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 Dog Allergies
  While a lot of people are allergic to pet dander, quite often this is not the main hazard responsible for health complaints and allergies. Often when people complain that their “house is killing them”, they have had their pets for a years and felt good in the past. There are some studies that show that having pets in the home when a child is young actually reduces the chances of them developing allergies later in life.  
  A lot of homes that have dogs are extremely dusty. Pets make a contribution by bringing in dust. The fine size of the dust particles may be more the irritant and allergy trigger than the pet allergens. Allergies are a complex ailment. Research suggests that there may be multiple factors involved in the trigger of an allergy or asthma attack. Mold and tobacco smoke, for example, have been found to work in synergy to trigger allergies where the presence of mold or smoke alone did not.  
  Dog Allergens  
  It is estimated that dogs are in over 40% of American homes. Dogs are the most common pet in U.S. homes. While it may be of no consolation to those who are allergic to dogs, research suggests that fewer people have dog allergies than have cat allergies. This may be due to the fact that more cats are kept indoors and dogs are washed more frequently. In one study dog allergies occurred in 17% of the population tested.  

Myths about Dog Allergens

  There is no truth to the myth that dogs that do not shed or have short hair do not cause allergies. There are multiple types of dog allergens and the amount generated differs by breed. Dogs produce at least 28 different allergens. One major allergen has been identified that most people with dog allergies react to. Like cat allergen, dog allergen is found in the minute scales of dead skin that dogs are constantly shedding and the dog’s saliva and urine. It is not automatically present on their fur. It is deposited on the dog’s fur when they lick themselves. When their fur dries, the allergen particles flake off and become airborne. These small allergen particles can stay suspended in the air for days to weeks.  
  Tips for Reducing Pet Allergies  
  • Avoid carpeting in areas where pets are allowed indoors. Hard surfaces are easier to keep clean.
  • Keep pets out of the bedrooms.
  • Brush your pet regularly, outside.
  • Wash your pet.
  • Wash your hands after petting.
  • Use a HEPA room air purifier in the bedroom.
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Revised: July 05, 2017.

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