Effective Allergy Shots for Dog Allergies: Diagnosis to Treatment

Wyndly Care Team
Dedicated to giving everyone incredible care

Do allergy shots really work for dog allergies?

Yes, allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, can be effective in treating dog allergies. They work by gradually exposing the patient to increasing amounts of dog allergens, thereby reducing sensitivity over time. This can result in fewer allergic reactions and less severe symptoms.

Get started
Wyndly Allergy

Allergy meds not working?

Better allergy treatment is here.

What Triggers Dog Allergies?

Dog allergies are triggered by exposure to proteins found in a dog's dander, saliva, and urine. When an individual who is allergic to dogs comes into contact with these allergens, their immune system reacts, leading to allergic symptoms.

The Allergic Reaction

When a person with dog allergies is exposed to dog allergens, their immune system identifies these proteins as harmful. The body then produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) to fight off the allergens. This immune response results in the release of chemicals such as histamine, causing symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin rashes as described on Wyndly's dog allergy guide.

Causes of Dog Allergies

The main cause of dog allergies is genetic predisposition. If a person has a family history of allergies, they are more likely to develop dog allergies. However, exposure plays a role too. Frequent contact with dogs or residing in an area with high dog population can increase the risk of developing dog allergies. Contrary to popular belief, there is no truly hypoallergenic dog breed, as noted by Wyndly. Even hairless or short-haired breeds can cause reactions as the allergens originate from the dog's skin, not their fur.

How Do Allergists Diagnose Dog Allergies?

Allergists diagnose dog allergies by conducting a thorough physical examination, reviewing the patient's medical history, and performing specific allergy tests. These tests include skin prick tests, blood tests, and intradermal skin tests, which help identify the specific allergen causing the allergic reaction.

In a skin prick test, the allergist places a tiny amount of dog allergens under your skin using a small needle. If a raised bump or a hive develops at the test site, it indicates an allergy to dogs. Although these tests are highly effective in diagnosing dog allergies, they must be interpreted along with the patient's history of exposure and symptoms.

In some cases, allergists may recommend an elimination trial, where the patient avoids contact with dogs for a certain period and observes if symptoms improve. This is often followed by a controlled exposure to the dog, under medical supervision, to confirm if the dog is the cause of the symptoms. If you suspect you have dog allergies, consider taking the dog allergy quiz on Wyndly to determine if you should seek further testing.

Blood tests measure the levels of specific IgE antibodies in response to dog allergens in your bloodstream. While less sensitive than skin tests, blood tests are typically used when skin tests can't be performed, such as in patients with severe skin conditions or those taking certain medications.

Interpreting test results and diagnosing allergies is complex and should be done by a healthcare professional. Always consult with an allergist or immunologist if you suspect you have a dog allergy. Learn more about dog allergies and their diagnosis from Wyndly's comprehensive guide.

What Comprises Allergy Shots for Dog Allergies?

Allergy shots for dog allergies, also known as allergen immunotherapy, are a long-term treatment approach that reduces the severity of allergic reactions over time. They consist of regular injections containing tiny amounts of the specific allergens causing your dog allergies. This helps your immune system gradually build tolerance to these allergens, reducing the intensity of your allergic response.

Retraining the Immune System

The process of allergen immunotherapy works by retraining your immune system to become less reactive to dog allergens. The allergist starts with small doses of the allergen, which are gradually increased over time. This slow increase helps your immune system become accustomed to the allergen, leading to a reduction in allergic symptoms.

This treatment process can take several months to a few years, but the end result can be significant relief from dog allergy symptoms. In some cases, patients may even stop experiencing allergic reactions to dogs entirely.

It's essential to note that while allergy shots can be highly effective, they are not a quick fix. Patience and commitment to the treatment plan are crucial for successful results. For more detailed information on this topic and how to manage dog allergies, you can refer to Wyndly's Ultimate Guide to Dog and Cat Allergies.

How Do Allergy Shots Alleviate Dog Allergies?

Allergy shots alleviate dog allergies by slowly desensitizing your immune system to the dog allergens that trigger your symptoms. This immunotherapy treatment leads to a gradual decrease in the severity of allergic reactions, often resulting in significant long-term relief or even complete resolution of symptoms.

The Treatment Process

The allergy shot treatment process is divided into two phases: the build-up phase and the maintenance phase. During the build-up phase, the concentration of allergen in each injection is gradually increased over several weeks to months. Once the maximum effective dose is reached, the maintenance phase begins. This phase involves regular injections of the effective dose over a period of 3 to 5 years. This long-term commitment to the immunotherapy treatment process is necessary to achieve the desired results and maintain them.

Effectiveness of Allergy Shots for Dog Allergies

The effectiveness of allergy shots for dog allergies varies from person to person. Some individuals report a significant reduction in symptoms within the first year of treatment, while others may need 2 to 3 years to notice a significant change. Once the treatment is completed, many people experience long-term relief from their dog allergies, making it possible to live with a pet without experiencing allergic reactions. It's important to remember that while allergy shots can be highly effective, they require commitment and patience to yield the best results.

What Are the Advantages and Possible Side Effects of Allergy Shots?

Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, offer several advantages, including long-term relief from allergy symptoms and a decreased need for other medications. However, they can also have side effects, ranging from minor reactions at the injection site to more serious systemic reactions.

