Why am I Allergic to Dog Saliva?

Pet allergies are one of the most frequent complains among dog lovers. After all, how can something that gives us so much joy also give us so much misery?

If you’re one of the many people who suffer from a dog allergy, you’re not alone. However, you may feel like the odd man out if you’re not allergic to your dog’s dander, but her saliva!

Why are some people allergic to saliva, and what can be done about this allergy?

Why am I allergic to dog saliva?

Although pet dander allergies are common, you rarely hear about anyone suffering from an allergy to dog saliva.

However, this allergy does exist. Among those who complain of allergic reactions to pet saliva, reactions are varied.

Some report a reaction to saliva, but not to pet dander, while others claim only certain dogs cause their skin to break out. Why are some people allergic to dog saliva, and why are there such varied responses to this allergy?

Your allergic reaction to dog saliva is caused by a sensitivity to the glycoprotein. This protein is found in dog dander, urine, and saliva.

However, you may be affected by one or two rather than all three, depending on your sensitivity and the concentration of the proteins in the substance.

You may have noticed that some dogs have saliva that bothers your skin, while others don’t. Not all dog saliva is the same.

Some dogs have a high concentration of glycoproteins in their saliva, which makes them more prone to causing a reaction, and others simply drool a lot, thus spreading proteins everywhere they go.

What does an allergic reaction to dog saliva look like?

If you have been licked by a dog and noticed an itchy rash appear at the site of the lick, then you likely have an allergy to dog saliva. You can’t know for sure if it is a true saliva allergy until you have been tested by a doctor.

Your dog may have been eating something you are allergic to before he licked you, and there is a possibility that his saliva simply carried that substance to you. However, if you frequently notice a breakout when you come in contact with dog saliva, it is reasonable to assume that you have an allergy.

Your allergy to dog saliva can take various forms. Most commonly, you will see a rash or hives at the site and feel very itchy.

It’s also possible to have a reaction similar to that of someone who is sensitive to pet dander: itchy eyes, coughing, and a runny nose. In rare cases, you might have some trouble breathing or even an anaphylactic reaction.

However, few people have a reaction that extends beyond the area where the skin came in contact with dog saliva.

Can a child be allergic to dog saliva?

One frequently hears of children being allergic to pets, but rarely are saliva allergies mentioned. Can children be allergic to dog saliva?

Yes, they can. A saliva allergy will be more bothersome for a child than an adult, since children are closer to the ground and more likely to be licked in especially sensitive areas, such as the face or the neck.

If you suspect your child has a dog saliva allergy, you should train household pets not to lick anyone and also work to keep your child from coming in contact with other peoples’ dogs, especially if they drool a lot or are poorly trained.

Can you be allergic to dog saliva, but not dander?

This is a frequent question from people who suspect pet saliva allergies, but don’t seem to have a pet dander allergy.

Perhaps you have never had a problem with animals in the past, no matter how much you cuddled your dog or cat, but now you find that dog saliva gives you a reaction. If so, you are not unusual. Many people find that they have a sensitivity to a dog lick, but not a dog snuggle.

Although the allergy-causing proteins found in saliva, urine, and dander are essentially the same, they can come in varying concentrations.

If you find that your dog’s saliva bothers you while his dander does not, it’s likely that his saliva has a high concentration of allergy-inducing proteins.

Another theory is that your skin just might be more sensitive than your sinuses. Perhaps the reason that you get a rash rather than the sniffles is that your skin just can’t handle it, while the rest of your body can.

Of course, you can be sensitive to both dog dander and dog saliva. Since most dogs lick their feet and bodies, you might have an allergic reaction to the dander trapped in the dog’s saliva. Or, you could simply have an allergy to both saliva and dander.

What do I do if I am allergic to my dog’s saliva?

If you don’t have a dog yet but want to get one, then consider the breed before you adopt. Choose a dog breed that doesn’t drool much, and one that is easily trained.

You want to be able to teach your dog to keep his tongue and mouth away from you. It’s also important to consider your reaction to the individual dog, since different dogs of the same breed can trigger different levels of allergic reaction in people due to genetics or the habits of the individual dog.

If you do have a dog, you’ll have to learn to live with the allergy and take steps to control it. If you never want to experience an allergic reaction to your dog’s saliva again, then the only way to solve your problem is to get rid of the dog.

Of course, most people won’t be inclined to give away their dog, unless their allergy is particularly bad.

One way to keep yourself free from itchy rashes is to avoid contact with your dog’s saliva. If your dog is especially enthusiastic, you may have to limit your time with the dog and keep your hands and arms away from his head.

If your dog is young or particularly obedient, you can train your dog to refrain from licking, play biting, or sharing his toys with you. Finally, you can wear gloves while playing with your dog. This might be a bit awkward, but it will allow you to handle your pet without the allergic reaction.

Like any dog allergies, you can manage a dog saliva allergy with medication. Visit your primary care physician or allergen to learn how you can best control your allergy.

Your doctor can give you an allergy test to determine whether or not you are actually allergic to dog saliva. There are a couple of different ways you can be tested.

First, you could do a blood test. This test looks for antibodies, which are elements in your blood that the body creates to fight off the allergen.

Secondly, you could undergo a skin test. During this test, your doctor will insert the potential allergen under the top layer of your skin to see if you have a reaction. Once your doctor has established that you are allergic to your dog’s saliva and not something else, she can prescribe you medications to help control your allergies.

In addition to allergy medications, you can use home solutions or over-the-counter medications to help you deal with discomfort. Note that over-the-counter medications are not always a suitable replacement for prescriptions, and they should only be used as directed by your doctor.

First, when you encounter dog saliva, you should wash your skin wherever you came in contact with the saliva.

Next, you can use an ice pack to reduce the swelling and relieve the burning and itching sensations. Finally, if it is safe to do so in conjunction with any prescribed medications, you can take an over-the-counter antihistamine to control the allergic reaction.

Dog allergies are annoying, especially when you are allergic to your own dogs! While dog saliva allergies aren’t as life-changing as dander allergies, they can be just as miserable and sometimes even more painful. If you are experiencing an allergy to your dog’s saliva, though, you don’t have to worry!

There are many ways you can avoid contact with this allergen and control it. Do you have any experience dealing with a do saliva allergy? Do you have any advice for other readers? Let us know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Why am I Allergic to Dog Saliva?”

  1. We have two dogs, a pit bull and a labradoodle. I am only allergic to the pit bull’s saliva. I have had other dogs in the past and have never had this issue. We got Loki, our pitty, when he was about 6 months old. I noticed I would occasionally break out in hives after playing with him. Now, he’s almost two and I break out in hives every time he licks my skin. It is definitely very itchy and uncomfortable, but it usually only lasts for about 10-15 minutes. It’s just so strange that I’ve never had this issue before with any other dog. Loki is our first pit bull, so maybe it could be something to do with the breed. I would never get rid of my dog or any dog, I’m the one who’s flawed 🙂

  2. Hi there, my daughter and I are going through the same exact thing. We just adoped a 9 week old pit bull and everytime she licks us we breakout in hives and a funny rash. We have had pits before an never had this issue. It’s just so strange.
    Hope we can figure it out, good luck.

  3. I am sorry to say that I feel you left out an important warning, some children’s reaction to dog saliva can be deadly! I almost lost my son due to his allergy to dog saliva, and even local medical personal couldn’t believe it was from a dog licking his face. I understand his is an unusual reaction but parents be careful. All allergies can be dangerous and need to be watched and tended to. After testing, we always carry an epipen, avoid areas with dogs and educate when we can.

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