Allergy to Dogs
The USA is the country where the largest number of domestic animals is found.
Among these animals sharing our daily life, the dog is the 3rd allergen animal, arriving after the cat and before the horse.
This article will provide you with explanations about this allergy, but also some tips to apply to help you continue to cohabit with your pet.
Allergy, this obstacle to man/dog friendship
The allergy to dog may as well occur in children than in adults although this is more common in children. A very annoying event, especially when you already live with a dog.
This allergy is often the cause of asthma in children, but also of bronchitis or colds, not always the consequence of a cold spell, as one might think.
If you are allergic, contact with the animal will be enough for the first symptoms to appear: red eyes, runny nose, cough, pimples or plaques.
But the allergy can also occur even when you have not been in direct contact with the animal. It is enough that you have been in contact with a garment, a piece of furniture, a ground where the dog would have deposited an allergen there so that the allergy starts.
Where the allergens are found?
Because it should be known, the allergens of the dog, like of any other domestic animal besides, can be found everywhere where he or his master would have passed. The allergens are mainly found in their hair, but also in their saliva, their droppings or their urine or in the dead skins invisible to the naked eye that the animal would have lost.
The dog handler is likely to have allergens deposited on him and will thus “contaminate” all the places where he will pass. That is to say both at the bus stop and in public transport, he will have used, at the cinema or on school furniture for the child living with a dog.
How does the allergy start?
You find yourself in contact with an animal to which you are allergic, whether you know it or not, and your white blood cells will produce antibodies. These will then prepare your immune system so that it reacts when you are in contact with this same animal or another to which you are allergic.
The first contact you had with the dog will not have caused any allergy symptoms, so you don’t know it yet.
And besides, the symptoms showing you that you are allergic can even occur long after, months, even years.
Allergy to dogs – what causes it?
But as we explained to you above, there will not necessarily be a need for the animal causing the allergy to be present or in contact with you to cause the symptoms of the allergy.
It will be enough if hairs, urine, or other element containing the allergen is present in the air, on clothes or furniture for the allergy to appear in you.
Symptoms of this allergy with our friend the dog
The symptoms of dog allergy are the same as for many other allergies with this type of allergic reaction:
- Respiratory tract problems: rhinitis, cough, sneezing, asthma attack
- Watery eyes
- Skin reactions: Redness, hives or Eczema
- Anaphylactic shock
Confirm Your Dog Allergy
If you suffer from any of these allergic manifestations, you should be diagnosed. First of all, you can go to your doctor, but above all, it will be necessary to make an appointment with an allergist so that he can diagnose and confirm the allergy to the dog.
The allergist will ask you an important series of questions in order to be almost certainly on the right track. Once his hypothesis has been posed, he will confirm it using skin tests.
For this, he will drop a drop of allergenic extracts on your back or your forearm, which he will penetrate under your skin using a needle (rest assured, it is very fine and very painless ).
Finally, if a skin reaction appears within 15 minutes, the test will be positive.
He can also complete his diagnosis by ordering you to take a blood test in the laboratory in order to measure your antibodies or your immunoglobulins E. If the presence of the latter is important, this will indicate an allergy or at least an allergenic terrain.
Confirmed Allergy to dogs: advice to apply
You had the verdict following your visit to the allergist and a possible blood test and you are well allergic to the dog.
Fortunately, this allergy is not as dangerous as food allergies. There are even certain cases where the allergy ends up by dint of staying in contact with your dog for years.
But, while waiting to see if this happens to you one day, you will have to overcome this problem.
So, there is certainly a radical solution which is that of separating from your dog, but it is very rare that the masters of these adorable animals come to this solution. Separation would be far too difficult.
So, if your symptoms remain bearable and there is no big danger (asthma), here are some simple tips to apply in your daily life to manage to get better and thus continue to cohabit with your favorite animal.
Tips to avoid allergy to dogs
- Forbid the dog access to the house if the animal can stay outside, and of course, if you have a garden
- Also forbid him access to the bedrooms, but also to the sofa, the armchairs
- Do not let your dog lick, as saliva contains allergens
- Brush your pet often and do it outside to disperse allergens. Groom it as often as possible: the cleaner it is, the fewer allergens it will contain.
- Wash your hands and arms as soon as you touch or pet them
- Also, brush your clothes if they contain hairs
- Vacuum very often and equip yourself with a device with a high-efficiency filter for airborne particles
- Wash walls and floors regularly, as allergens can get on them
- Avoid having carpets or rugs, pillowcases, cushions, lint or any material likely to retain allergens at home
- Avoid as much as possible to allow dust to accumulate, because this is where the most allergens are deposited
- Wash your bed linen at high temperature
- Air your room as often as possible even if the dog does not have access to it
- Treat your symptoms by taking antihistamines, corticosteroids. In principle, they are effective, but obviously the effect will stop if you stop the treatment. So take it correctly. Desensitization to animal hair is not yet effective. Research is working on this.
If you apply all of these tips carefully, you will not completely remove all allergens, but you will necessarily lower their levels in your home. This could possibly help avoid major allergy attacks in the most embarrassed people.
Follow our advice and let us know the results, it’s worth a try.
Immunotherapy for dog allergy
Desensitization has made a lot of progress. Your allergist doctor will in most cases be able to set up an immunotherapy treatment in order to desensitize you.
An antihistamine treatment will also be effective in reducing the manifestation of symptoms.
Top 7 least allergenic dogs
This list of least allergenic dogs is not exhaustive and it varies from one source to another:
The poodle, the basenji, the york shire, the shih tzu, the schnauzer, the bichon frize and the samoyed.
They are still allergenic but would spread fewer allergens than their comrades.
So, before adopting one of these dogs, stay in touch for a while by their side and check that you have no reaction.
And, if you already have a four-legged friend, try it all by following these precious tips for living together better.