Dogs Allergies - Find Out About Dogs Allergies

It isn't exactly a happy situation if you have dog allergies when people's love for this obedient pet shows no signs of abating. According to statistics, about half of American households have a dog. And you can find dog dander, i.e., flakes of dead skin, almost everywhere, even in places where no one has seen a dog. NIH says pet dander can be detected in almost every household in the United States. Given such circumstances, it is almost an embarrassment for a person to have dog allergies and the best he/she can do is find some treatment for his/her problems.

The symptoms of dog allergies very much resemble those of any nasal allergy. These symptoms include coughing and wheezing; itchy, red eyes; runny, itchy, stuffy nose; and sneezing. In some cases, dog allergies affect skin and the reactions can manifest where a dog slobbers on a person. In more severe instances, a person might develop hives on their face or chest. Those who have asthma as well as dog allergies can show some really serious symptoms.

Contrary to popular belief that certain dog breeds cause allergy symptoms while others do not, expert opinions suggest that one dog and another of the same breed can give off widely different levels of allergen. Again the perception that dog's hair or fur is the main culprit is wrong. In most cases, people are allergic to the dander, as well as the saliva and urine. So the length of a dog's hair has no special role in causing an allergic reaction.

Dog dander, which is otherwise harmless, plays a key part because people with allergies have oversensitive immune systems. Their bodies overreact to dog dander and attack it as they would viruses or bacteria. The symptoms of sneezing and watery eyes are nothing but the side effects of your body's efforts to get rid of the allergen.

Testing for dog allergies can be performed either in the form of a skin test or a blood test called RAST (radioallergosorbent test). It is always wise to take such a test because some people who believe that they have dog allergies actually do not have them. In reality, they are allergic to the pollen or mold that the dog is carrying in on its coat from outside. Tests are, however, not always conclusive. So you can live without your dog for a while to observe how things go.

For treatment of dog allergies, some standard allergy medicines can be used. These include antihistamines, which neutralize the effects of a chemical that triggers allergy symptoms. While Claritin or Benadryl are sold over-the-counter (OTC), Allegra or Zyrtec are sold by prescription only. Some antihistamines are available in the form of nasal sprays, such as Astelin. Decongestants like OTC Sudafed and prescription Allegra-D can be used also which reduce swelling in the nose and relieve congestion.

Prescription steroids like Flonase or Nasonex sprays are also a familiar treatment for allergies. Allergy shots have been found effective for some people with dog allergies. However, such a treatment is time-consuming, often taking years. The best way is to consult a doctor before using them.