I’m Allergic to My Dog!
The Facts on Dog Dander
By Xiomara Iraheta
Believe it or not a huge percentage of pet owners are allergic to their very own pets. But what causes human discomfort in the form of inflammation of the nose, asthma attacks, rashes and wheezing isn’t the fault of the innocent dog. The problem is in the dog’s dead and flaky skin that travels around and clings to everything. Several facts are crucial to understanding how to manage and care for your dog when your allergies become unbearable.
Identify the culprit – Whether your dog has long or short hair, your cute friend is not to blame, although it is true that certain breeds with non-shedding coats produce less dander. In comparison to cats, dogs scratch a lot more and therefore continuously shed airborne particles that you in return absorb. Interestingly, your upbringing may have something to do with why you’re so allergic today. Some studies show that children who grow up in a household with pets are less likely to develop pet allergies in adulthood.
Clean Up – You should be washing your hands constantly after petting or playing with your dogs. Washing your face and arms will get rid of the allergens that you may easily spread to your nose or mouth after having contact with your pet. Your home should be cleaned more often as well. Dusting and vacuuming regularly will prevent dander from hanging around.
Wash and Groom- Washing your dog weekly and grooming daily, preferably outdoors will help keep your dog’s skin healthy. A product with colloidal oatmeal like Fur Butter (or Fur Worse) will repair their damaged skin and keep it moisturized. For other grooming products that are sure to address your dog’s allergies check out this helpful page on dry and itchy skin .
Keep Away- We’re not suggesting that you get rid of your dog, but there are certain areas of your home like your bedroom you may want to keep dog-free. Your mattress, bedding and pillows are comfy hosts for dander, so try your best to keep your dog out. But, if you still want Fido in your bed there are still a couple of things you can do to minimize the effects of dander like using a high efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) to keep the air in your bedroom as clean as possible. Certain fabrics like wool attract more dander than cotton, so think about it when choosing your clothes and bedding.
Food – A well balanced diet is important to keeping dander away. Some helpful supplements in your dog’s diet according to Dr. Pitcairn’s guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats include: “cod liver oil, cold-pressed unsaturated vegetable oil (or oil derived from fish, especially for cats) and vitamin E (or wheat-germ capsules).”
In the future – when you’re thinking of getting a dog you may want to consider a particular breed that the American Kennel Association suggests for allergy sufferers. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog but there are some suggested breeds.
The main thing to remember when dealing with pet dander is that it gets on everything and stays for at least six months even after you may have moved your dog elsewhere. Therefore, anything you can do to keep your dog and home clean will help reduce your allergies. If you think your dog has a serious case of dander then please visit your vet.