family members to the new dog.
- creating dog-free zones (certain places where you won’t allow your dog to be, such as the bedroom and certain other rooms)
- researching hypoallergenic dog breeds
- giving your weekly dog baths by using a pet-friendly shampoo (a non-allergic person should do the bathing)
- keeping the dog out of the house (ensure that you do this only in favorable climates, under humane conditions, and in a well-contained area)
- removing curtains, horizontal blinds, upholstered furniture, carpeting, and any other item that may attract dander
- making use of HEPA (high-efficient particulate air) purifiers to decrease the number of airborne allergens in the house
10 Natural Remedies for Dog Allergies
The following are some of the natural remedies for dog allergies that will help you manage your symptoms better:
- Try a Herbal Remedy
- Get an Air Purifier
- Get Lots of Vitamin C
- Do Regular Cleaning
- Groom Your Pet outside the House
- Get Hard Wood Flooring
- Consider Extra Moisturizing Eye Drops
- Wash after Getting in Contact with a Dog
- Use Neem Cream
- Drink Nettle Tea
1. Try a Herbal Remedy
Even though antihistamines can provide effective relief from symptoms of an allergy, they can also bring about some undesirable side effects, such as intense headaches and drowsiness. Herbal remedies, however, are often kinder and offer little or no side effects. An example of an herbal remedy you can try is Pollinosan, which serves as one of the best natural remedies for dog allergies.
2. Get an Air Purifier
When you get in contact with your pet, the allergens may hang in your bedding, hair, and clothing – but those are not the only places the allergens lurk. Allergens may also be in your surrounding air. This may result in sneezing and sniffing during the day and lead to fitful sleep at night.
With an air purifier, you can eliminate allergens in the air as the purifier will filter the air to eliminate pollen, mold spores, and dander. You only need to place an air purifier in a place where you spend a lot of time with your pet. This will ease the discomfort you may be having.
3. Get Lots of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a great supporter of the immune system; it also serves as a natural antihistamine. Therefore, if you are allergic to dogs, you should introduce a lot of vitamin C to your diet. Citrus fruits such as oranges will help balance your vitamin C intake, but you should not settle for oranges alone. Vitamin C is available in a host of tasty vegetables like strawberries, broccoli, kiwis, kale, and red peppers.
4. Do Regular Cleaning
It may not be the favorite pastime of everyone, but regular cleaning is necessary if you experience symptoms of dog allergy. Cleaning will prevent and reduce the buildup of dander, ultimately easing discomfort.
Hoovering is very important when you are clearing up allergens. Hoovering is one of the most effective and easiest ways to gather and dispose of allergens. You can also wipe surfaces with a damp cloth instead of a dry one; this is because a dry cloth will only move the allergens around whereas a wet one will collect them. In addition, make sure you regularly wash pet toys and bedding – the same thing applies to your cushions and duvet cover.
5. Groom Your Pet outside the House
Washing and brushing your dog indoors will allow allergens to spread around the home. Therefore, to avoid this, take the dog’s comb and shampoo into the garden. If the weather is too harsh for this, then do the grooming in a garage or garden shed if you can.
6. Get Hard Wood Flooring
Carpets easily retain animal dander; it could be one of the primary reasons you have allergic symptoms. Hardwood flooring, however, does not retain allergens, at least not the ones you cannot easily wipe off with a mop. In addition, hardwood flooring is pretty easy to clean. It might be expensive to make, but it’s very effective in minimizing your allergy symptoms.
7. Consider Extra Moisturizing Eye Drops
The eyes of an allergic person can suffer watering, itching, and swelling after exposure to a dog. Because the eyes are a sensitive organ of the body, one must be careful when treating them. A simple natural eye drop is effective in dealing with eye problems associated with dog allergies.
8. Wash after Getting in Contact with a Dog
To prevent dander from gathering in your hands, hair, and clothing after contact with a dog, it can be helpful to clean your hands, take a shower, or put your wears in the washing machine immediately after you put them off. The earlier you do this washing, the better it would be for you, especially in preventing the dander from spreading.
9. Use Neem Cream
Redness and itchy skin is a common symptoms of allergy. Your skin begins to itch and redden when dander lands on it. The itchiness and redness may also be the result of an over-active immune system. Desist from using such everyday products as bubble baths, shower gel, and deodorants if you know you have dog allergies.
Neem is a tree famous for its medicinal properties; therefore, using neem cream will help soothe your itchy, red or irritated skin.
10. Drink Nettle Tea
There is nothing wrong with drinking tea; however, desist from drinking anything caffeinated because it can induce inflammation, thereby worsening dog allergy symptoms such as swelling around the eyes, congestion, and itchy skin. When you have a flare-up of the allergy, you should avoid taking coffee and breakfast tea.
If you desire to drink tea, nettle is an excellent alternative in managing your dog allergy symptoms. Nettle tea is not only refreshing and tasty, but it also has natural anti-inflammatory properties that could battle the pro-inflammatory nature of histamine.
Many of the allergy medications, lifestyle changes, and natural remedies for dog allergies listed above can help reduce those uncomfortable symptoms. If you love dogs and do not want to give up cuddling them, then you can try any of the home remedies.
You may need to consult your allergist to help you determine the best way to manage your allergy symptoms. Talk to your allergist or doctor before considering using any of the remedies above. A wrong application may result in something much worse than the allergy symptoms you are experiencing.
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only. Always consult your primary care doctor before using the remedies that are provided. The information is provided by The Hidden Cures and while we do timely, in-depth research on the information that we provide to you, everything stated may not be up to date or accurate from the time it was written.