Are you treating your dog allergies the best way?
Dog Allergy Symptom Relief – Are you treating your symptoms the best way?
If you have a dog allergy, you usually want to find a solution that allows you to keep your dog but also feel your best! This often leads to research about hypoallergenic dogs. As I explain in this article (which was surprisingly well liked… so thank you!) this is not usually the best solution.
Today I will give you the best natural and medication solutions to help you treat you or your child’s dog allergy symptoms.
First, do you really have dog allergies?
As I went discussed in my prior article, I see a lot of people believe they have dog allergies but don’t actually have a dog allergy.
True dog allergy symptoms are usually: itchy, runny, sneezy/stuffy nose symptoms as well as red, watery, itchy eyes that happen around all types of dogs.
False dog allergy symptoms can sometimes be:
- Pollen stuck to the hair/fur of the dog (and, instead of being dog allergic, you are actually pollen allergic!)
- A contact allergy where symptoms only happen where a dog licks or touches you
- An asymptomatic sensitization, which is when the allergy test is a false positive
In these cases, you might be worried about treating your dog allergy symptoms but in actuality, you don’t have dog allergies! If you are unsure, take this 2-minute quiz to help determine whether or not you have dog allergies.
Second, treating dog allergy symptoms NATURALLY
If you have a true dog allergy, there are many natural solutions to help you treat your dog allergies.
Remember that dog allergies are caused by a protein that is made in their skin, saliva and urine and can be found on the dog, the dog’s hair/fur, as well as places the dog spends a lot of time.
The key to natural dog allergy treatment is to try to reduce exposure to these proteins.
Top 5 Natural Tricks to Treat Dog Allergy Symptoms
1. Wash your skin after contact
- This works best if you get hives or rash when a dog licks you or with close contact.
- Soap and water can help remove the protein before you get your allergic reaction.
- The sooner you do this, the less chance of dog allergy symptoms
2. Vacuum up dust bunnies and clean the dog’s bed/area
- My dog, Willie, honestly sheds a new dog each day. This picture is of ONE CORNER of my house… and I swept the floor yesterday!
- Removing this fur keeps it from floating through the air causing allergy symptoms as well as sticking to carpets, blankets, etc.
- Keeping your dog’s bed area clean is also important in treating your dog allergy symptoms by reducing the amount of dog protein.
3. Keep your pets off furniture OR keep it as clean as possible.
- One strong recommendation is to keep your dog off your couches and chairs.
- Since you will also be spending time there, it is easier for the dog’s allergic protein to cause you symptoms if they also spend a lot of time there.
- If you have a wipeable couch, try to keep it wiped down.
- If you have a cloth or microfiber couch, try to get as much fur off as possible.
- If you have a microfiber couch with years of child-related dirt and a huge wax stain spilled on it, move it to a different room and put a blanket over it (an example just off the top of my head… and not what is currently in my living room).
4. Vacuum the floors at least weekly
- Again, the idea is to remove as much dog fur and dander as possible.
- It is not necessary to own a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum although it does help. It is probably more important to be regular at vacuuming than to have the latest and greatest electric Dyson self-cleaning HEPA robot.
- Also, at a max, a few times a week is fine. I’ve met many people who vacuum multiple times a day and it is probably a little overkill. Take that extra time to binge a little Netflix or something.
5. Aggressively clean urine stains
- My dog is a great dog: barks at nonscary things yet, is friendly to strangers, has more danger from his wagging tail than anything else… you know, the perfect guard dog.
- He also has minimal accidents in the house… unless I leave a specific room open overnight and then there is one single spot that he seems to have a grudge match against. And he appears to be winning.
- Remember, dog urine also contains the dog allergy protein.
- Cleaning the area with an enzymatic pet urine cleaner and a deep carpet cleaner will help reduce allergy symptoms
The SINGLE BEST NATURAL way to help reduce dog allergies
I’m not downplaying any of my prior tips. I wrote them with love and only a slight bit of sarcasm. Ideally you would do all of these tips since every individual tip is additive (doing more gets you more).
But if you were sleeping through the prior list and had to wake up for ONE tip, it would be this one: CREATE A SAFE ZONE IN YOUR BEDROOM!
Make your Bedroom a Safe Zone to Treat Dog Allergy Symptoms
Think of the one place we all are ideally supposed to spend 8 hours a day: in the bedroom. If there is one single place to keep dog allergy free, it is the bedroom.
The plan would be:
- Keep the dog out of the bedroom during the daytime (close the door when you’re not in the room).
- Ideally NOT let your dog sleep on the bed (either with you or when you’re not around).
- If possible, have the dog sleep in a different room during the night
This works because you are able to avoid having the dog allergy protein from fur/hair or saliva in the area you spend the most time.
IN ADDITION, if you have seasonal allergies and your pet’s fur is collecting that pollen and delivering it to you, it is best if they don’t spread the pollen on your sleeping surfaces!
Treating Dog Allergy Symptoms with Medications
If these prevention measures are not enough, the next step is to add medications.
(Note: you don’t stop all the natural dog allergy treatment options. If you do as many of the non-medication options as you can, you can usually get BETTER CONTROL of your symptoms with FEWER MEDICATIONS!)
You might want to start treatment with antihistamines. After-all, they do make up every other TV commercial! However, the majority of patients I see come in after saying that “antihistamines aren’t working” to control dog allergies.
This makes sense: as a category, antihistamines start working within about 1 hour and are “gone” within 24 hours. So they do not provide the best coverage for an allergy that you’re exposed to (in high quantities) day in and day out!
My first choice to treat dog allergy symptoms is nasal steroids! You can read about what nasal steroids I recommend in my article comparing Flonase vs. Nasonex.
Usually, I recommend using nasal steroids daily and then add antihistamines for that extra “uumph” as needed (I review the best over-the-counter antihistamines here).
What if All This ISN’T ENOUGH to control your dog allergies?
If all this isn’t enough to control your 11 out of 10 dog allergy symptoms, don’t lose hope! I still have options for you that DON’T include removing your pet.
If you are at this point, I do recommend seeing an allergist because the next step would be to consider allergy shots. I’ll cover allergy shots in a future blog, but properly mixed allergy shots, such as the ones most allergist’s provide (as opposed to ENTs) can reduce your immune system’s response to dog allergies and can usually make it so that you can tolerate your dog.
How to use this information:
As an allergist, this is how I would put a general plan together:
1) If you wanted to do one thing, make your bedroom a safe zone.
2) If you are on your second or third cup of coffee and want to do more, do step 1 and also the top 5 natural tricks to treat dog allergy symptoms (above).
3) If that’s not enough, add medications in this order:
- Start the best over the counter nasal steroid medication on a daily basis
- Then add the best over the counter antihistamine
4) Then, if all else fails, see an allergist and consider allergy shots.
Want a better plan or more personal advice?
As an allergist, I see all the nuances and unique dog allergy situations and I CAN HELP YOU! Simply fill out these 5 questions and I’ll give you a personalized solution (for you or your son/daughter).