How would you know if you or your child were allergic to dogs?

How would you know if you or your child were allergic to dogs?

Health & Safety

It might seem obvious that if you were allergic to dogs, you’d already know about it, because you’d have an obvious and noticeable reaction when you come into contact with dogs, or spend time around them. However, allergies can be really tricky because they affect different people in different ways, and with different symptoms and degrees of severity – and allergies can also change over time too, becoming more acute or less of a problem, or in some cases, arising for the first time later in life or even going away on their own as you get older.

To further compound matters, a great many people are allergic to some dogs but not others; and if only one occasional dog now and then seems to trigger symptoms, or if certain homes and environments that dogs live in cause problems for you when others don’t, getting to the bottom of things can be tricky.

Knowing for sure whether or not you are allergic to dogs if you have any suspicions in this area is important, because a better understanding of your allergy and how to treat or manage it can make your life – and health – much better. It might even mean that people who previously thought their allergies might mean that dog ownership would not be possible for them can consider it once more, with the right management and choice of breed.

In this article, we will examine how you can tell if you or your child is allergic to dogs, and look at some of the symptoms you might face, and how variable they can be. This can help you to determine if you are allergic to dogs and to what degree, helping you to get a handle on managing your allergies.

Read on to find out how you could tell if you or your child has a dog allergy.

The symptoms of an allergy to dogs

Allergies – regardless of their trigger – can be hugely variable in terms of how they present, with a wide range of possible symptoms that are shared by allergies to a whole host of other different things too.

The ways that allergies tend to come and go can make diagnosis harder, and also, make narrowing down the source of the allergenic trigger more difficult too.

You won’t necessarily exhibit all of the following dog allergy symptoms every time you meet a dog, and their severity might vary a lot too; but here are the main symptoms of an allergy to dogs to look out for:

  • Itchy, inflamed or irritated eyes, which may be watery or red.
  • An itchy or tickly nose, potentially a runny nose, and possibly accompanied by sneezing.
  • Itchy or irritated skin, which may appear inflamed or display a rash.
  • The development of hives or lumps on the skin.
  • A feeling or pressure in the nose, sinuses and face.
  • An irritated or sore throat.
  • Swelling or inflammation of the throat or the area below the eyes.
  • Wheezing, breathing problems, or feeling as if your throat is closing up.
  • Dog allergies may present symptoms similar to an asthma attack in some people, or even trigger attacks in asthmatics.
  • Dog allergies can sometimes be similar to cold symptoms, which continue longer than the length of the average cold.

Why dog allergy symptoms can be so variable

There are quite a number of different allergy symptoms that individuals exhibit, and the fact that they can be quite variable within individuals and even on a day to day basis makes getting to the bottom of things that much harder.

How your body reacts to the presence of any allergenic trigger depends on the body’s immune response to it, which is much more acute in some people than others.

Additionally, there are a wide range of external factors too that can affect the presentation of allergies, including how much contact you have had with dogs or an individual dog, how sensitive you are to the allergens produced by each individual dog, and how much pet hair, dander and other potential allergy triggers are present in the environment.

This is why dog allergy sufferers will often find that they react more poorly to dogs when within a dog-owning home than they do out and about in the open air.

Why might some dogs cause allergy symptoms but not others?

Not all people who are allergic to dogs are allergic to every dog they meet, and for some people, most dogs don’t cause a reaction at all but the occasional dog will. On the flipside, even many people who are usually allergic to every dog they meet is apt to find the occasional dog that simply doesn’t cause a reaction in them.

The amount of allergenic triggers that any dog produces, whether they are spread through the environment or are largely localised to the dog, and how any given person reacts to any given dog can be widely variable.

However, dog breeds that tend to have prolific coats, dogs that shed heavily, and dogs that slobber or drool a lot tend to be more prone to triggering allergies than others, as allergenic compounds are present in saliva, shed skin cells and dog dander.

Dogs that aren’t overly slobbery on the other hand, and particularly those with low-shedding coats like the Cockapoo and the poodle, are less likely to produce acute allergy symptoms than most other dog breeds and types.



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