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Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Tests For Dog Allergies

Submitted on March 27, 2012

A dog allergy is an allergy to a dog and can be caused by an allergic reaction to the dog's saliva. Dog allergies are not as common as cat allergies.

Causes and Tests For Dog Allergy

Primary dog allergy causes include the dog's saliva. The dog's saliva contains an allergen called Can f 1. Unlike cats, whose sebaceous gland secretions can also cause a reaction, the dog's skin rarely triggers an allergic reaction. If you aren't sure, you should get tests done for dog allergies. Regular tests are skin tests which can determine if you are allergic to dogs. If you are still not able to determine whether or not you are allergic to dogs, your doctor can recommend blood tests to find out.

Symptoms

Dog allergy symptoms include most common symptoms of allergies like an allergic reaction to the skin, a runny nose, itchy and runny eyes, sneezing, coughing and wheezing. Sometimes the reactions can be much more severe like hives immediately breaking out in the area of the body exposed to dog's saliva. There have been instances of hives breaking out even on the chest and back of the person. Long term allergy symptoms can lead to breathing complications because the lungs of a person are most vulnerable when it comes to allergens. If a child is overly sensitive to a dog in the formative years and these symptoms are not addressed, the child could grow up with asthma.

Treatment

The immediate dog allergy treatment includes anti histamines in the form of pills or through stronger doses in injections, depending on how acute the attack is. There are nasal sprays and eye drops that can provide relief from the symptoms of dog allergies. There are some serious drugs that can be used for breathing problems, especially asthma attacks, if triggered by a dog. Certain steroids can also be used with the recommendation of the doctor; though most healthcare professionals suggest tackling allergies on a more complete level rather than use drugs to keep the symptoms at bay. Most people immediately get rid of dog if they discover they or someone close to them has an allergy. That need not necessarily be the case. You can learn to adapt your life around the pet to keep the symptoms at bay. Often constant pill popping can lead to bigger allergy attacks. Getting rid of the pet might not mean getting rid of the allergy. Contamination can stay in the house for months after the pet is not there. Cleaning all the traces takes a lot of time.

Other ways of co-existing with a dog in spite of an allergy includes keeping the house very clean. Wash your hands every time you touch the dog. Avoiding carpeting and furnishing that cannot be regularly laundered is a good step. Replace curtains and carpets with rugs and easy-to-clean furnishings. Keep most flat surfaces clean and clean them often. You can keep the air clean by purifying it. Get HEPA quality vacuum cleaners and regularly clean the furniture, especially corners you cannot easily access. As you or someone close to you is allergic but you do not want to find the pet a new home, relegate the dog to outside the house. Make the boundaries definite. Keep the dog out of your bed and bedroom. Wash the dog's bedding as often as possible. A neutered dog causes fewer allergies so ensure that your dog is neutered. Bathe and clean your dog regularly. Sometimes taking additional precautions can help live with a dog despite an allergy. These are just suggestions and should not be considered treatment for allergies to dogs. If the allergy symptoms still do not reduce then consult your doctor or the local SPCA and ask for suggestions.

Before getting a dog, you could spend time with friends who have dogs to determine if you have an allergic reaction. In case you are allergic and still want to get a dog, there are some breeds in dogs considered hypoallergenic dogs. Such dogs have not really proved the reduction of allergies. Experts say you should consider a dog with short hair or as little fur as possible. The length of the coat of dog does not make much of a difference to people who are allergic to dogs. It is not like when it is with a cat, whose excess fur can make a big difference to people who have cat allergies. The allergens from the dog's saliva are not something that can be avoided and can only be dealt with medication or with immunity.

You can also work towards improving your health. Eat a balanced diet, get a daily dose of vitamins and minerals and get some exercise. All these steps will slowly build your immunity and your body will be better equipped to handle allergens in the atmosphere without violent reactions.

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