You Might Be Allergic To Dogs If This Happens To You

According to the American Kennel Club, owning a dog can offer some of the most amazing health benefits including decreasing stress levels, combatting loneliness, and encouraging exercise. As cute and cuddly as puppies can be, though, for those who are allergic, they can produce unwanted symptoms. 

An estimated three in 10 people have allergic reactions to dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). People living with dog allergies have over-sensitive immune systems and can react to the allergens from the dog's saliva and dander (dead skin cells).

According to Healthline, you may have a dog allergy if, when exposed, you develop a rash, itchy or watery eyes, a cough, or a runny nose. You may even experience facial pain from inflamed sinuses. If your skin becomes red, blotchy, or itchy after being licked by a dog, a dog allergy may be present. Children with dog allergies tend to also develop eczema, a painful and itchy skin condition. More serious allergy symptoms, especially with those who live with asthma, include difficulty breathing, wheezing, excessive coughing, and chest tightness (via Mayo Clinic)

Managing dog allergies

Dogs are treasured companions, so much so that sometimes, even allergies can't stand in between a dog lover and man's best friend. For some, simply turning to medications is enough to ease the symptoms and enjoy life with Fido. Some people choose daily medications such as OTC antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, and decongestants, while others with more severe symptoms go for rounds of immunotherapy (allergy shots). There are also lifestyle changes that can be made to minimize pet dander, such as using an air purifier with a HEPA filter, designating dog-free rooms, and replacing carpets with hard flooring.

There are some dog lovers that choose their pups based on the type of hair or fur they have, and some of these dogs have even been labeled "hypoallergenic." However, according to the AAFA, these dogs that some allergy sufferers swear by do not actually exist, rather, some breeds simply produce less dander, causing a minimized reaction. Interestingly, dog allergens between breeds differ, so people with allergies may react individually to each breed (via VeryWell Health).  

The only true way to stay 100 percent allergy symptom-free is by removing the dog from your home, or avoiding dogs completely, and as anyone who has a dog knows, those are not always feasible options.