The pet dog at home is an amazing source of providing cuddles and comfort to the tiny tots. However, babies are prone to have infections and allergies at home with dogs, as their immune system is not as strong as that of an adult. While some parents avoid having dogs at home in the first few years of their baby. It is a good idea to find out if your baby is allergic to dogs if you already have a dog at home. Read below to know about the dog allergy symptoms in babies, causes, and ways to prevent and treat them.
Is Dog Allergy Common in Babies?
Dog allergy and other pet allergies are common in babies. Every baby doesn’t necessarily get allergic to dogs; however, 10% to 20% of people in the world can get affected by dogs or other animal allergies. While no one is born with an allergy, these seem to develop with exposure. The allergy can develop at any age; however, the symptoms do not show up until two years of the baby’s life.
Recent studies suggest that exposing kids sooner to dogs or other pet animals can tend to reduce the risk of allergies in babies. However, unless there are valid research and evidence to prove these theories, being cautious will always help.
What Are the Causes of Dog Allergy in Infants?
A baby’s immunity system tends to grow and become stronger with age. Dog allergy is generally a reaction of the immunity system when an infant is exposed or comes in close contact with a dog’s fur, dander, urine, saliva, or faeces. The proteins discharged by either of these activate the allergic reaction. Dog allergies are acute and can show immediate response, signs, and symptoms. Below listed are the reasons for the cause of dog allergies:
- A common notion is that a dog’s fur causes dog allergies in babies. However, the fur by itself is not an allergen. The fur contains different proteins from the pet’s saliva and dander, leading to such allergies and reactions.
- Every breed of dog has a different type of allergy-causing possibility. As dogs play outside, the fur on their body gets exposed to common allergens like dust and pollen, which they bring with them when they come inside the house. Hairless dogs, too, can cause allergies in babies.
- Allergens that are settled on the top of different surfaces tend to stir up during dusting and vacuuming in the house. The allergens get suspended in the air and remain there with dust particles and air, causing the allergic symptoms to prevail for a longer time.
- Dog allergens can exist on the floor, walls, furniture, and other surfaces in the house. The allergens easily get placed on the surface of the bedsheet, mats, curtains, furniture upholstery, etc. These pose to be a long threat in causing allergy to the babies.
- Dog allergens can float in the air when a dog is caressed, petted, or groomed. Even if there are no pets, people can carry the allergens on their clothes and accessories from outside and bring them into the house.
- Air conditioners and other home ventilation systems often help to circulate allergens throughout the house. This happens even when you try to restrict your dog to a single room.
- Dog allergens can affect babies even in houses with no pets, especially if the parents have returned after petting dogs and the allergens have stuck to their clothing or if they have not washed up properly immediately after returning.
Signs and Symptoms
You may not know how to tell if your baby is allergic to dogs. Symptoms vary from mild to serious. Different dogs and the proteins discharged by them may have no or serious impact on your baby, making the potential for developing dog allergy symptoms in babies unexpectedly high. You need to be vigilant about the signs of dog allergy in babies:
1. Watery Eyes and Running Nose
The most common dog allergy in babies is watery eyes and a runny nose. When a baby has a runny nose without fever, it generally signifies a dog dander allergy. Histamine released into the baby’s bloodstream from dog dander will lead to mucus formation in the nose and drain out like a clear liquid.
2. Frequent Nose Wiping
Upward wiping of the nose is a sign of dog allergy. The mucous membrane tends to get irritated with fluids accumulating in the nasal passage.
Watch out for sneezes soon after your baby has played with your dog—Histamines cause to bring sneezing reflexes quickly.
4. Rubbing of Eyes
The airborne dander quickly gets into the baby’s eye. If the baby and dog are playful with each other, your dog may lick the baby’s face. This can lead to the saliva getting into the eyes, thus increasing eye irritation.
5. Skin Rashes
Itchy and reddish bumps that appear on the baby’s sensitive skin are a sign of dog allergy. This appears every time the baby plays with the dog and can take a few hours or a day for it to disappear.
This is a skin allergy that can happen to your baby as a result of a dog allergy.
8. Stuffy Nose
How to Treat Dog Allergies in Babies
As they say, prevention is better than cure is the best policy. Keep the dogs away the moment you observe the sign of dog allergy in your baby. The treatment may vary based on the severity of the symptoms.
- Saline Nasal sprays often help for mild nasal symptoms line nose blockages.
- Do not give over-the-counter medicines to your kid. Always ensure to consult the child’s physician.
- For severe symptoms, the allergist may prescribe antihistamine medicines to the baby.
- The doctor may prefer to use immunotherapy for grown-up kids, where antiallergic shots may be given for faster relief. This is not given to babies.
Tips to Prevent Dog Allergies in Infants
To prevent any such allergies in your infant, you can follow these tips:
- Change your baby’s clothes and clean the hands with soap and water every single time they play with the dog
- Basic hygiene is important; hence bathing the dog once a week will help in reducing dog allergens present in the air
- Possibly keep your dog in a dedicated room or a kennel. This will limit the dog to one room and avoid its presence around your baby.
- Using dust mite protectors on the baby’s mattress and bedsheet is a good idea.
- Change the upholstery of furniture in your house with easily washable materials.
- Use HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) cleaners to eliminate these rigid allergens, which remain afloat in the air for a long time. Using a vacuum cleaner with a microfilter bag helps.
Dog allergies can run in families. However, it is not necessary that every baby will be allergic to dogs. Kids like adults find pets adorable, and they tend to share a special bond. Keep the prescribed medicines handy at home. Hopefully, the above wealth of information has given you a better understanding of how to stay prepared if your baby gets a dog allergy.