How To Treat Dust Mite Allergies In Dogs

As a pet owner, few things are more stressful than when your furry friend gets sick. No matter how mild or severe their symptoms are, it's hard to relax when you know your pet is uncomfortable. Dust mite allergies are one of the most common ailments to affect dogs. Around 30% of dogs with allergies experience significant reactions to dust mites, which can lead to a long list of symptoms (via Petful).

The American Lung Association explains that dust mites — microscopic pests that feed on dead human skin cells — can also be harmful to humans, with their presence being one of the most common triggers for people with asthma. However, treating dogs for dust mite allergies is slightly more complicated than treating humans, namely because dogs can't explain their symptoms or willingly participate in a medication plan. While the presence of dust mites calls for environmental changes, treating dogs with this kind of allergy also requires the pet owner to pay careful attention to their dog's symptoms, consult their vet, and follow the appropriate advice.

Diagnosing a dust mite allergy in your dog

The first step in treating your dog for dust mite allergies is to determine that this is indeed what your dog is suffering from. The canine experts at Wag! explain that the symptoms of dust mite allergies can be varied, but they typically include hives, excessive licking, sneezing, and intense scratching. Your dog might also have a runny nose and red eyes or, in more severe cases, bald spots from too much scratching. Certain dogs are also more at risk of developing a dust mite allergy than others, with pugs, bulldogs, retrievers, setters, terriers, German shepherds, and miniature schnauzers being the most commonly afflicted breeds.

Vacuum brand and specialist in dust removal RAYCOP states that when it is a dust mite allergy that your dog is suffering from, their symptoms will alleviate when you take them out of the house and away from the dust. If you notice symptoms when your dog is home, take your dog to a vet who will be able to make a diagnosis through intradermal allergy testing (via Animal Dermatology Clinic). This test involves injecting a tiny amount of purified allergen extract into the skin and then analyzing the reaction. A vet can also perform a serum blood test to identify a dust mite allergy, which is generally more affordable.

How to treat your dog's dust mite allergy

A dust mite allergy is included in the category of environmental allergies, which are medically referred to as "atopy." Animal Doctors explains that atopy is a permanent condition in that it will always flare in the presence of the allergen. However, you can manage a dust mite allergy by giving your dog hyposensitization injections, which can help their body learn to fight the allergy. Additionally, a dust mite allergy can be managed with topical medications, shampoos, and conditioners that have an anti-itch effect, along with corticosteroids and antihistamines (via Elizabethan collars or socks may prevent the dog from scratching.

Altering your dog's environment and removing the dust mites will be hugely beneficial in treating the allergy. MedVet recommends bare floors as opposed to carpets, where mites tend to thrive. Opt for synthetic materials in your dog's bedding as opposed to animal-derived sources like feathers or wool. Vacuum, mop, and dust the area where your dog sleeps daily, and use air-conditioning and dehumidifiers to reduce room temperature and humidity levels during the summer months. Forgetting to wash your dog's bedding frequently is a mistake that many dog owners make, and one that can exacerbate a dust mite allergy. 

A dust mite allergy can be as uncomfortable and frustrating for a dog as it can be for a human. By investigating symptoms, altering your dog's environment, and administering the right medications and topical treatments, you can dramatically increase your furry companion's quality of life.