Dog dander allergy – A comprehensive Guide


The dog dander allergy is an allergic action commonly found in dog owners due to the dead dog skin flakes. Some dog owners can experience dog dander allergies when they bring a new dog home. However, fortunately, in most cases, people have no allergic reaction to dog dander at all. Common signs of dog dander allergy include sneezing and runny nose, which are easily treatable. In rare cases, pet owners can face difficulty in breathing or asthma. 

How Does One Get Dog Dander Allergy?

If you are scared to adopt a long-haired dog because of a dog dander allergy, don’t be. The root cause of the allergic reaction is not the dog coat here. Dog fur is hard to clean during shedding seasons, but it won’t give you allergies. In most cases, it is not even the dead skin (dander) of your pet that can cause allergic reactions. 

Studies show that the actual reason behind dog allergies is the protein found in their dead skin flakes. Some people have sensitive immune systems. Therefore, when they accidentally inhale dog dander, their body starts to attack it, thinking it’s a virus. The results are side-effects like watery eyes or sneezing.

Causes of Excessive Dog Dander, and Why It Leads To Dog Dander Allergy

15 to 30% of all Americans are affected by dog allergy, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Despite being common, it is not unmanageable. You can control a pet dander issue once you discover the reason behind it. Here is some reason for unnecessary dander build-up on your pet.

  • Poor diet

What you feed your pet has a massive impact on your pet’s health. Without a balanced diet, maintaining healthy skin and shiny, silky fur is impossible. 

If your dog’s diet is not nutritionally balanced, the skin and coat quality diminish. Dull hair coats, dog dander, and hair loss are typical in dogs with a bad diet. So, find high-quality food to help your dog become healthy. A healthy dog means less dog dander. Result? No risk of dog dander allergy.

  • Underlying skin conditions 

Too much pet dander can also mean something more serious, like external parasite infestation. Fleas and mites can make your dogs itchy and damage their skin. External parasites like ticks cause flaky skin. Therefore, you can try flea and tick prevention collars to avoid skin issues entirely.

  • Grooming issues 

Some dog breeds like poodles need regular grooming. Without regular care, the coat of this breed often gets matted, and dander build-up becomes inevitable. To control flaky, dry skin, therefore, grooming is essential.

Fortunately, dog dander allergy is often not a serious condition and subsides with anti-allergic medicines. However, there are various things that you can do to protect yourself from pet dander allergies. 

  • Keep your home clutter-free

As simple as it sounds, keeping your house free of extra furniture and stuff will keep you dander-free. To efficiently avoid chances of dog dander allergy, try to keep fewer items in your home. By only keeping minimum things, you can clean and get rid of dog dander surely.  

  • Take medicine if needed

If you suffer from dog allergies, it is best to take your medicines beforehand. People who are going to be in contact with a dog can take medicine ahead of time. This preventative measure will help avoid allergic reactions later.

  • Keep distance from guests who own dogs 

Dog dander allergy can also happen from dead skin flakes clinging to clothing. So, if your guests who have dogs come to your house, they can bring dog dander with them. A simple solution here is to clean your home when your guests leave. 

  • Regular vacuum cleaning can help

If you have a dog in your home, cleaning rugs and furniture is the best option. If you sweep and mop the floors regularly, the possibility of dog allergies will lessen. The thing is, keeping your home clean is best for your pet’s health as well. If your pet is shedding too much, cleaning carpet and drapes will save your dog from allergies as well.  

  • Groom your dog outdoors

If you brush your dog inside your room, the dog dander will stay inside your room. Therefore, always take your dog out for a brushing session. Now, brushing outside will keep your house dander-free. 

  • Don’t let your dog in your bedroom

If you are experiencing a dog dander allergy, it is best to keep your pet out of your bedroom. Keeping your bedroom dog dander-free as much as possible is vital. A locked bedroom door won’t seal out the allergens, but it will help. Depending on your current state, you can keep your dog outside or in other rooms as much as possible.

Natural Remedies If You are Experiencing Dog Dander Allergy Symptoms 

You can buy OTC saline sprays and nasal lavage kits from the market to control nasal congestion. Saltwater is effective in clearing allergens from nasal passages. Make a mixture of 1/8 teaspoon of salt with distilled water if you don’t get saline sprays.

  • Don’t touch your pet all the time

Dogs love attention. Therefore, if you have dogs, you won’t be able to stop showering kisses to them. However, if you have dog dander allergy symptoms, it’s best to stay away from your pet until the symptoms are gone. 

  • Wash dog toys every other day 

If your dog is playing with his favorite toy all day long, chances are dog dander will be there. So always make sure that you keep those toys clean. Plus, you must wash your hands when you pick up those toys or play with your dog. Once you do this, there is a good chance that you will not be affected by the dog dander easily.

  • Use an anti-dander spray to reduce the risk 

You can get dog dander denaturing agents in spray and powder form today. These sprays are helpful and easy to use. You can buy tannic-acid-based products to deal with dog dander. 

