Cats and dogs are the most popular pets here in the United States. Even so, allergies to dogs is actually pretty common; causing hay fever (allergic rhinitis), asthma, and more. Even though there are hypoallergenic dogs, there is no 100% pure hypoallergenic breed that is guaranteed not to cause any symptoms.
If you have a dog allergy, it means that you have allergens to one or all of the following: saliva, dander, or the urine. Those allergic to saliva and dander will experience symptoms when inhaling the allergen. The allergens can be dispersed through the air, trapped inside the hair and dander and being able to be transported through the air and to all other locations in your home such as furniture, countertops, bedding, and even your clothes.
Even with dog allergies, there are ways to manage them. Here are some helpful solutions:
The best way to reduce your exposure to dogs is to not own dogs. If you do choose to have one, you can opt for a hypoallergenic dog. They are no 100% hypoallergenic and guaranteed to not cause a reaction, but are less likely to trigger one. It is best to foster a doggie first though. This way, you can see how you respond to this specific dog and what sort of reactions you may or may not have.
Consider your bedroom a safe space. Keep the door shut at all times. Do not allow the dog in your bedroom. Use hepa air filterss in your room. And deep clean bedroom regularly.
Remove carpeting which can trap the allergens and opt for hardwood or vinyl flooring instead. Deep clean regularly including baseboards and even the walls. Keep surfaces clutter-free so there’s less stuff for the allergen to stick to. Or if you do enjoy carpet, have it steam cleaned regularly. But if you can get by with rugs then do that instead. Just make sure to throw them in the wash with hot water regularly.
Use vacuums that are certified and and allergy friendly. Don’t forget to wear a mask when vacuuming.
Never touch your nose or eyes after touching a dog. Make sure to wash your hands immediately when you’re done. You can even change your clothing if you’re trying to be extra vigilant.
Use an air cleaner, with a certified asthma and allergy friendly filter for your hvac systems. This will help remove the allergens from the air.
Wash your dog and their bedding regularly.
Treating the Symptoms
Make sure to discuss with your doctor(s) on treatment options that will suit you best.
Use of antihistamines in order to relieve allergy symptoms.
Use of nasal corticosteroids, which help to reduce swelling in the nose and help to block allergic reactions.
Use of decongestants in order to help relieve stuffiness in nose and nasal passages
Use of immunotherapy, in order to build a tolerance to the dog proteins
If you do start to develop a serious allergic reaction, there are signs you need to be mindful of. Remember, when a serious allergic reaction is taking place, time is of the essence. Symptoms include: pale skin, and clammy skin to the touch, weak pulse, difficulty breathing, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
If you or someone you know starts to experience these symptoms, you need to:
- call 911
- lay the person down on a flat surface with legs elevated higher than their heart
- use an epi-pen, injecting straight into the thigh (There are instructions on the epi-pen or you follow the instructions from the 911 operator)
- start CPR, depending on breathing and pulse. (You can follow the instructions from the 911 operator for proper form if you are unsure)
- Usually you’ll notice symptoms during or directly after an exposure. But symptoms can also build up in the body over time, and many people will see their worst reaction occurring 8-12 hours after exposure.
Remember that managing your allergens is a unique experience. What works for your friend may not work for you. So be patient and persistent in order to find the right combination that will work for you!