Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Allergic to Dogs Prevention | Communication, Boundaries and Other Considerations

Good Communication – Let People Know About Your Condition

Good communication is an important aspect concerning allergic to dogs prevention. Be sure to let friends and family know that you suffer from an allergy to dogs; most people will be interested to learn more about the condition, so be willing to share your knowledge and educate them about it. Moreover, if a child is affected, it is important to inform their nursery or school. In particular, anyone who suffers from a severe reaction (usually related to food, medicinal or sting allergies but in rare cases, also to dogs) will usually need to carry an epinephrine autoinjector (e.g. EpiPen). If this is the case, family, friends and work colleagues must be informed so that they are aware should the allergy sufferer be taken unwell.

Dog owners will not get rid of their dogs just for you but they may take proactive steps to make their home a safer and more comfortable place for when you visit. This may involve dusting or vacuuming the day before you come over in order to minimize the amount of dog allergens that are stirred up and made airborne. Also, before you arrive and for the duration of the visit, they should keep the dog in a separate area of the house or outside. If you are planning a sleep over, consider asking the dog owner to prevent their dog from entering the sleeping area for at least a couple of weeks prior to your stay. This will help reduce the volume of allergens to a satisfactory level for most people allergic to dogs.

Some people find taking an antihistamine medication an hour or so before such a visit beneficial. Furthermore, you could limit the amount of time you spend in such an environment or simply reduce the number of visits. Alternatively, meet up away from the house and have lunch at a cafe, go shopping, visit the theater or invite them over to your place….but minus their dog! However, remember that even without their dog being present, allergens are still being transported on their bodies and clothing. Fortunately, the vast majority of dog allergy sufferers only exhibit mild, albeit irritating symptoms. Therefore, finding a healthy balance between limiting exposure to allergens and leading as normal a lifestyle as possible is required.

Set Boundaries For The Dog

Allergic to Dogs Prevention - Setting Boundaries

  • One of the best ways to limit your dog allergy symptoms is to keep the dog out of your bedroom. In particular, never, ever allow a dog onto your bed, otherwise you will be lying and breathing in the allergens whilst you sleep. The bedroom is a room where most people spend approximately a third of their life, so preventing a dog from entering this area will minimize the number of irritating symptoms you display significantly. It will also enable you to have a better and more restful night’s sleep whilst maintaining a healthy dog-to-human hierarchy; humans should always have ‘top dog’ status, so don’t confuse the animal by allowing it to sleep with you. Depending on the ventilation and humidity levels around a property, some people find leaving their bedroom door closed with an HEPA air purifier running to be beneficial.
  • Another great tip involves not letting your dog or dogs climb onto your furniture, especially any upholstered furniture. This is particularly important if you like to lie down on your couch or rest in a reclining chair.  You do not want to have dog dander and hair in your face. However, if you do allow such a practice or cannot be certain the dog will refrain from such activity when you are not present, there are a number of cloth style covers that can be used which are a great alternative to unattractive plastic covers. With that in mind, and should you use cloth covers, be sure to wash them frequently or when too much dog hair accumulates. The degree of fastidiousness required will largely be determined by the severity of one’s condition.
  • If the dog has been properly crate trained, some people choose to crate their dog when they go out or during the night.
  • You can keep the dog outdoors or confine it to only one area of the home where you don’t spend significant periods of time. If you are unable to do so or you choose not to, you may need to consider finding the dog a new home if the allergy response is significant. Although this may seem drastic, it may be the only sensible route for both parties in the long run.

Other Considerations

  • Given that air pollution is known to exacerbate the symptoms of many people who suffer from respiratory or allergy conditions, such individuals should avoid the smoke from cigarettes or fireplaces. Therefore, don’t allow people to smoke inside the house and avoid wood burners or using internal fireplaces. Millett et al. 2013 study showed a 12.3% fall in hospital admissions for childhood asthma in the first year following England’s 2007 ban on smoking in enclosed public places. This result reversed immediately a 2.2% a year increasing trend for such admissions. A similar pattern was observed in Scotland and North America when smoke-free legislation was introduced.
  • An allergy sufferer may in fact suffer from a number of allergies (concurrent allergies) that compound the problem and can make life seem miserable. Therefore, even though one cannot avoid all risks, it pays to take a little extra care on those occasions where exposure is likely. For example:
    • If you have dust or pollen allergy and need to clean a dusty room or sweep the yard, consider wearing a mask. During high pollen season, make sure the air conditioner in the home or car has an appropriate pollen filter in place. Also, if you like to exercise, pollen counts tend to be less in the evening.
    • Damp increases the likelihood of mold and mold is a common allergen. Therefore, try to keep the humidity inside a property at a healthy level (30-60% is acceptable but 40-50% preferable) by not leaving damp clothes in the washer or drying wet clothes on radiators. Also, open windows where possible (even for just a few minutes in the winter can help) and consider using a dehumidifier. Opinions on cleaning mold contaminated surfaces differ; some people recommend just using soap and water, others advocate household bleach diluted with water to a 10% strength, whilst some prefer to use a brand product. Remember though, mold problems are a moisture problem; correcting excess moisture is the primary step to preventing mold.
  • People allergic to dogs should be extra careful when renting an apartment or house because there is the possibility that the previous occupants had dogs. The allergens present in the environment can trigger allergic reactions and it can take at least 6 months, and in some cases more than a year, for the allergen level to be comparable to a pet-free home. The problem may persist in heavily contaminated properties because even with regular dusting, cleaning of surfaces and vacuuming of carpets:
    • Dander and airborne allergens can coat less accessible areas e.g. underside of furniture, air ducts, basements.
    • Animal secretions including urine and saliva can permeate fabrics, carpets and other materials deeply and this includes wooden flooring.

    If a person suspects an allergic reaction due to dog allergens, they can try to test it by staying away from home for more than a few weeks. A perfect opportunity for testing this may be when you go on your vacation, provided your holiday home has been a dog-free environment. If the symptoms still continue with similar frequency and severity, then dog allergens may not be the cause or the only cause of the problem.

  • Consider the gender of the dog you buy; a male dog will produce and disperse more allergens than either a neutered male or a female.

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