Dog Allergies - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Pet allergy is one of the main complaints of pet allergy sufferers, because sometimes they have to give up their pets and find another home for them. Pet allergy is caused by contact with or inhalation of small particles of dander or urine that contain allergens that cause symptoms such as rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma, contact urticaria and even anaphylaxis.
Continue reading the following oneHOWTO article if you suffer from dog allergies and want to learn a little more about this condition, its causes and possible treatments.
Causes of dog allergies
Contrary to popular belief, the main cause of allergies is not animal hair, but dander. The allergens contained in saliva and sweat stick to the outermost layer of the skin and in the hair. Although any animal with hair can cause this type of allergy, in most cases this allergy is associated with dogs and cats.
To understand why some people are allergic to these molecules, you must first understand how your immune system works. Your immune system produces proteins known as "antibodies". These antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could cause disease or infection. In the case of an allergy, your immune system causes the antibodies to recognize a particular allergen as harmful, even though it is not.
When you breathe in or come in contact with the allergen, your immune system reacts and triggers an inflammatory response in your nasal passages or lungs. Prolonged or regular contact with the allergen can lead to persistent (chronic) airway inflammation, which is associated with asthma.
These animal molecules are so small that they can remain airborne for a long time. Therefore, they can be distributed throughout the house, inhaled, or even worn on our own clothes. Even some time after the pets no longer live in our home, these molecules can remain in the air for months or even years.
You may be interested in this other article on how to build immunity to cat allergy.
Symptoms of dog allergies
The general symptoms of dog allergy may be similar to those of other allergies, flu, and colds. Nevertheless, the specific symptoms vary from person to person.
It is also important to know that although the most common symptoms of pet allergy are caused by inflammation of the nasal passages, some people may also experience skin symptoms, a pattern known as allergic dermatitis. This type of dermatitis is an immune system reaction that causes inflammation of the skin.
Symptoms of pet allergy caused by inflammation of the nasal passages:
- Nasal congestion
- Red, watery or itchy eyes
- Pain and pressure in the face
- Itching in the nose, palate, or throat
- Bluish, swollen skin under the eyes
Symptoms of pet allergy caused by allergic dermatitis:
- Itchy skin
- Urticaria (red, raised patches on the skin)
If the person suffering from pet allergy also has asthma, additional symptoms may occur, such as:
- Pressure or pain in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Whistling or whistling sounds when exhaling
You may be interested in this other article about how to tell if someone is having an asthma attack.
Treatments of dog allergies
The first measure to combat pet allergies is to avoid the allergy-causing animals as much as possible. If you minimize exposure to pet allergens, you can usually expect to have less and less frequent or less severe allergic reactions. However, as mentioned earlier, we know that this is not possible. Even if you do not have a pet at home, you may still be exposed to the allergenic molecules in public spaces.
Pharmacological treatment for dog allergies
Depending on the intensity of the allergic reaction, you may need to resort to pharmacological treatment. Generally, such treatment includes:
- Antihistamines: they can be taken orally, as nasal drops, or as eye drops. They are administered to relieve the symptoms of rhinitis and/or allergic conjunctivitis.
- Corticosteroids: ideally in the form of a nasal spray. It is recommended to reduce chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa.
- Vaccines: there are currently some vaccines (immunotherapy) consisting of the administration of an extract of the responsible allergen in progressively increasing doses and regular time intervals, with the aim of producing tolerance to the allergen.
- Nasal irrigation: you can use a rhinoceros horn or a special squeeze bottle to flush tough, irritating mucus from the sinuses with a rinse prepared with salt water (saline).
If the patient suffers from allergic asthma, treatment includes the use of corticosteroid inhalers in combination with inhaled bronchodilators to reduce bronchial inflammation.
Home remedies for dog allergies
- Bathe your dog frequently: ask a family member or friend who does not have allergies to bathe your pet every week. Keep in mind, however, that the effect wears off within a few days and may also be harmful to your pet.
- Set up a dog-free zone: another option is to make certain rooms in your home, such as your bedroom, pet-free zones to reduce allergen exposure in those rooms.
- Remove rugs: if possible, replace carpets that cover the entire floor of the room with ceramic tile, hardwood, linoleum or vinyl flooring, which do not harbor pet allergens as easily.
- Use high-efficiency filters: high-efficiency air purifiers (HEPA) and ventilation filters can help reduce pet allergens in the air.
- Keep your pet outside: if your pet can live comfortably outside, you can reduce the amount of allergens in the house. This option is not suitable for many pets or in certain climates.
If you want to know more about other home remedies, continue reading this other article about home remedies for seasonal allergies.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to Dog Allergies - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Family health category.