23 answers

Could I Be Allergic to My Dog?

Please help me ladies! I have battled hives on and off. Last spring was the first episode and I think it was caused by stress. I took Zyrtec and although it basically knocked my out (I was so sleepy and groggy for 24 hours), it took care of the hives. On occasion since then, I have taken it when the itching is unbearable, but the sleepiness really is an inconvenient side effect.
Lately, I have had hives on a daily basis (I use dye free soaps and detergents). My legs look horrible due to the itching/scratching. I have started to take Non-drowsy Claritin (actually the Walgreen's brand of Claritin) to avoid the sleepiness, but it seems to do nothing for the hives (The pharmacist said it should work great).
I visited my doctor who simply said to keep using dye free cleaners, etc. and to add Aveeno anti-itch creams and lotions (they do little good). Shaving is a nightmare, but if I do not shave, then the hair bothers my skin too.
I couldn't think of any other lifestyle changes (except that I am a lot less stressed)except that in late September we bought a dog. She is a poodle/terrier mix who does not shed. She is a real joy to us all. She is literally part of the family! My "itchiness" started in October and has continually gotten worse. I had a dog when I was a child and was not allergic to her (she was a cocker spaniel/Irish setter mix who shed a lot!); however, I got to wondering if you can be allergic to one type of dog and not to another.
What do you think? Could I be allergic to our new dog or is this not likely?
Thanks in advance to anyone who gives me some advice. I am really ready to be "itch-free!"

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all of your help. I am off to an allergist in early March. I am taking Claritin and sometimes Zyrtec to help combat the symptoms in the meantime; I also use Aveeno and Eucerin Cream. I also bathed my dog and that seemed to help a lot too. I think I may be allergic to something she carries in on her when she goes outside because it is usually worst then. Thanks again for all of your help.

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You can develope allergies to what you are exposed to. Take a bit of dog hair to an allergist and have him make a serum from that hair and test it on you. That could be a quick way to tell if it's the dog. I, too, developed allergy to my two dogs as shown with the serum made from them, but not to the generic dog serum the allergist tested me with. Get the test before you get rid of the dog. Best to you.

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It could be something you are using on the dog - like a flea killer, shampoo or something like that - something chemical. With that said, my daughter gradually became allergic to cats, even though she grew up with ours - some she is more sensitive to than others, but she is definately allergic to certain pesticides (that she picked up off of the cat - who was an outdoor kitty).

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I don't know if you can be allergic to certain breeds of dogs, but not others, but I do know that you can develop allergies that you didn't have before. That's happened in my case. Since your problem started shortly after the dog arrived, it's a good possibility that she may be the culprit. As an experiment, see if someone could dog sit for you for a week or so and then see if your allergies improve with the dog out of the house. It may take longer to find out for sure, especially if the dander is in your house. Another thought, it may be some thing that you use for the dog, such as shampoo, flea medicine, dog food, or even dog treats. Good Luck!

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You can develope an allergery spontaneously. That is, you can become allergic to something that you may have never been allergic to before at any time. Your doctor can perform an allergy test in his/her office to tell you if you've developed an allergy to dog dander. I broke out with a horrible, itchy rash several years ago. My doctor performed allergy tests on me. I wasn't allergic to anything I was tested for so I was referred to a dermatologist. the dermatologist diagnosed me an obscure skin condition called Lichen Planus, gave me some betamethasome cream to put on the rash, and it started clearing up immediately. Until I was diagnosed, though, I imagined all kinds of horrible things. Turns out, my condition was caused by stress. All that worrying and fretting I did until I was diagnosed only made my condition worse! Ask your doctor to test you for pet allergies. In the meantime, my dermatologist told me to use Dove soap to wash my body and only Dove. He said that all other soaps dry your skin out and most of them also leave a residue. He also told me to use Eucerin lotion. Hope this helps, and try not to worry-it may be making things worse.

