Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Allergic to Dogs Diagnosis

Determining Whether You Suffer From a Dog Allergy

The symptoms of a dog allergy can be similar to those caused by a variety of other allergies (e.g. to pollen), other animals or by a medical illness such as the common cold. These can all be associated with sneezing, nasal congestion, a runny nose or post nasal drip, red itchy eyes or difficulty breathing. For example, dust mites proliferate through consuming the dead skins cells and dander that dogs, cats and humans exfoliate; they represent a major source of inhalant allergens affecting an estimated 45-80% of individuals with allergic asthma (Takaiwa and Hiroi 2014).

Dog allergies diagnosis regarding whether a person does indeed suffer from an allergy to dogs involves either:

  • Self-Diagnosis – Trial and error and a process of elimination.
  • Clinical Diagnosis – Medical appraisal through undertaking allergy tests.


Self-diagnosis involves trial and error and a process of eliminating a variety of variables that may be associated with a person’s symptoms. Unless the allergy to dogs is very pronounced (e.g. the presence of a dog causes notable symptoms immediately which can be replicated time after time), this can prove very difficult in practice.

Aside from the myriad of possible allergy triggers, the situation is complicated further given that allergens are microscopic in nature and people can be allergic to a variety of things. Furthermore, as was noted in allergic to dogs causes, issues such as whether an allergy is dog specific (to dog allergens) or dog related (to allergens they transport e.g. pollen), concurrent allergies (suffers from more than one allergy), allergen dispersal factors, as well as symptom variability all add to the complexity.

Given that allergies are associated with the action of various inflammatory chemical mediators including histamine, over-the-counter medicines that contain antihistamines should help alleviate many allergy symptoms. Antihistamines can prove helpful for mild to moderate allergy responses, especially in combination with a decongestant.

Remember though, that allergies in general (not just dog allergies) respond to such treatments, therefore a reduction in symptoms when using antihistamines is not necessarily indicative that you are suffering specifically from a dog allergy. However, if through a process of elimination you begin to suspect that your symptoms are due to a dog allergy and both the points below apply, then you do most likely suffer from an allergy to dogs.

1 – The presence of a dog causes notable symptoms immediately which can be replicated time after time i.e. the dog is the source that triggers the symptoms. However, bear in mind the difference between dog specific, dog related and concurrent allergies.


2 – The symptoms respond to the use of antihistamines i.e. the symptoms are allergy related.

Home Allergy Testing Kits

The demand for home allergy testing kits has increased significantly in recent years and these tend to fall into 2 categories:

  • Kits that give you an actual result. For example, IgE home blood testing kits can be bought online or at certain pharmacists. These usually require the user to obtain a tiny amount of blood through using a disposable lancet to prick their finger. The droplet of blood is applied to the apparatus provided in the kit and a result can be obtained within an hour. Kits can test for overall IgE levels although there are some that claim to target specific allergies e.g. dog allergy kit (allergy to dogs), dust mite allergy kit.
  • Kits that require you to collect a sample that can then be posted to a laboratory for analysis. For example, you can buy salivary diagnostic system kits which require a sample of saliva and are popular for testing intolerance/sensitivities. Kits such as these usually contain all the equipment needed to collect the sample as well as the packaging materials required to send the sample to the laboratory. Test results are usually obtained by mail/e-mail within a few weeks.

Given the possible issues surrounding allergy tests, interpretation of their results and that in some cases, allergies can be life-threatening, the medical fraternities’ view is that these types of kit are not recommended.

Clinical Diagnosis

A more scientific and verifiable approach will require a Doctor, possibly in conjunction with an Immunologist (Allergist), reviewing your medical history and performing various tests to help diagnose the condition. Allergists are medically certified physicians who specialize in diseases of the immune system, asthma and allergies.

Tests can be:

  • General. Various types of allergens can be tested to show which categories of allergen a person is sensitive to e.g. mold, dust mites, pollen etc. Also, other conditions that produce allergy-like symptoms may need to be ruled out. Remember that a person may suffer from a variety of allergies (concurrent allergies), with each one contributing to their overall symptom profile. For example, a person might buy a dog and begin to feel that they sneeze more frequently at home. The natural reaction is to blame the problem on the dog. However, in reality their allergy to dogs might be very slight while their allergy to dust mite excretion could be the underlying problem. The dog allergy might only be the ‘tipping’ point. In such a case, finding a solution to their dust mite allergy would be preferable to overreacting and immediately selling the dog!
  • Specific. For example, an extract of dander from an individual dog can be tested, rather than using a generic sample to diagnose a general allergy to dogs.
Allergic to Dogs Diagnosis
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