Dog allergy, also known as canine allergy, is an allergy to one or all breeds of dogs. Patients with allergic reactions to dogs can be allergic to the dog’s saliva, dander, or fur. The proteins in a dog’s saliva and fur can trigger allergic reactions indoors and outdoors. These antigens that cause allergic reactions become airborne quickly because they are lightweight. They easily spread to clothing, carpeting, and other household items.
You can reduce dander and fur in your home by deep cleaning often. Unfortunately, even after the removal of these allergy triggers, traces of the antigens will stay in the house. So patients will likely experience allergy symptoms when the dog is not around.
Dog Allergy Symptoms
Dog allergy symptoms may include:
- Itchy, watery, and red eyes
- Runny nose
- Facial pressure and pain
Dog Breeds That Often Trigger Allergic Reactions
While people who are allergic to dogs tend to show symptoms around the majority of breeds, it’s possible to react to only certain breeds of dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, these dog breeds trigger the most allergy symptoms:
- Basset Hound
- Boston Terrier
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- Saint Bernard
- Siberian Husky
Dog Allergy Diagnosis
A board-certified allergist, like one from NY Allergy & Sinus Centers, can diagnose an allergy to dogs. We have a variety of allergy tests available to accurately diagnose a number of allergies. Skin prick testing is the most common method of allergy testing. Skin prick testing is used to test dog/canine allergy This test uses diluted amounts of allergens that are applied to the skin with tiny punctures. If you are allergic, you will have a localized allergic reaction and a raised bump (hive) will develop on your skin.
When testing for canine/dog allergy with skin prick testing, it takes less than 20 minutes for the results to show. While the allergens are reacting, you may experience some itching during the test, but it will subside shortly. Your allergist will monitor you for more severe symptoms that may arise.
This test is not recommended for those with ongoing skin conditions, such as eczema. In this case, an allergist may use an allergy blood test to diagnose a dog or cat allergy. Blood tests measure immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that your immune system develops in reaction to a specific allergen. They are usually accurate but take longer to deliver results.
Dog Allergy Treatment
If you have a dog allergy, your first step should be to decrease or eliminate your exposure to dogs to minimize your allergic reactions. If removing the animal is not an option, over-the-counter allergy medications can be used to treat your symptoms. Nasal symptoms are often treated with nasal sprays and oral antihistamines. If you suffer from itchy and red eyes due to dog allergies, antihistamine eye drops will help relieve your symptoms. Respiratory or asthma symptoms can be treated with inhaled corticosteroids or bronchodilators to prevent or relieve respiratory symptoms.
While antihistamines are helpful, they only treat symptoms temporarily. The most effective way to treat this allergy is through allergy immunology. Allergy immunotherapy (“allergy shots”) is used to reduce a person’s sensitivity to the triggers that are causing their allergy symptoms. Your allergist at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers can determine the best treatment for your allergies.
Allergies Similar or Related to Dog Allergy
Cat allergy is most similar to dog allergy. However, any animal with fur or dander can produce similar symptoms to dog allergies. These animals include rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, and horses. People can also be allergic to animals with feathers (birds like parrots or parakeets).
People with allergies to animals have different levels of sensitivity to pet allergens. People with dog or cat allergies may tolerate some breeds more than others. Some people have very minor symptoms to one animal, but severe symptoms to another. If allergen levels are low, symptoms may not appear until after several days of contact with the animal. It’s important to get allergy tested to determine which animals trigger your symptoms.
Dog Allergy Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Be Allergic to Dogs?
If you experience sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, or asthma symptoms around dogs or cats, you can be allergic to them. Visit an allergist for an allergy test to diagnose your dog allergy.
How Is Dog Allergy Diagnosed?
An allergist diagnoses a dog allergy. They will use either a skin prick test or a blood test. In some cases, an allergist will use a pulmonary function test to assess your breathing to see if your asthma is flared by dogs.
Why Are People Allergic to Dogs?
Saliva, dander, or fur proteins cause allergic reactions in some people. These proteins can get inside the nose, eyes, and lungs, causing an allergic reaction. People who suffer from seasonal allergies are more at risk of developing a dog allergy.
Is Dog Allergy Curable?
Allergy shots can significantly reduce your allergy symptoms to dogs. Book an appointment with NY Allergy & Sinus Centers to get dog allergy treatment.
Are Dog Allergies Genetic?
Researchers are still studying this question, but studies suggest that yes, a hereditary component is involved. Having a blood relative with allergies or asthma increases your risk of having one or more allergies — though the specific type is not passed down, just the increased odds.
Do Animal Proteins Cross-react Among Themselves?
If you are allergic to one animal, you are not necessarily allergic to another. However, you should get a professional allergy diagnosis.
Is Cat Allergy More Common Than Dog Allergy?
Yes, more people are allergic to cats than dogs. Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies.
If I’m Allergic to Dogs, Am I Allergic to Cats?
Although the proteins are similar, you can be allergic to dogs and not cats. However, many people who are allergic to dogs tend to be allergic to cats, horses, goats, and rabbits as well.
How Much is Dog Allergy Testing?
The cost of dog allergy testing varies based on your location and physician. Allergy testing may be covered by your insurance. So we encourage you to review your medical plan before booking your allergy testing appointment.
Are Dog Allergies Caused By Dander?
Dog allergies can be triggered by dander, saliva, or fur. Any animal with dander can be a source of pet allergy, but pet allergies are most commonly associated with cats and dogs.