How Can I Tell If I'm Allergic to Dogs?

By Naomi Millburn

If you're allergic to dogs, you might cough or sneeze every time you're near one of them. There's no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog. All canines shed varying amounts of allergens, however. You could sneeze up a storm around one pooch only to be much better around another.

Possible Symptoms

Pet allergy symptoms include nasal discharge, itchy eyes, rashes, itchy skin, watery eyes, skin redness, waking up often during sleep, face pain, face pressure, itchy throats, sore throats, swelling of the skin below the eyes and bluish-tinged skin below the eyes. People with pet allergies sometimes even experience asthmatic symptoms -- think wheezing, shortness of breath, problems breathing, chest aches and chest tightness.

People sometimes confuse pet allergy signs with cold symptoms, says If your cold-like symptoms linger for longer than a week, pet allergies could be responsible.

Medical Advice and Attention

Some dog allergy symptoms require medical consultation. If you find yourself having difficulty sleeping, wheezing or suffering from extreme nasal congestion, alert your doctor to the situation.

Severe symptoms call for emergency medical assistance. If you experience rapidly worsening shortness of breath or wheezing, or difficulty breathing after minimal activity, seek urgent care.

Medical Diagnoses

A doctor can confirm whether you're allergic to dogs. Doctors often diagnose pet allergies by conducting allergy skin tests, nasal-lining examinations and blood tests. If you need an allergy skin test, your doctor might suggest you visit an allergist who is an expert in allergies. Doctors perform allergy skin tests by inserting small purified allergen quantities into patients' skin. Blood tests assess patients' blood for certain antibodies that trigger allergies.

Management Options

If you own a dog, you can try to make him less allergenic through routine grooming, air purifiers that are equipped with HEPA filters, weekly bathing, frequent dusting, regular vacuuming and keeping him out of your bedroom. Diet changes for your pet can also be helpful. You can talk to your veterinarian about giving your pet a fatty acid supplement and multivitamin that can promote optimal skin health.

Your doctor might suggest treatment options for you such as corticosteroids, antihistamines, immunotherapy, decongestants and nasal irrigation.