Are you allergic to dog dander? Becoming familiar with the dog dander allergies symptoms can help, but the only way to be sure is through an allergy test.
The two allergy tests used are skin prick tests and blood tests. If there isn’t a reason not to use the skin prick test, this is probably what your doctor will recommend. It gives you results much faster than a blood test.
You’re probably familiar with the classic symptoms of a pet allergy. Usually, these mimic signs of a common cold.
You might have watery eyes, a runny nose, a scratchy throat, or mild respiratory issues. But what other allergy symptoms are there? Many people find themselves asking, “Can an allergy to dogs or cats cause itchy skin and bumps?”
Pet Dander Allergy Symptoms
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to a protein found in pet dander. Different animals have different chemical compositions of these proteins, so it’s possible to be allergic to one animal and not another. The symptoms and severity of the reaction will vary from person to person, but most commonly include:
- Nasal congestion
- A runny nose
- Pressure in the sinuses
- Tightness in the chest and shortness of breath
- Itchy, red, or watery eyes
- Hives and skin rashes
These symptoms occur when the immune system releases histamines into the body. This flood of histamines and other chemicals causes irritation throughout the respiratory system and the skin. Can you get a rash from your pet? Yes. Respiratory symptoms aren’t the only symptoms that occur because of a pet allergy.
Allergic Reaction to Dog Dander
Can I get a rash from my dog?
This is one of the most common questions about pet allergies. Yes, it is possible to get a rash from your dog. It’s helpful to understand the potential causes of the rash, though.
Dogs produce a number of allergens found in their urine, saliva, and dander. Every breed of dog produces some form of allergen; there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog. In addition, pollen, dust, and other allergens in a dog’s coat might cause allergy symptoms even if a person isn’t allergic to dogs.
There are two main types of rash you might observe after coming into contact with a dog.
Contact dermatitis encompasses the first type of rash you might experience. This reaction occurs when your skin comes into direct contact with an allergen or another irritant. Symptoms of contact dermatitis are typically an itchy or burning rash.
If your contact dermatitis is caused by a dog, you’ll likely experience the rash on parts of your skin that came into contact with the dog. Areas the dog licked may be particularly sensitive, since the most powerful dog allergens are found in the saliva. You might also have a rash on your hands and arms after petting the dog, or on your face if it came into contact with the dog.
Hives are a sign of an allergic reaction. They won’t necessarily appear on parts of the skin that came into contact with the dog.
When your immune system comes into contact with an allergen, it releases a flood of histamine into your bloodstream. Histamine can leak into your skin and cause irritation. This tends to present as raised red bumps, blotches, or patches of skin that itch and burn.
Hives aren’t always caused by allergies. They may also be caused by stress.
Allergic Reaction to Dog Hair
Dog hair makes me itch. Am I allergic to dogs?
Many people who experience hives believe they have hives from dog hair contact, or an allergic to dog hair rash. In actuality, there are a number of reasons dog hair might cause an allergic reaction, but you’re very unlikely to be allergic to the hair itself.
Dog allergies are most commonly caused by dog dander and saliva. Dander refers to the dead flakes of skin that leave a dog’s coat naturally. Your dog’s saliva and dander have proteins that are harmless to most people, but can cause allergic reactions in others.
Dog hair is rarely the cause of an allergic reaction on its own. For that reason, there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog. However, dog hair can trap a number of different allergens. It might house dander, saliva, pollen, mold, dust, and other common allergens.
To find out what exactly you’re allergic to, you’ll need to have an allergy test done.
Dog Dander Removal
There are steps you can take to remove dog dander from your living space.
If possible, consider housing your dogs outdoors. Dust your surfaces thoroughly, vacuum the carpets, and sweep and mop your floors. It’s also helpful to invest in an air purifier that has a HEPA filter, as this will filter out 99.9% of contaminates in the air.
If you’re not keeping your dogs fully outside, make sure there are spaces in your house that are a dog-free zone. Your bedroom should be one of them, and if possible, your living room as well.
Make sure your dogs are bathed and groomed weekly. If your dogs have long fur, keep their coats trimmed short so their fur traps less dander and other allergens. If you’re too allergic to groom your dogs yourselves, bring them to a groomer who can take care of it for you.
Dog dander can take months to fully leave a person’s living space, but these steps can help keep it from accumulating in your home.