Is Your Pandemic Puppy Aggravating Your Allergies?

Is your 'pandemic puppy' making you sneeze? An allergist shares treatment options for chronic pet allergies.

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CLEVELAND – Many people purchased a ‘pandemic puppy’ in the last year, but what if you find that you’re allergic to your new furry friend?

Cleveland Clinic allergist, Sandra Hong, MD, said people who are allergic to their pets may develop chronic allergy symptoms.

“Typically when you live with something you’re allergic to, like a dog or a cat, you don’t get those acute symptoms of itchy, sneezy, drippy as much,” she explained. “You get more of the symptoms of stuffy and draining down the back of your throat.”

Dr. Hong said if you’re allergic to your pet, you’ll likely have classic allergy symptoms when you first bring them home. Then, over time, chronic symptoms can develop.

Chronic allergy sufferers may experience more sinus infections or asthma symptoms.

Dr. Hong recommends visiting an allergist to determine exactly what you’re allergic to – is it the dog, or the pollen it brings in on its fur?

Allergists say the best way to reduce pet allergens is to remove the pet from your home.

If that’s not an option, avoidance measures may help – like keeping pets outdoors, out of bedrooms, or only allowing them in certain parts of the house.

Reducing dander is another strategy. You can try HEPA filters to help remove dander from the air, replace carpet with flooring, or regularly bathe your puppy.

Allergy medications are also an option, as well as allergy shots.

“The only tough thing is for dogs, allergy shots just aren’t nearly as good as some of the other allergens,” said Dr. Hong. “For some reason it just doesn’t work as well. The good thing is, if they have other allergies, and they improve all of their other allergies, it could improve their dog allergy symptoms.”

One interesting fact, according to Dr. Hong, is that male dogs who haven’t been neutered can be more allergenic for some people due to a certain protein produced by the prostate

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