Staten Island:

Wednesday and Friday
11am - 7pm
New patients, office visits and immunotherapy shots.

Phone: 718-816-8200

Brooklyn Heights:

Tuesday and Thursday
1pm - 7pm

Phone: 718-624-6495

Bay Ridge:

Mon, Tue and Thu
1:30pm - 7pm

Phone: 718-748-7551


Dog Allergy

Does being around dogs make your nose itch? If so, you may be allergic to dogs.

Although fewer humans are allergic to dogs than to cats, dog dander (dead skin cells), saliva, and urine can cause allergic reactions in many people. The hair of furry animals like dogs also can pick up dust, pollen, and other allergens that set off reactions in people even though the hair itself is not an allergen. Pet dander can travel on clothing or reside in carpeting.

Given that at least one dog is present in almost 40 percent  of U.S. households, learning how to recognize dog allergy, treat it, and alleviate its recurrence are essential.

Symptoms

For people without allergies, having a friendly dog come up to you to play could be considered a positive thing. However for those who are allergic to dog, it is an altogether different experience. For these individuals, the animals allergens land on facial membranes and cause eyes to itch, tear, and burn and the nose to get stuffy. For people with asthma, pet dander is a common trigger that can cause symptoms to flare up or worsen.

Is There an Allergy-Free Dog?

The desire to keep dogs as pets is so strong that it has perhaps contributed to the notion that there are hypoallergenic dogs, but a truly allergy-free breed does not exist.

The Humane Society of the United States and others contend that Poodles or the Bichon Frise may be less apt to irritate dog-allergic humans, but a recent study found no evidence that so-called hypoallergenic dog breeds produce fewer environmental allergens than other types of dogs. A 2011 study compared dust samples from 173 homes and found no difference in the levels of allergens released by breeds deemed hypoallergenic versus nonhypoallergenic. Some research has suggested that exposure to dogs early in life can protect against allergy development, but the evidence is that there are no dogs free of allergens.

Diagnosis and Treatment

We can help diagnose allergies to dogs, which can be important for families considering adopting or purchasing one as the family pet. Allergy tests using extracts of dog dander from the potential dog or to one of the same breed can be conclusive, although some studies show that factors related to individual dogs may influence allergenicity more than a dogs breed or gender.

For dog allergy sufferers, staying away from dogs is the best way to limit exposure to their allergens and reduce the red eyes and stuffy noses they cause. When outbreaks to dog and other pet allergies do occur, medical treatments vary depending on the symptoms severity and frequency. For example, episodic symptoms may be treated with nose sprays or antihistamine pills. For people with moderate to severe perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR)year-round pet allergies, allergen immunotherapy (shots) can be used Allergy shots gradually improve tolerance to the dog allergen. Bronchodilators may provide temporary relief for people with asthma, but anti-inflammatory therapy such as inhaled steroids, are necessary for nasal and lung symptoms caused by heavy or prolonged exposure.

For owners found to be allergic to dogs who are understandably unwilling to part with a family member, a combination of medications, exposure reduction and shots can be extremely beneficial. Such strategies include restricting the dogs access to certain areas of the household and the use of air filters, frequent and proper housecleaning, and furnishings less likely to harbor allergens.