Have you noticed your dog is lethargic or just not acting normally lately? He could be suffering from a dust allergy.
Like humans, dogs can have allergic reactions to dust at home. Dust mites cause this, but we’ll get into that.
Let’s explore how dust allergies present, what causes them, and what you can do to help your dog beat them.
Dust allergy symptoms
There are many ways to tell if your dog may have a dust allergy. If you notice your dog doing any of the following, dust could be the cause:
- Licking more than usual
- Excessive scratching
- Breathing difficulties
- Watery eyes
- Digestive issues such as vomiting or diarrhea
If left untreated, these symptoms will worsen and lead to other health problems. Like equestrians need to do horse arena dust control to make the ring safe for horses, dog owners should ensure the home is clear of dust. We’ll tell you how.
The real cause of dust allergies
Dust allergies are not caused by dust itself but by a protein in the by-products and dead bodies of dust mites. They’re unavoidable. The microscopic creatures are in most homes, feeding on dead skin cells. They do well in warm, moist conditions, so they’re usually found in bedding, sofas, and carpets.
Dust mites aren’t typically harmful, but some people and pets react to them. You’ll notice quickly if your dog is susceptible. Dogs show allergy symptoms between six months and two years old. Allergies can affect most breeds, though research shows dogs may inherit allergies from their parents.
Getting a diagnosis
A dust allergy can be tricky to diagnose in people and even more so in dogs. It can look like many other conditions, such as food intolerances or skin parasites. So, it’s crucial to visit the vet before embarking on a treatment program.
Your veterinarian will examine your pet and ask you questions. They’ll ask things like:
- When did you notice symptoms?
- Do they seem seasonal?
- Where and when do they occur?
- When are symptoms worse or better?
- Does your dog have any other allergies?
The vet may do a serum test via a blood sample to check for allergic reactions. They may also recommend an intradermal test to check for up 75 allergens. It’s more pricey but highly accurate.
If your vet diagnoses a dust mite allergy, he will recommend a pet treatment program. Treatments commonly include:
- Topical options such as cortisone
Hyposensitization therapy (an allergy vaccine) may help control dust mite allergy symptoms.
You’ll likely also need to treat skin damage caused by irritation. The vet may recommend hypoallergenic dog shampoo and other topical treatments.
Ways to relieve allergies
One of the best ways to help your pet is to minimize contact with the allergen. It’s impossible to get rid of all dust mites in your home, but there are a few things you can do to reduce them.
- Minimize carpets and go for tile, vinyl, or wood floors. If you have carpets, make sure they’re steam cleaned often.
- Vacuum and clean, especially the floors, at least once a week, if not daily. Use a vacuum with a quality filter to clean dust mite body parts effectively.
- Use synthetic or anti-allergy materials for your pet’s bedding, and air it out and wash it in hot water often. Leaving the bedding out in the sun is highly effective for killing dust mites.
- Bathe your dog weekly to keep allergens from getting down to his skin.
The bottom line on handling a dust allergy
If your dog is prone to allergies, it’s essential to control the dust — or dust mite by-products. By doing so, you will reduce your dog’s risk of experiencing allergies and the need for expensive medications that may be bad for your dog long term.