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Wow that is crazy because I have had horrible hives/allergy issues for about the past year too. Although I don't have any pets I don't really know what all the sudden triggered mine. Have you been to an allergist? Mine started off an on I would get real itchy all over and I would take a bath or use the eucirin anti-itch lotions and it would kind of help. Then this summer about a month after I had a baby I all the sudden was constantly itchy everywhere and anywhere that I would itch would puff up and turn red. I could literally write my name on my arm with my finer nail. I had to go get allergy testing and it really didn't show much just that the things I was most allergic to were pollens, dust, molds. So the kind of stuff that is just part of the enviorment and nothing that I can get away from. What I have is called Dermagraphisim. And the doctor told me Zyrtec is the best for hives but it just totally wipes me out too. I've been cutting it in half and take it a couple hours before bed. It still makes me pretty drowsy in the morning but not as bad as if I take a full pill. I also take claritin during the day. And I have always had allergies and I know that I am allergic to some types of dogs and then other's don't bother me as much so it sounds like your dog could be the problem. Sorry such a long response but I know how you are feeling. Try cutting the zyrtec in half for the next couple days and see if that makes you a little less drowsy. Good luck!

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If your doctor is not supportive of testing you for allergies, go to an allergy specialist. If you need a recommendation, our doctor's office has a specialist. They are in the liberty area. The clinic is called Shoal Creek Family Medical or something like that. My hubby went to see their specialist and we were amazed at the things they found he was allergic too. Some of your allergies could be seasonal and things floating in the air, not the dog.

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You can develope allergies to what you are exposed to. Take a bit of dog hair to an allergist and have him make a serum from that hair and test it on you. That could be a quick way to tell if it's the dog. I, too, developed allergy to my two dogs as shown with the serum made from them, but not to the generic dog serum the allergist tested me with. Get the test before you get rid of the dog. Best to you.

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did your 1st round start before the dog??? last spring before you got the dog???

If that's the case, then I would look for food allergies. My son's peanut allergy manifests in an unbearable rash/hives that requires mega doses of Benadryl. He did not become sensitized to peanut until age 5, & I began reacting to peanut just months ago...at age 46!

I provide childcare & have several children with various food allergies (in addition to environmental/seasonal allergies). Some of them react with skin rashes, too. My son is also allergic to mold, & will break-out just walking thru leaves in the fall! Many, many allergens lurk everywhere...

On another note, what about your personal care products? I have very sensitive skin & have to use hypoallergenic soaps/lotions. In the shower, I try to avoid having the shampoo rinse down my body. I've also noticed that my younger son (age 12) cannot use the "manly" products that the other men in my family use...he will break out head-to-toe...which really aggravates him (being a preteen & all)!

Good luck, & I'd seriously consider seeing an allergist or dermatologist.

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I am not a health care provider. But, I am pretty sure you can be allergic to something now that you were not allergic too before. Also, I'm pretty sure it is the dander, not the hair that causes most allergies, so the fact your dog does not shed doesn't mean you won't have allergies. You may want to start giving the dog baths often, at least once a week. Do as much vacuuming as you can. If your symptoms get better, it could be your dog. You may have to bite the bullet and see a dermatologist. It may not be an allergic reaction at all, it could be an infection, fungal especially won't get better until you take medication. I went to several doctors before I finally went to a good dermatologist and she fixed me up with some medicine and I was better almost immediately.

Good Luck!

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I will tell you what my husband did for hives. He started eating Activia yogurt, one or two per day. His hives went away within 2 weeks, and he had them for over a year. He tried everything and nothing worked but that. Oh, he also stopped using Splenda too, so he thinks that might have helped too, although I don't know. Read up on the Activia, it is supposed to help your body produce the good bacteria that it needs and get you back on track. Anyway, hope you find something to help you.

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Doctor's don't seem to like doing allergy testing, but your allergies may surprise you. At the age of 30 something I was found to be allergic to milk. I remember having hives at 13 and never knowing what caused them. Then in the winter I would get colds after colds until I was tested as being allergic to milk (do you realize that when you have a cold the doctor tells you to stay away from milk, no wonder I would get better). Now my mother at age 71 has been diagnosed as being allergic to so many foods that I'm not real sure what she eats, but she says she feels so much better! My point is why don't you ask your doctor to test you for allergies before you "blame the dog":) you might be as surprised as I was!

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YES!!!

