What to do about Dog Allergies

February 14, 2010

in Cat Health

We love dogs for a reason. Having a loyal friend and playmate that will love you forever and never run out of energy? Perfect. Getting close to a dog is harder for some people than others, however. Certain dog allergies can rear their ugly heads and cause unexpected problems. A significant minority of the population suffers from dog and pet allergies. Some are even forced to find a new home for their dog because of intensified allergies. This wouldn’t be the most desired solution, of course, and it can be heartbreaking. Fortunately, there are other ways.

Allergens from Dogs find their origins proteins from three sources; Dander (shed skin cells,) saliva, and urine. Allergic reactions in people to these causes usually happen if they have over active immune systems. Notice that hair is not in the list. A well-known myth is that hairless dogs will not cause reactions. While they do produce far less allergens, in the case of shedding skin cells, you can’t really stop a dog from slobbering and going to the bathroom. Typically symptoms are normal allergy symptoms that everyone is used to, such as itchy eyes, a runny nose, shortness of breath, red itchy skin or a rash. While these can be annoying, there are many ways to mitigate them to make them less problematic.

A clean home is the best defense against dog allergies and allergens. Making a point to vacuum regularly helps, as does using furniture that is upholstered in leather. Changing your air filter to your AC unit will help reduce dander floating around in your house. And since fur can retain allergens, regular bathing is a good idea. Be sure to remember to wash your dog’s bedding or cushions, or else anything you gained from giving the dog a bath will be lost quickly.

Or take the easy way. Many companies make products that reduce allergens. Special shampoos can help reduce dander on a dog without drying the skin. Start learning some new habits and you’ll be decreasing dog allergies in not time at all.

Of course, if the allergies are too bad, consulting with a professional may be your best bet. Some strong medication is out there, both prescription and over the counter, that can mitigate the runny noses and itchy eyes. For extreme cases, you can get allergy shots, which are a good idea if you have bad allergies in general. Kicking your dog to the curb should be a last resort.

More information can be found about dog foods that are hypoallergenic. You can also find out about brands of hypoallergenic dog food.

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