Allergic Reactions to Dogs in Toddlers

When you bring a baby into the household, you might be worried about how they’ll get along with your pets. One big concern is potential allergic reactions.

Allergies occur when your child’s immune system reacts to animal dander, feces, urine, or saliva. When the immune system comes into contact with these things, it reacts by releasing histamine and other chemicals. Histamine causes inflammation of the nose and airways.

When Do Pet Allergies Show Up in Babies?

Many concerned parents want to know: When do babies develop allergies to pets?

The length of time an allergy takes to develop can vary. When you first get a pet, your child might not have an allergic reaction immediately. In many cases, the child must be exposed to the allergen for several months before they develop symptoms.

Babies are more likely to develop a pet allergy if you or your partner is prone to allergies. Even if you don’t have pet allergies, this genetic predisposition can manifest differently in your child.

If you’re thinking about getting a pet, but you’re not sure if your baby is allergy-prone or not, you should wait until they’re about 6 years old. The symptoms of allergies tend to manifest less severely in older children.

Symptoms of Dog Allergies in Babies

Runny Noses

When a baby has an allergic reaction to dog dander, the immune system releases histamines into their bloodstream. This causes the accumulation of mucus in the nasal passages. If your infant is dealing with nasal drainage without any fever, it might be a symptom of dog allergies.

Stuffy Noses

Nasal congestion is caused by too much mucus accumulating thanks to the inflammatory action of the histamines. An infant doesn’t even need to touch a dog to develop these nasal symptoms.


Another symptom caused by the histamines in the blood is sneezing. If you notice that your baby sneezes only after coming into contact with dogs, this might be a sign of an allergy. Sneezing might continue after the dog is removed from the home, since indoor environments can house dog dander for months after the dog leaves.

Wiping Nose

A baby’s mucous membranes might start to itch before any other symptoms appear. If a parent notices their baby is repeatedly rubbing their nose, some kind of allergy might be the cause.

Rubbing Eyes

Another sign of allergies is excessive eye rubbing. Histamines cause the eyes to itch, which then causes the child to rub their eyes. This can sometimes be a vicious cycle, as allergens might already be on the hands if the child has been interacting with the dog.

Skin Rashes

Babies have soft and sensitive skin. When an infant comes into direct contact with the dog, their skin might develop a rash. These rashes may develop in places the child has touched the dog. They tend to be red and itchy, and they may include raised bumps.

Can Babies Be Allergic to Dog Saliva?

Many people believe that dog fur is the cause of allergies, but this doesn’t tend to be the case. Instead, allergies tend to be caused by dead skin flakes and saliva. Babies can develop an allergy to dog saliva. Because this isn’t caused by the fur, it doesn’t matter whether you have a long-haired or short-haired dog. Any canine might cause an allergic reaction.

Respiratory issues might not be the only way allergies present. Some parents might observe allergic to dog saliva hives in toddlers. Are these caused by the dog licking the child?

Hives won’t necessarily develop in the place where the dog licked. Instead, hives are a byproduct of histamine. The histamine produced by the allergic reaction makes small portions of the plasma in the blood leak into the baby’s skin. This causes raised, itchy red bumps and patches.

Babies Allergic to Dog Saliva Treatment

For babies allergic to dog saliva, the treatment will depend on their type of allergic reaction. When the reaction is just a mild respiratory issue, you might be able to use a saline nasal rinse.

If the symptoms become more constant or serious, it’s time to talk to your baby’s doctor. You should always involve your doctor before administering any medication to your baby. Your doctor will be able to prescribe appropriate allergy medicines or refer you to an allergist.

For slightly older children, one option is an allergy shot created to target a specific allergen. An allergist should evaluate your child to decide whether allergy shots are potentially helpful. Certain studies indicate that allergy shots can provide relief from the current allergen as well as prevent severe allergy symptoms in the future.

Baby Dog Allergy Eczema

A dog allergy won’t usually cause eczema in your baby. Babies develop eczema largely due to genetic factors. However, dog allergies can easily be the environmental trigger that causes an eczema flareup.

When a baby has eczema, their immune system tends to overreact to allergens. The body’s response is to produce inflammation. Such inflammation causes the painful and itchy symptoms traditionally seen in eczema.

Newborn Baby and Dog Hair

You may be wondering if your newborn baby is allergic to dog hair. The chances of this are fairly slim. Dog fur doesn’t tend to cause allergies. Instead, the saliva and skin flakes from the dog cause the problem. It won’t make a difference whether you have a long or short-haired dog, since the fur isn’t related to the allergies.

Final Thoughts

It’s very possible for a baby to develop dog allergies. Parents should be concerned if they have a predisposition to allergies themselves. The overactive immune system can wreak havoc on your child’s sinuses and skin.

If your child has a pet allergy, you’ll probably need to find a new home for that pet. However, if the baby is particularly attached to the dog, treatments by an allergist might help.


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