We all know that a dog is a pet parent’s best friend, but sometimes people are allergic to their furry friends. If you’re allergic to your dog, you may experience unpleasant dog allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing and itchy skin. Fortunately, in most cases, you don’t have to give up your furry buddy if you suffer from dog allergies. Instead, make a few lifestyle changes and keep your home extra clean to prevent allergens from coming between you and your canine companion. Keep reading to discover what to do when you’re allergic to your dog.
Dog Allergy Symptoms
If you’re allergic to your dog, you may experience dog allergy symptoms similar to those of hay fever, although skin reactions are possible too. Should you experience any of these symptoms, you’ll need to visit your doctor. She can determine whether your dog is the cause of your allergies or if it’s something else, like mold, pollen or dust mites. Symptoms of dog allergies include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Post-nasal drip
- Runny nose
- Swelling in the eye area
- Itchy skin
In severe cases of dog allergies, you might also experience these serious dog allergy symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Tightness in your chest
- Shortness of breath
What Causes Dog Allergy Symptoms?
Your doctor can determine if you’re allergic to your dog. And, if you’re allergic to your dog, you’re probably wondering what causes this allergy.
- Dog allergies in humans are caused by allergens in your dog’s dander, saliva, sweat and urine.
- Dander are the skin cells that your dog sheds daily.
- These allergens end up in Fido’s fur, stuck to your furniture, in your carpet and all over your clothing. In addition, they become airborne.
- In those with dog allergies, the immune system reacts to these allergens, causing an allergic reaction.
- By reducing these allergens, you will experience fewer symptoms.
What to do if You’re Allergic to Your Dog?
After visiting your doctor, she may recommend re-homing your beloved canine companion if you’re allergic to your dog. Unless your symptoms are severe or life-threatening, you can likely manage your allergies by frequently cleaning your home and your dog.
- Keep your dog out of your bedroom. This gives you an allergy-free space to sleep.
- Bathe and brush your dog weekly using a dog-specific shampoo to remove the dander from his coat. If weather permits, outdoor grooming sessions work best. That’s because you don’t want the allergens in your pup’s coat that you’re cleaning away to end up airborne inside your home.
- Remove carpeting from your home because it’s harder to keep clean of allergens. In fact, the fewer fabrics you have around your home the better, so remove drapes and replace them with blinds.
- Vacuum your home frequently using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. That’s because the filter traps all of the allergens, including dander, to reduce your symptoms.
- Wash bedding in hot water weekly to remove allergens.
- Dust furniture frequently with electrostatic cloths.
- Drape couches and chairs with removable covers that you can wash regularly.
- Frequently wash pet beds.
- Use HEPA air filters in the rooms of your home that your dog frequents. Most importantly, these filters get rid of dander and allergens in the air. And, don’t forget to change these filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
Seek Help If You’re Allergic to Your Dog
In addition to visiting your doctor, you’ll also want help with some of the responsibilities of caring for your furry friend if you’re allergic to your dog. That’s because prolonged exposure to his dander can worsen your symptoms.
- Invest in regular grooming sessions with a professional groomer, who can bathe and brush your dog. That’s because his fur traps all of those allergens like dander. Regular grooming sessions can help remove those allergens. Although some allergy sufferers can do this themselves, a groomer can be helpful if grooming your dog really sets off your allergies.
- Get a professional cleaning service that specializes in clients with allergies. During the clean, send your dog off for a fun walk with a professional dog walker. This way, the cleaning service can really get rid of all of those allergens before he gets back.
- Ask your doctor about getting allergy shots. These shots are a form of immunotherapy in which a little bit of the thing you are allergic too — namely dog allergens — are injected under your skin. The injections help build up a tolerance to the allergens and eventually eliminate the allergy. Unfortunately, these injections are usually given weekly to start and treatment may last several years.
What to do When Guests are Allergic to Your Dog
Having guests over for dinner or house guests for an extended stay is always fun. But, it might not be fun for your guest if he is allergic to your dog. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep your guests comfy.
- Designate a dog-free zone for your guest. For example, if the guest is staying with you, keep your pooch out of his room. Or, if you frequently have guests over who might be allergic to your dog, keep your dog out of your dining room or living room as much as possible.
- Thoroughly clean guest bedding in hot water. And, spray down bedding, carpets and drapes with anti-allergen sprays that help neutralize remaining dander.
- Vacuum carpets and upholstery. In addition, spray down surfaces around your home with anti-allergen spray.
- Place a HEPA filter in your guest room.
- Train your pooch to avoid your guest as much as possible using commands like “Sit,” “Stay” and “Lay Down.”
- Consider having a pet sitter look after your dog if a short-term guest is allergic to him for the duration of your guest’s stay. This way, he’ll have a fun vacation and your guest can be allergy-free.
If you are allergic to your dog, what steps do you take to keep your home allergen-free? Share with us in the comments section!