Do you have a range of symptoms when you are around your dog, from hives and itchy eyes to frequent sneezing, a runny and itchy nose, and occasional lip swelling? If so, you may be among the many dog lovers who face the push and pull reality of dog lovers with dog allergies. It is a tough choice, picking between reduced allergy symptoms while missing out on the dog-owning experience vs dealing with the symptoms listed above. In more severe cases, symptoms may even progress to severe sinus infections, bouts of bronchitis, asthma attacks, and rarely, life-threatening allergic reactions called anaphylaxis.
Turns out that you are not alone. One quarter of people are estimated to have allergies, many of which have dog allergies. If you suspect that you are allergic o your dog, confirm the diagnosis with an allergist certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. A skin test, can generally rule it in or out. Allergists often recommend that dog-allergic people not keep dogs in their homes or visit homes with dogs. Yet, most people do not want to remove their dog from the home, as they are attached, etc.
So, lets assume your allergies are not life threatening, and you want to try to remain living in your house with your beloved dog. This means mild to moderate reactions excluding frequent trips to the doctor for antibiotics to treat asthma, bronchitis… What to do?
– At a minimum, try to keep the dog out of your bedroom and off the furniture.
– Work with your allergist to determine which combination of medication or preventive methods work best for you. Remember that you may become intolerant of certain medications down the road, necessitating changing medications at some point.
– In severe cases, if you develop asthma or sinus infections, going to the doctor often and medicating with antibiotics, there may be no other healthy option but too choose not to own a dog, and place your dog in another home if you already have the dog. Anaphylactic reactions are also a surefire warning.
5 top changes to implement to help keep your dog living with you in your house:
1. Keeping a clean house helps combat allergies.
Cleaning fanatics have a leg up on the fight to reduce allergen levels in their homes,and thus potentially reduce allergy symptoms. Dander can be everywhere. Any person that walks into your house will leave a trail of dirt and dander.
– Clean your house at least weekly while wearing a mask.
-Use vacuums or vacuum bags with high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filters to trap particles such s dander. Also insider a HEPA air filtration systems.
They say that you should vacuum once a week for each person and pet living in your home.
-Launder or clean pet beds, rugs, curtains, blinds, and blankets as often as possible.
– Avoid dust magnets subj as carpet and knickknacks. Wood or tile floors are optimal. Leather furniture and washable cushions are preferable. as well.
– Use cleaning products that pick up and hold the dust and dirt, such as microfiber cloths, rather than spread it.
– Don’t forget your own cleanliness, such as frequent hand washing and putting on clean jambes as often as possible.
2. Bathing your dog regularly may or may not help your symptoms.
Bathing your dog regularly reduces allergen levels, but there’s no hard evidence that it will reduce your allergic reactions. It is worth trying though.
– A non-allergic person in the house should bathe the dog outside, if possible, at least once a week. If possible, more often. It has been shown that this will reduce the amount of dust.
Dog dander comes from the dog’s skin and hair. The less skin and hair a dog has, the less dander that is usually produced. Small dogs are a better option because they have less surface area and thus produce less dander. So a Chihuahua is better than a Labrador Retriever in such households.
Still, after bathing, continue to limit your dog’s access to certain areas in your home, such as bedrooms.
3. The odds of developing dog allergies may lie in the genes
The research is mixed as to weather living with a dog at a young age will decrease or increase the odds of that child developing allergies later in life. Family history plays more of a role ,with allergies running in families. If one parent has allergies, the odds are greater that their children will also have allergies. If a parent has, eg. asthma, their baby has a 30% chance of developing asthma, while if both mom and dad have asthma, the child is 60% likely to have allergies as well.
4. Immunotherapy is worth a shot
Also known as allergy shots, they have ben used successfully for more than 100 years. Similar to vaccines, this therapy involves injections of that which it is you are allergic to, in increasingly higher doses over a long-term, regular schedule.
Typically, 85% of people who go on allergy injections see some type of reduction in symptoms.
5. Nasal irrigation can flush away symptoms.
Nasal irrigation , as weird as it sounds to some of you, can be a very helpful way to deal with the effects of allergies.
Saline rinses can be effective, depending on the sensitivity of the person and the amount of dander. Iti s cheap, clean and convenient. Yet, a nasal saline flush can be a lot of work. Neti pots are recommended, and it is also recommended to change the neti pots or irrigation device every couple of weeks to verify that they are clean.
Nasal irrigation is generally considered safe, although mild side effects, such as minor irritation may occur.
So, it is, no doubt, a lot of work, but the rewards are worth it. See if it is worth it for you and your specific case of allergies and severity.