A dog is a man’s best friend. It has been like that for centuries. But, if a man is allergic to his dog, does the same rule apply? Some people are in love with animals, but yet allergic to them. So, what should you do if you are allergic to your dog?
Allergic To Your Dog?
Pet allergies are common in the States. Actually, they are so common that Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America had to do a research on this topic.
The Foundation discovered that 15 to 30 percent of Americans in general, suffers from pet allergies. If it helps, allergies to cats are more common than allergic reactions to dogs. However, allergic reactions to dogs tend to be more severe. This is especially true in the case in those with asthma. Luckily, there are several things that you can do to help treat dog allergies.
What Causes Dog Allergies?
Dog’s secrete proteins end up dead in their skin (dead skin is also called dander), urine, and saliva. An allergic reaction occurs when a sensitive person’s immune system reacts abnormally to proteins that are usually harmless. Interestingly, different breeds produce different dander.
That being said, it’s possible to be more allergic to some dogs than others. The allergen always finds its way into the animal’s fur. From there, it gathers in carpets, walls, clothes, and even between the cushions. Bear in mind that the pet hair is not an allergen, but the hair can hold dander and dust. Also, pet dander can remain airborne for long periods. It can eventually find its way into your lungs or eyes.
Symptoms Of Dog Allergies
There are many different symbols of a dog allergy and they may vary from mild to severe. Some symptoms may appear with a day of delay, although this is more common in people with low sensitivity. Luckily, some general rules may be clear symptoms of dog allergies. Some clues may include:
- redness of the skin
- rash on the neck, face, or even chest
- in someone with asthma even severe asthma attack
- itching around the eyes and nose
- swelling around the eyes and nose
Also, children with dog allergies will often develop eczema next to the listed symptoms.
Eczema is known for manifesting in painful inflammation of the skin. Not that long ago people believed that if you expose a newborn to the family dog you could cause a child to develop a pet allergy. However, thankfully for dog owners, this is far from the truth. Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology published a study where it was proven how exposing a baby to a pet doesn’t increase the risk of developing allergies or even asthma.
Truth be told, it may protect the children from developing allergies in the future.
If you are one of those people who are crazy about animals, but struggle with seldom or full-time allergies you should think about testing these 9 steps.
1. Get Tested For Allergies
This may sound too basic, but this is a crucial step. After all, you need to know what bothers your body and how you can help it. When it comes to the pets and allergies that they can provide, you should understand that it has nothing to do with the fur, as people usually believe. Furthermore, it’s always linked with animal dander, an otherwise harmless protein that is found in a pet’s skin, urine, and saliva. Every animal can spread dander.
A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy stated that there is no difference in the concentration of allergens in homes with ‘hypoallergenic‘ compared to other breeds. However, the only explanation for this was seen in the length of fur, shedding, and other similar variables.
Also, you might simply be allergic to different household allergens, such as mold spores or dust mites. Moreover, some allergy-tips include many of the ones in this list-revolve around a specific allergen. It’s best to get tested and be sure what makes your body react.
2. Keep Your Pets Outside Of Your Bedroom
Yes, even if you love to snuggle with your pet or to keep your dog as a leg-heater during the cold winter nights, having a pet in your bedroom is a big no-no if you’re suffering from any form of allergies. That being said, sorry but no using dog as a body pillow from this moment on.
When you’re allergic (you need to do an official allergy test to know that for sure) your bedroom needs to be completely off-limits for pets, any kind of pet. You have a far better chance to rest and breathe normally when your room has a low allergy load.
3. Clean Your Rugs And Carpets
If you really want to reduce the amount of dander in your home, you need to re-think your cleaning schedule. Therefore, you need to focus on spots that tend to be a magnet for it, primarily rugs and carpets. Next, to it, you need to open your window often enough for some fresh air and let some fresh air in.
This is the easiest way to have airflow inside your home. Then, vacuum rugs and carpets at least once a week. Do vacuuming with a device that has a HEPA filter. This will suck up even the tiniest bits of matter, including the pet dander as well. Don’t forget about floors and walks, because pet dander can stick to hard surfaces like those. Therefore, make sure to have regular cleaning and based on the proper care instructions.
