Are You Allergic to Your Dog? Here Are Your Treatment Options!

Pet hair is a common indoor allergy trigger— along with dust mites. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million people in the US are diagnosed with an allergy every year.

While more people react to cat hair, dogs can also produce sneezing, watery eyes, and hives. Since dogs are frequently utilized by the blind for mobility and as family companions, living with a dog allergy can be discouraging and frustrating. If you are unsure if you are experiencing an allergic reaction to your dog, Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic can aid you in determining whether this is the source of your allergic symptoms.

Common Pet Allergy Symptoms – Impact on Asthma

The Mayo Clinic includes the following in its list of common pet allergy symptoms:

  • Nasal congestion;
  • Sneezing;
  • Facial pressure and pain;
  • Itchy, red, or watery eyes;
  • Cough.

Meanwhile, CDC data show that 25 million people in the US have asthma – and an asthma attack can result from such upper respiratory (UR) symptoms as often found in people allergic to cats and dogs. Moreover, chronic asthma can be life-threatening (especially in children). For this reason, it is a particularly good idea to identify the source of chronic UR symptoms.

The Four Dog Allergen Sources

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), the following are the four sources of allergens produced by dogs:

  1. Dog hair;
  2. Dog dander (particles of skin shed by the animal);
  3. Saliva;
  4. Urine

If you are worried that your child has a dog allergy, not allowing a dog in your home may not eliminate the possibility that your child will experience an allergic reaction due to exposure at school or elsewhere. Dog hair and dander may reside on the clothing of other children or adult caregivers, so an allergic reaction can still occur.

For a child with severe asthma, an allergic reaction can result in a medical emergency requiring hospitalization. Proactive allergy treatment is the best way to avoid such a preventable hospitalization, and Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic is the preferred Little Rock allergy clinic.

Diagnostics for Identifying a Dog Allergy

A skin prick test is the typical way that an allergy is determined (with skin swelling at the area of the skin prick typically occurring in allergic people within 15 minutes). This test involves administration by an allergist or another clinician of extracts beneath the skin. If you (or your child) also has a cat allergy, that needs to be determined in order to ascertain the best treatment plan.

What are the Treatment Options for a Dog Allergy?

The following are included as allergy treatment options by the National Institutes of Health:

  • Antihistamines;
  • Nasal steroids;
  • Decongestants;
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots)

Immunotherapy (involving subcutaneous insertion of the allergen extract) is typically administered on a weekly to monthly basis. In this way, the allergy shots alter the body’s response by decreasing allergen sensitivity as long as the immunotherapy for the animal allergy is continued for the prescribed time period.

As a Little Rock specialized clinic, we are an excellent choice for ongoing treatment if you live in the Little Rock, Arkansas area or surrounding communities. However, we may still be the best choice for diagnosing your pet allergy even if you live outside of the Little Rock or Conway vicinity.

A pet allergy test is the first step toward addressing your pet allergy symptoms. Our clinicians at the Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic are experienced in determining the best approach to treating your pet allergy.