Dealing with Dog Allergies
Dealing with Dog Allergies

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The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that 38% of households in the U.S. own at least one dog. With allergies to pets quite common, affecting three out of 10 people, many families wonder if they can still have a dog, even with a family member with an allergy.

People with dog allergies have over-sensitive immune systems, which react to proteins in the dog’s dander (dead skin cells), urine, and saliva. Pet allergens are found on furniture, clinging to walls, and on clothing. They are stirred into the air during vacuuming and dusting. When the allergens land on the membranes of the eyes and nose of a person who is allergic, a reaction occurs, such as congestion and red and itchy eyes.(1)

It makes sense that avoidance of dogs is the best way to stay clear of symptoms, but many people want to keep their dog, or at least want to be able to visit a home that has a dog as a pet. “Antihistamines and other over-the-counter allergy medications may help relieve symptoms, but they are not ideal as a long-term treatment,” states the America College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Allergy shots (immunotherapy) are effective in treating dog allergies, by gradually building tolerance.(2) A full course of allergy shots generally takes between three to five years.(3)

The following are tips for reduce suffering from pet allergies:

  • Make the bedroom a pet-free space, and wash bedding in hot water
  • Use a HEPA air purifier/filter to trap dander
  • Speak with a veterinarian about a balanced diet for your pet, which can prevent dry skin and excess shedding
  • Keep pets off furniture(4)

(1) Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats? https://allergyasthmanetwork.org/

(2) American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Pet Allergies, https://acaai.org/

(3) Mayo Clinic, Allergy Shots, https://www.mayoclinic.org/

(4) American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, The Truth About Pet Allergies, https://www.aaaai.org/

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