OH K. O., that's exactly what it sounds like to me.

My 11 year-old has allergies/asthma and I asked her dr about "hypo-allergenic" dogs, he laughed. He said there is no such thing. Yeah, the hair can be problematic, but it's actually the saliva from the animals that people are allergic to. When pet licks themselves, the saliva evaporates and goes into the air. We breathe that air, therefore causing our lungs to become irritated and that's when some have reactions.

I'm not saying pet dander isn't a problem, because it can be too. Everyone is different meaning more things can go wrong.

You got your dog in Sept. and started this mess in Oct. Sorry, but it seems a little fishy to me.

I've been told just because you "didn't" have allergies when you were a kid, doesn't mean you cannot get them when you're an adult. Allergies can strike at anytime.

It seems to me the sooner you get rid of Fido, the sooner you can be "itch-free." ls

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Hi,

It definitely could be the dog.
However, it sounds like you had the hives before you got the dog. So, it could be a combination of things. As you probably know, hives is an auto-immune response. I had problems with hives a few years ago, and did a lot of research about it. Unfortunately, in many cases they never figure out what the cause is, and they just go away on their own.

However, they won't go away if the source of the auto-immune response is still in your life (eg the dog if it is the dog). Also, if you were having an auto-immune response, and you are allergic to dogs, then the dog could be making the reaction worse.

Have you gone to an allergist? They can do tests that might help you figure out what you are allergic to. They can also give you perscriptions that will help with the hives. what I learned from when I have them is that you have to keep ahead of the autoimmune response. So you have to take enough medicine to get the hives down to a manageable level, and keep up with the medicine to keep then response down. If my hives return, I start loading up on benadryl as soon as I see one or two hives, and have confirmed that is what they are (however, it doesn't make me drowsy, which it sounds like it might do with you, my dr told me claritin would be a good alternative)

For me it turned out I have an auto-immune disease "Hashimotos Thyroiditis". Basically, my body started to attack my thyroid. Once I got my thyroid levels checked, and got proper treatment to get the hormones back in line, the hives went away. So if all else fails, you could also have your thyroid levels checked. I can give you more info on that if you look into other options (like the dog) and can't figure out the source.

Hope that helps. good luck finding the source. I know having hives is very unpleasant.

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We had dogs growing up and not one of us 5 kids had allergies or adverse reactions to them.
After my sister got married, she got a dog (Dachshund, or wiener dog) and her allergies went through the roof! (hives and everything) They had to get rid of the dog. :(
Now, after having 3 kids (the youngest being 9), they decided to try having a dog again. Oddly enough, I think it's also a poodle/terrier mix! Anyway, she hasn't had any allergy issues with this one. :)
My suggestion would be to try to find someone to "babysit" the dog for a while...two weeks minimum...and see what your condition is like during that time.
Make sure all of the dog's bedding and everything that contains fur/dander is removed as well.
If it's an inside dog, I would suspect that the vents in your house are recirculating contaminates that keep allergy symptoms alive. It's worth checking into and possibly having them cleaned.
I know itching everyday like that is a nightmare! I also know the thought of having to give up a family member is worse than a nightmare. What a horrible decision to have to make. For the sake of you and your family, I hope the dog is innocent and you find a different culprit to your itching!

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Unfortunately, you could be allergic to the dog. Sounds likely, actually, if the itchiness began within a month of the dog arriving. Lots of people have allergies to the supposed allergy free dogs like poodles who have the wiry non-shedding coats. Other people have specific allergies to long silky coats like irish setters & spaniels, undercoat breeds like huskies & GSD's, or even the short haired breeds like beagles & pitbulls. We breed shorthaired dogs (American Bulldogs) that my husband has a mild allergy to; he is ok with living with the dogs and petting them but cannot have them up on the bed for cuddles. Actually, that might be a good barometer for you....are you able to hug/cuddle/spoon with your dog? If you notice that you can't do that, it may be an indicator of an allergy. This won't be an easy process, so good luck with whatever you decide to do!

