Dog Allergies in Children
We all know that a great family dog can provide years of faithful companionship, love and joy to our families. But if you've never had a dog in your home before, you may want to confirm that your children are not allergic to dogs before you bring one home. It's much easier to know your child has allergies ahead of time, before you buy that cute puppy, bring her home, everyone becomes attached to her and then you find out.
If someone is allergic to dogs, there are several allergy symptoms that manifest pretty quickly upon either contacting or coming close to a dog. We often see allergic reactions to the saliva, dander (skin scales or flakes) or the urine of dogs. Some of the symptoms to look out for in your child include difficulty breathing (which may be similar to an asthma attack), watery or itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing or skin rashes. If you are aware of any of these reactions in your child after they have been around a dog, you should see a doctor as soon as you can to confirm the problem.
Doctors can also offer advice on how to control the problem. In some cases, especially when there is only one mild symptom present, an over-the-counter medication such as Benadryl might be enough to ease the symptoms and allow the family to have their pet. But in other instances, the dog allergy symptoms are so severe that having a dog isn't possible. In those cases, you may have to go with an alternative choice for a pet, such as a hamster, turtle, tropical fish, lizard or bird.
If you have friends or relatives with dogs, you can use their dogs as a sort of testing ground. You can slowly introduce your child to their dogs and see if there is any allergic reaction or any other kind.
As children grow up, they never forget their pets, just make sure that their first dog is memorable for only the right reasons.