Dog saliva allergies are a result of a reaction in your immune system. Humans can be sensitive to a wide spectrum of things — dog licks being one of them.
Experts in the US estimate that up to 20 percent of the population are allergic to dogs and cats. This means that dog saliva could be the offending allergen for many of these people.
Each dog breed has their own protein profile, which is found in their saliva, dander, and urine. Most of us are aware — and automatically assume — that dog allergies are caused because of shedding/dander.
However, experts have discovered saliva has more allergenic proteins than dander. So, potentially a canine kiss could be more likely to blame
Admittedly, it goes beyond your dog licking you. While drool coming into contact with your skin can be a trigger — saliva can end up almost anywhere.
When a dog grooms themselves, they transfer saliva to their coat. Subsequently, it can hitch a ride on dead hair, in the same way as dander. Plus, dry saliva particles can circulate in the atmosphere, like dust. Hence, if you breathe in these minute particles, they can induce allergy symptoms.
For many pet parents, having your dog greet you with a big slobbery kiss is nothing to fear. However, for those with dog drool sensitivities, it’s a different story. If you have an allergy to dog licks, you could experience any of the following:
- Itchy skin.
- Skin reaction.
- Chest tightness.
- Nasal congestion.
The speed at which symptoms manifest depends on the severity of the reaction. In that, serious allergies develop more rapidly than someone with mild allergies.
If, following contact with a canine, you find these symptoms keep recurring, it’s worthwhile getting it checked out with an allergist.
There are two ways dog saliva allergies can be tested — either with an allergist or at home with a test sample.
The allergen test is straightforward to undertake.
Your allergist will use a skin prick test for diagnosis, and to establish — or rule out — whether you have a dog saliva allergy. To carry out this test, the allergist will do the following:
- Place a little bit of dog protein onto your skin.
- Then, they’ll prick your skin to let the drops absorb into your body.
If you have an allergy to the proteins found in dog saliva, you’ll most likely experience a reaction between fifteen and twenty minutes. The allergist, however, may conclude that you’re allergic to something other than dog saliva, such as pollen.
At-Home Allergy Testing
Testing for allergies at home is a simple process — if you know what to do. Depending on what type of test you get, the price can vary between $20 and $100.
While each DIY kit has its specific directions to follow, most generally require a simple finger prick test of your blood. You place your sample on the designated collection material provided and then mail it off to the specified laboratory.
The lab will analyze your blood for sensitivities to various allergens, such as saliva, dander, and so forth. Once this step is completed, you should receive a report with a detailed rundown of any allergies — if you have any. Then you will find out if you’re allergic to dog saliva.
Allergic to dog saliva treatments can also fall into two categories — home remedies and conventional treatments:
Medical Help for Allergies
As for conventional treatments for your allergic reaction to dog saliva — many are over-the-counter solutions, making them easy and accessible for you.
These can be bought online or over the counter from your local pharmacy — either as tablets or syrup for children. Nasal sprays are usually offered via prescription. This form of medication will reduce the production of histamine, which is what causes your allergy symptoms — thus providing short-term relief.
This is a type of treatment an allergist may recommend if they believe your allergies are severe. And, it’s a long process — it could take up to three years. Allergy shots help build up a tolerance to the allergen step by step to lower your body’s immune response.
This is also a brilliant idea if you’re on the hunt for short-term relief from your dog saliva allergies. Another over-the-counter med, it reduces inflammation in the nasal passage — caused by your body’s immune response, thus lowering congestion.
Studies suggest plants containing rosmarinic acid can improve allergy to dog saliva symptoms. These include herbs like:
- Lemon balm.
Saline Sinus Rinse
Using this rinse can also benefit your symptoms. All you have to do is mix together:
- Three teaspoons of salt.
- Eight ounces of warm water.
- One teaspoon of baking soda.
You can either use a sinus rinsing device or an ear dropper to flush out your nostrils with this solution.
A few lifestyle changes could help your dog saliva allergy symptoms, including:
Washing Your Hands Thoroughly
After contact with any dog, wash your hands to ensure that no dog saliva or dander transfers into your eyes, mouth, or nose. Use soap and hot water to kill any bacteria or protein that could irritate your allergies. This will help somewhat in minimizing your dog saliva allergies.
A vacuum sucks up bacteria on the floor or from various pieces of furniture. But certain types can trap airborne organisms that could potentially aggravate your allergies.
Pet-friendly vacuums, such as those that come with Hepa filters, prevent allergens from escaping and returning into your environment. These household appliances could make your allergies less apparent as well as make your home more allergy friendly.
Wipe Down High-Touch Surfaces
Yes, we know that this is seen as a dreaded task. However, if you suffer from a rash, itchy skin, or hives from dog saliva, wiping down those high-touch surfaces is a wise idea. For example, door handles, countertops, stair rails, and other high-traffic areas.
This practical solution will help reduce your dog saliva allergy symptoms to an extent, making it more manageable for you to live with your furry friend.
There aren’t any dogs with hypoallergenic saliva — but there is good news.
Studies suggest that the chemical makeup of dog saliva varies between breeds and even dogs of the same breed. So, if you find you’re allergic to a kiss from, for example, the Portuguese Water Dog, it doesn’t mean the same might happen with the Toy Poodle, or even another Portie.
However, if you’ve found yourself to be allergic to dog dander, there are plenty of hypoallergenic alternatives you can turn to. For example, the Bichon Frise, Standard Schnauzer, and many more.
Dog saliva could still cause an allergic reaction, even if your dog is deemed allergy-friendly, as no breed is 100% hypoallergenic.
Some dogs, like the Boxer or St Bernard, are renowned for drooling, whereas others, like the Samoyed, don’t slobber at all. But, all dogs produce saliva, which contains potentially allergic-reaction proteins.
If you think a kiss from your canine is causing you problems, you can get tested by your healthcare provider or via a DIY kit. What’s more, there are even steps you can take to reduce the chance of a flare-up.
Unfortunately, no dog is ever 100% hypoallergenic. However, as the protein profiles of each breed differ, if you have dog saliva allergies, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a pet parent.
Can You Outgrow Allergy to Dog’s Saliva?
Most people don’t. But it’s not out of the question. However, if you’re exposed frequently to dogs, and have a dog saliva allergy, you may find your condition worsens. Increasing exposure doesn’t necessarily mean that your immunity will increase.
Why Have I Suddenly Developed Allergies to My Dog?
They can occur at any time in your lifetime. As you grow older, so does your immune system. Hence, it can react worse to old or new substances — including our furry friends. So, you may find yourself suddenly allergic to dog saliva.
What Are the Best Antihistamines for Dog Allergies?
Antihistamines provide short-term relief for your dog saliva allergies. The most popular contain:
However, take into consideration any pre-existing medical conditions you may have or other medications you’re taking.
What Will Get Rid of My Allergies Fast?
Over-the-counter meds, like antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants will offer you short-term relief from allergies.
Can You Be Allergic to Dog Saliva But Not Dander?
Yes. The profiles of the allergen-causing proteins for dander and saliva are different. This means if you’re allergic to one, you may not necessarily be allergic to both.