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Boy, I really would like to be able to answer your question as my 32 year old daughter has had the same problem for the last year but she can use Zyrtec to eliminate the hives. Please let me know if you ever figure out what's causing your hives as I don't believe that taking an antihistamine for the rest of her life is the answer.

We are very health and environmentally aware and have a homebased business providing healthy living technologies. Never having experienced hives in the past we are really stumped. We do not use commercial cleaning agents and wash our laundry without detergents or softners so you can see why we are stumped.

Thanks for your help and if we figure this out I will let you know.

L. N

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Good morning....I am so sorry you are having such problems. Usually Poodles are ones that are not as prone to cause allergy problems...but it is always possible. The only way you could tell for sure would be to get away from the dog for a couple of days ( sounds like a good excuse for a mini vacation to me!!!) and see if anything changes.
Ask your pharmacist if using Neil Med Sinus Rinse might help.I have found that it really really helps with my allergy issues...and it isn't unpleasant to use like I was afraid it would be. I work in a pharmacy and we keep it stocked behind the counter....we can't buy enough of them to stay ahead of the demand lately...seems they are getting very popular!!!
Could I also suggest that you look into getting some "Sarna"...it is an anti-itch lotion that we use in a ton of different compounds in the pharmacy. It is a little pricey...about $10 a bottle but it sure works!!! You dont need a prescription...you should be able to find it in most grocery stores or drugs stores...or ask at your pharmacy.
I hope you figure something out...our dogs can be like a part of our family...it would be a shame if you were allergic!!
Good Luck
R. Ann

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Only one way to find out is have someone keep your dog for a weekor so. This should tell how you do away from the dog.

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I hope you'll go to an allergist before you get rid of your pet.

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First of all, you can develop an allergy at any time of your life. Secondly, if it is indeed your dog & you want to try to keep it, you will eventually get used to Zyrtec & the side effects will slowly be less noticable. But you have to take it every day for this to happen. I'm not saying thatis what you should do, but that if your Dr. suggests it, that you will get less sleepy the longer you take it. I hope that helps!

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Try Benadryl at night. I have thia just from scratching a itch.They usually go away if you dont rescratch them,Do not know what it is, not the dog most likely I thought it was my Rabbit but its not. cause he is in the basement now. Good luck

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Yes it could be very possible.
I got a new dog recently and quickly found out I'm allergic to him, I break out on my wrists and neck.

I refuse to get rid of him, so I found a shampoo at Petsmart that helps and I take Zyrtec at night.

Mine really isn't that bad.

It could also be something outside that is staying on the dog's fur. I've had that happen before.

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Dear K.,

This sounds familiar my husband had the same skin issue. We traced it back to dryer sheets. He purchased generic dryer sheets and broke out in hives and a oozy rash everywhere. The solution was washing all his clothes, sheet, towels etc.., drying them with hypo allergenic Bounce sheets and taking Benadryl cleared the problem up.

It is also possible that it is the dog. You can desensitize yourself if you are careful. I did this in college while living with my best friend, who is a cat person. I'm horribly allergic to cats, but if I wash my hands after touching them and take Drixoral I can live with a cat. I also have to make sure the cat can't get into my bedroom. My roommate was very understanding and bathed her cat regularly, which helped a lot. However, once I moved away Cats began to really bother me to the again. I would try taking different over the counter allergy meds before giving up on the dog.

J. N.

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Good Morning K., When our boys were very little they got chicken pox, Drew almost 3 and Travis was like 7 months. Our Dr. told me to give them benedryl? for the itching, as they both had very dry rashy skin already. It really helped. It doesn't make you sleepy, so maybe you could give it a try.

You can become allergic to any thing at any time.
We found out the hard why, our gr son Corbin (3 yrs 11 months lol) used to love Blue Cheese dressing, now if he has it on his salad his face gets beet red, where it touches. We did a look see on the label and found that almost everything has Soy in it and he gets beet red if he has anything with Soy.
You could go to a Alergist and be checked for several things you are using and are around constantly. I also use a tabletop humidifier in our home now, if I don't I get terrible sinus headaches. Never had that Problem before either until this last winter. :(

Give the benedryl a try and see if it might help.

God Bless and Pray for NON Itching soon.
K. Nana of 5

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