Products with alkaline substances or enzymes can break down the problem causing proteins too. Remember to vacuum before spraying. In this case, if you are using the anti-allergen spray for the first time, test for colorfastness as Tannic acid-based sprays can cause staining.

How Dog Dander Spreads and Causes Allergic Reactions

Tiny bits of the dead skin particles of the dogs are barely visible. These dog dander are very lightweight and can travel through the air. Besides, dog dander is sticky and easily gets attached to absolutely everything. The light mass makes it airborne.

Therefore, dog dander will stick to the first surface it hits and remains there. After resting on a surface for a while, it can become airborne again. Now, this increases the chances of dog dander allergy. The dog dander settles on something until it gets knocked loose again.

Therefore, if you have dogs in your house, dog dander can be anywhere if you don’t clean your home religiously. 

Common symptoms of Dog dander allergy 

If you don’t know when to talk to your doctor about your allergy or treatment options, don’t worry! Here are some symptoms of the allergy:

  • Sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose
  • Rash or hives on the chest, neck, or face
  • Itching nose, red or watery eyes
  • Itchy throat and roof of the mouth 
  • Postnasal drip and cough 
  • Facial pressure and swollen under eyes
  • Disturbed sleep patterns and tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing sound when exhaling

More severe symptoms may include,

  • Asthma
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Discomfort caused by shortness of breath & coughing 

Can Medicine For Dog Dander Allergy Help? 

A recent survey shows 33% of people get allergies from pets. Medications and treatments for dog dander allergies or other pet allergies are available on the market. These medicines can manage allergies. However, one should only take them with the advice of a doctor.

  • Antihistamines – To relieve dog dander allergy symptoms, one can take over-the-counter (OTC) medications like Benadryl. Other medicines like Claritin and Allegra can help relieve sneezing and runny nose too.
  • Nasal corticosteroids – Medicines like Flonase and Nasonex can reduce inflammation and control dog allergy symptoms.
  • Cromolyn sodium – This OTC nasal spray is effective in lessening symptoms. 
  • Decongestants – This medication shrinks swollen tissues in the nasal passage to help you breathe. Plus, this medication is available in both spray and oral form. 
  • Allergy shots – An allergist can give allergy shots if you are experiencing severe symptoms. In critical cases for dog dander allergy treatment, doctors suggest these allergy shots. 
  • Leukotriene modifiers – These medications are only recommended if one can’t tolerate nasal corticosteroids. Remember to talk to a doctor before taking these OTC medicines.

When To Test Dog Dander Allergy?

Dog dander allergy is common as many people have allergic reactions to pet dander. However, all of your pets may not be the reason behind your allergic symptoms. An allergy test, in vitro allergen test, shows you whether you’re allergic to a male or female dog.

The dog dander allergy test counts the amount of allergen-specific IgE antibodies in one’s blood. The measurement of IgE antibodies detects the possibility of allergy to dog dander or hair. However, a high level of total IgE does not indicate the exact reason for the allergic reaction. 

How the Dog Dander Allergy Test Works

It is not easy to know if you are allergic to all animals or just your pet without a dog dander allergy test. To find out if your pet dog is triggering your allergy attack or not, tests are crucial. 

The procedure of these tests is simple. A skin-prick test can diagnose a dog allergy. For this test, an extract of dog allergen is placed on your skin, which is then pricked with a sterile probe. This allows the liquid to seep under your skin’s surface. Swelling, itching, and redness are signs of an allergy. You can find the results within 15 to 20 minutes.

Your Dog Can Get a Dander Allergy Too!

Yes! Unfortunately, dander or dead skin flakes of other animals or humans can cause dander allergies in dogs. 

Signs of dander allergies in pet dogs

Dog Dander allergy symptoms may vary in dogs:

  • Bald spots over the skin from too much scratching
  • Sudden diarrhea
  • Excessive licking of paws
  • Moist skin and hives
  • Runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing 
  • Scratching ( ears, paws, eyes, muzzle, underarms)
  • Snoring because of an inflamed throat

 Tips That Will Keep Your Dog Dander-free and Allergy-free

You will never have a dog dander allergy if you follow these three steps. 

1. Regular dog maintenance

  • Keep your dog’s diet in check

You will be surprised to know that even dogs have food sensitivity, itching, and allergies. If you feed them food they are allergic to, it can cause an itching problem. Sadly, when your dog is itchy, dry skin flakes or dander can occur. 

So if you notice your dog is constantly scratching or licking paws, ask a vet to see if their diet is the problem. Pet dogs that eat food they are allergic to for a long time can get flaky skin, red bumps, etc. Even seasonal change can affect their skin. A poor diet can cause excessive dog dander and make them prone to various skin problems. 

You will be surprised to know that even some dog food brands may not suit your dog. Dry dog food often has unhealthy filler ingredients and is bad for dogs. Therefore, try to check the ingredient list before choosing a dog food. Try out homemade dog food with healthy ingredients and reduce dog dander allergy issues. 

  • Bathing your dog is necessary

If your dog is constantly scratching and having dry skin problems, don’t forget to bathe him. Washing your dog weekly in plain water will reduce allergic reactions by rinsing away the dander. However, don’t bathe them too often. If you do so, it can remove the healthy oils causing their skin to dry out more and produce more dander. 