Advantages of Allergy Shots

The primary advantage of allergy shots is their potential to provide long-term relief from dog allergies. By gradually exposing your immune system to increasing amounts of the allergen, these shots can lessen the severity of your allergic reaction over time. In many cases, allergy shots can significantly reduce or even completely eliminate the need for other allergy medications. This treatment method also allows allergy sufferers to enjoy their pets without experiencing uncomfortable symptoms.

Potential Side Effects and Risks

While allergy shots can be highly effective, they also come with potential side effects and risks. Most common are minor reactions at the injection site, such as redness, swelling, or itching. More serious systemic reactions can occur, though they are rare. These can include hives, asthma symptoms, or a drop in blood pressure. In very rare cases, life-threatening anaphylaxis can occur. Always discuss these potential risks with your allergist and be aware of alternatives to allergy shots, such as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).

Are Allergy Shots for Dog Allergies Suitable for Everyone?

Allergy shots for dog allergies are not suitable for everyone. Factors such as age, overall health, and the severity of allergies can influence their suitability. A thorough consultation with an allergist is necessary to determine if this treatment approach is the best for you.

The ideal candidates for allergy shots are those who have severe dog allergies that aren't well-controlled by medications or who cannot avoid exposure to dogs. If over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines and prescription medications don't provide adequate relief, allergy shots may be a viable option.

However, allergy shots might not be suitable for people with severe asthma, heart problems, or other serious health conditions. They are also typically not recommended for children under five years of age. In these cases, alternative treatment methods should be considered. Lastly, being committed to the long-term process is crucial because the full benefits of allergy shots can take months or even years to realize.

For those who cannot or prefer not to receive allergy shots, there are other options. At-home allergy treatments such as avoidance strategies, OTC medications, and sublingual immunotherapy could be viable alternatives. Regardless of the method chosen, always consult with an allergist or medical professional for personalized advice.

How Can One Care for Dog Allergies at Home?

Managing dog allergies at home involves a combination of avoidance strategies, OTC medications, and possibly sublingual immunotherapy. These methods can help control symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with dog allergies.

Preventing the Spread of Severe Allergy Symptoms

To prevent the spread of severe allergy symptoms, consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Limit contact with dogs, especially in enclosed spaces.
  • Regularly clean your home to reduce dander levels.
  • Use HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners and air purifiers.
  • Wash bedding and clothing often.
  • Consider using allergy-proof covers on mattresses and pillows.
  • Try to keep dogs out of bedrooms and off furniture.

Remember, even with these measures, it may still be difficult to completely avoid exposure to dog allergens.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

Sublingual immunotherapy, also known as allergy drops, can be another method for managing dog allergies at home. This treatment involves placing a small amount of allergen extract under the tongue. Over time, this can help the immune system become less reactive to dog allergens. Unlike allergy shots, sublingual immunotherapy can be administered at home. However, it's essential to discuss this option with an allergist to determine if it's the right choice for you.

Live Allergy-Free with Wyndly

If you want long-term relief from your allergies, Wyndly can help. Our doctors will help you identify your allergy triggers and create a personalized treatment plan to get you the lifelong relief you deserve. Start by taking our quick online allergy assessment today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the allergy shot for dogs cost?

The cost of allergy shots for dogs can vary widely based on the specific allergen, the severity of the allergy, and the location. However, typically, the costs can range from $200 to $500 for the initial testing and first year of shots, with subsequent years costing less.

Can you build immunity to dog allergies?

Yes, you can build immunity to dog allergies through a process called immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. This involves receiving regular injections of a small amount of the allergen, in this case, dog dander, over time to increase your body's tolerance to it.

How successful is immunotherapy for dog allergies?

Immunotherapy for dog allergies is generally successful, providing relief for approximately 70-85% of patients after consistent treatment. It delivers long-term effects by targeting the root cause of the allergy, desensitizing the immune system to dog allergens, thus reducing symptoms over time. Individual results may vary.

Can you get shots to stop being allergic to dogs?

Yes, allergy shots, also known as allergen immunotherapy, can be used to treat dog allergies. This treatment involves regular injections of small amounts of the dog allergen, which helps your immune system become less sensitive over time, reducing allergic symptoms.

What are the side effects of allergy shots for dogs?

Side effects of allergy shots for dogs can include redness or swelling at the injection site, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or a decrease in appetite. Rarely, dogs may experience a severe allergic reaction, which requires immediate veterinary attention. Always monitor your pet post-treatment for any unusual behavior.

Do allergy shots have negative side effects?

Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, can have side effects. These may include swelling and redness at the injection site, sneezing, nasal congestion, or hives. Rarely, severe reactions like anaphylaxis can occur. Discuss potential side effects with your healthcare provider before starting treatment.

What medication is given to dogs for allergy injections?

For allergy injections in dogs, allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) is commonly used. This medication contains small but increasing amounts of the allergen causing the reaction, which helps the dog's immune system build tolerance and reduce the severity of allergic responses over time.

Can I buy Cytopoint myself?

No, you cannot buy Cytopoint yourself. Cytopoint is a prescription-only medication for dogs, used to treat allergic dermatitis. It must be administered by a licensed veterinarian after a thorough examination and diagnosis. It's not available for over-the-counter purchase.

What is the best allergy medicine if you are allergic to dogs?

The best allergy medicine for dog allergies may include antihistamines, like cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra), and loratadine (Claritin), or nasal corticosteroids like fluticasone (Flonase) and mometasone (Nasonex). Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new medication.

Is Wyndly right for you?

Answer just a few questions and we'll help you find out.

Get Started Today