4. Try To Keep Your Dog Off Sofa
Dogs love chilling, especially in places where you love to chill, rest, or even sleep. Nothing beats the happiness that they feel when they get to snuggle into something cozy with your smell on it. If you ever wanted to know why dogs love to sit on couches, that’s your answer. However, as you probably know: the sooner you start puppy training, or dog training, the better because you will actually have the chance of becoming a true pack leader.
Therefore, you should teach your dog from day one to go to his place and to own his piece of furniture. We know, easier said than done. So, if your pet insists on sitting on a couch make sure that you have a special doggy blanket or even a towel that can be washed regularly.
5. Use A HEPA Air Purifier
Regular and good vacuuming is mandatory when it comes to rugs and carpets, or any other similar objects. But what about the air in the house? Is there any floating in the air? Long story short, yes. There are always allergens floating in the air. In this case, HEPA air purifiers can help you and reduce allergens floating around.
You need to think carefully here and to find the best air purifier for pets because you will keep your HEPA air purifier in the area where your pet hangs out the most. Also, this should help cut back on your allergy symptoms as well.
6. Bathe Your Dog Regularly
Bathing should be a regular part of your dog’s grooming practice. However, this doesn’t mean that you should bath your dog every week or every two weeks. Remember: dog’s skin is significantly different than humans and they don’t need as much bath as we need.
Of course, if your canine finds himself in mud or dust, bathing is mandatory. So, regular bathing can help you with reducing the allergy.
7. Keep Your Allergy Medications On Hand
For example, keep antihistamines on hand. After all, histamine will support your immune system and ease on any symptom. Moreover, depending on where your symptoms strike, you should have on hand, nasal sprays and eye drops, just to target those areas. Don’t forget to always read the instructions before using them.
Why? Well, if you are using nasal sprays for more than three days in a row, you can wind up with rebound congestion or rhinitis madecamentosa. This may occur because nasal sprays actively constrict swollen blood vessels.
8. Think About Allergy Shots
Immunotherapy or allergy shots are regular injections of small amounts of your allergy triggers over three to five years. You will need a shot as frequently as twice a week or as little as once every four weeks. This may vary due to symptom reduction to total relief from allergy symptoms after treatment. If you not sure if this may help you or if you are not sure that it’s safe for you to talk with your doctor.
9. Be Honest: Do You Have A Plan B For Your Pet?
Last but not least, is for you to think if you need a pet. You may be the biggest animal lover in the world, but if your allergy is so severe that there is a chance that you might have to re-home your pet, you should think about your priorities and responsibility toward your pet. Moreover, experts would say that the best way to avoid pet allergies is to remove the pets from your environment.
If you have severe allergies, as mentioned earlier, you should think twice about having a pet. Besides, if you already have a pet, you should think about the real possibility of removing the pet or the pets from your home. But, pets are like family and it’s not that easy to let them go. After all, they will suffer and there is no guarantee that they will have someone to take care of them after you. Moreover, the chances are that they will suffer in an animal shelter for a long time if not forever.
Pets give us so much, and we should provide the same. So, unless you can provide for your pet a peaceful and calming home for years filled with love and great pet owner practice you should think twice about having a pet. If your allergies are extremely severed you should think even harder if you should have a pet.
If you have allergies but you are a huge animal lover and you insist on having a pet, you should bear in mind that as long as you are ready to go through some life changes, you will be fine. Luckily, there are some things that you can do around your home to reduce allergens.
First thing fist: having a ‘dog-free zone’ is a must, so think about turning your bedroom into this zone. Also, groom your dog regularly, remove the carpets and always use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifiers to reduce allergens in the home.
You have to be ready to go through serious life changes if you are welcoming a pet into your life. Plan everything, from pet needs to the allergy medications that you need to have on hand.
Altogether, changes, good practice, and medicine should help you to reduce uncomfortable symptoms if you love dogs and don’t want to give up being around them. Also, you can always talk to your doctor about your allergy and your treatment options.