Homemade oatmeal shampoo is best to keep their skin clean and get rid of dog dander. You can also find a dog shampoo designed to lessen pet dander. Remember to use lukewarm water while bathing your dog; using hot water will only dry your dog’s skin more and increase dander.

  • Brushing keeps your pet clean and your home dander less

Dogs shed more in some seasons. So, when they do, it is crucial to comb your pet dog thoroughly to get rid of hair. If you don’t do it, the chunks of fur get stuck to each other. It leads to mats and tangles in their coats, and dogs get skin problems fast. If you brush your dog daily, the flaky skin can loosen and decrease dog dander. Therefore, keep a daily brushing schedule to avoid dead skin from building up.

  • Medicine and supplements

The good news is, there are supplements to help reduce dog dander build-up. Did you know that the lack of fatty acids in a diet causes dry skin in dogs? Yes, without enough fatty acids in their diets, your dogs can get dry skin leading to dog dander. Therefore, you can add omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids to their diet. Foods like fish or coconut oil can help make your dog’s skin healthier. 

It will take time to see significant changes, so you have to be patient. Giving your dogs a supplement for a few months will drastically change their skin. The better their skin gets, the more the chances of getting dog dander or dead skin will decrease. So, you won’t have to worry about dog dander allergies anymore.

  • Keep their coats short

When you need to trim your dog’s coat depends on its breed. If your dog has double coats of fur, you must not cut the protective outer layer completely. Always remember, the dog coat is there to protect them from cold or hot climates. Therefore, only trim the dog coat a little and brush. 

However, if your dog suffers from dander issues, you can shave them to reduce the dander problem. The best option is to keep their hair short to get rid of the dander issue. If your dog already has short hair or fur, you can get a damp cloth to wipe them down between baths. By doing this, you can keep the dog dander in check.

2. Health options you must consider

  • Do not self-diagnose

If you are suffering from allergies, it’s crucial to get a medical diagnosis. Never assume it’s your pet causing allergies.

  • Keep yourself clean

To curb the chances of dog dander allergy, wash your hands, change clothes after a cuddle with your pet. Plus, you can wear an old shirt and change it after you spend time with your dog. By doing so, you can get rid of the dander rather than carrying it with you.

  • Build immunity 

Having a healthy diet with lots of citrus fruits to boost vitamin C is vital for immunity. If you follow a healthy diet and stay fit, you can triumph over dog dander allergies quickly.

  • Let anyone else handle your dog

If you are already experiencing a dog dander allergy, it is best to stay away from your dog. Do this for a while until your symptoms get better. In the meantime, you can ask your family or friends to take care of your dog. 

3. Environmental fixes for dander-free space

To create a pet dander-free zone:

  1. Make some parts of your home off-limits to the pet.
  2. Give special attention to allergen reservoirs like pet beds while removing dog dander.
  3. Wear a mask to avoid breathing in the dust or dander stirred up by the vacuum.

HEPA filter air cleaners added to your AC can help lessen allergens from the air too. You can also use Air cleaners with an electrostatic filter to remove allergens from the air.

Natural ingredients to heal dogs skin and lessen dog dander allergy issue 

  • Olive oil and cider

A magical weapon that can help you in fighting against dog dander issues is Olive oil. You can mix water, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil to treat dry skin in dogs. It is best to add 3-4 spoons of olive oil with 60% water and 40% Apple cider vinegar to make a spray. Spraying your dog’s coat will help reduce dander and improve the skin of your dog.  

Always make sure to wait for an hour once you have applied the solution to his coat. Then wash your dog with anti-dandruff shampoo for best results. The apple cider vinegar reduces fungal growth and helps in stimulating the shedding of dead skin cells in dogs.

  • Baking soda against fungi

Baking soda has antifungal properties and is best for reducing dandruff in dogs. Mix baking soda with water, and then sprinkle your dog’s fur. Now, comb it with a brush to remove dead flakes. Finally, wash your dog’s hair with shampoo. You will see a big difference in your dog’s coat and skin if you continue this treatment.

  • Tea tree oil

Tea Tree oil is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent to fight yeast, dandruff, and other fungus, pimples, and seborrheic dermatitis, in dogs.

  • Aloe vera

For treating your dog’s flaky skin followed by dandruff, use Aloe Vera juice. Aloe Vera gel will prevent your dog from scratching the skin and reduce excessive dander problems.

Can You Find a Dander Allergy-free Dog?

There are many dog breeds in the world, and every dog breed is different. Therefore, there are various myths and facts about them. Some dog breeds, like poodles, types of terriers, Portuguese water dogs, are considered hypoallergenic. However, there is no such study to prove that. The fact is, an allergy-free breed does not exist. Therefore, the only way to be a dog dander allergy-free is by keeping your home and dog clean. 

Today 95% of dog owners treat pets like family members and wouldn’t want to leave them because of an allergy. So, get to know all about dogs at to keep your dog and yourself healthy and free from Dander allergies.

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