What to do About Long Haired Dog Allergies

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What to do About Long Haired Dog Allergies

As the popularity of designer dogs and mixed breeds with longer, curlier coats rises, so can instances of dog allergies. Though its common to believe that you dog’s silky coat is the number one cause of your runny nose, there’s actually much more to the story than the length of your dog’s hair.

Some pet owners are lead to believe that the length of their pup’s hair directly impacts how much they will or won’t sneeze, but the most significant factor here is dander—dead skin cells on the surface of your pet’s coat. According to PetMD, all warm-blooded animals produce dander (even birds) so dog allergies can still develop you have a short-coated pet.

What long-haired dogs can do, however, is collect more dander than their companions. They’re also able to sweep up more airborne allergens including pollen, dust and mold spores when out for a walk or rolling around in your yard, according to Discovery Health. Unfortunately, there’s no exact science to which dogs produce the most dander, as the amount varies greatly between breeds.

If you’ve been hit with a bad case of allergies and you think your long-coated pup may be the cause, there are a few things you can do to ease your discomfort.

Taking Care of Your Allergies

First and foremost, visit a doctor for an allergy test to determine if your dog is the only factor causing your itchy eyes and watery nose. You may also be susceptible to seasonal, dust and mold allergies that can all be treated with an over the counter or prescription allergy medication.

Antihistamines, which block the effects of a chemical that triggers dog allergy symptoms, are available over the counter as oral medications or nasal sprays, and include Allegra, Claritin, Benadryl and Zyrtec according to WebMD.

Decongestants, which reduce the swelling in the nose and relieve congestion, are generally sold over the counter and include Sudafed and Allegra-D. Allergy shots are another option to help relieve the symptoms of dog allergies and should be discussed with your doctor, according to WebMD.

The level of allergens and dander in your home is also relative to the amount of time your dog spends outdoors, according to PetMD. If you’re able to let it spend time in a fenced-in yard or take it for a few longer walks a week you could help reduce the amount of dander present indoors.

Cleaning up Your Environment

Having HEPA (high efficiency) air filters can help significantly reduce the amount of dander and impurities in your home. If you have carpeting, invest in vacuums with HEPA filters to help keep dander from settling on your floors, according to PetMD. Getting rid of cloth drapes, unnecessary carpeting and old furniture will also help keep allergens out, as will wiping down all surfaces and cleaning your space regularly.

Keeping your long haired-dog well-groomed and bathed regularly can reduce the amount of allergens they carry and will help keep dead skin and hair off their coats. WebMD also suggests keeping your bedroom dog-free to cut back the amount of dander in your bed and to provide you with a space to go when your dog allergies are particularly aggressive. As nice as snuggling with your pup before bed can be, sleeping with a closed door policy can help your health and keep your relationship with your pet happy and loving.

Article source: PetMD

Article source: Discovery Health

Article source: WebMD

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bee wolf ray