Like all allergies, dust mite allergies take some time to develop in dogs, with the first symptoms not surfacing until an animal has been exposed repeatedly to the mites. Your dog's dust mite allergy is triggered by his inhaling dust mites, but its symptoms might look to you as if he has a flea allergy.
A dust mite allergy surfaces as atopic dermatitis, causing your pet to bite, chew and scratch. Her paws, ears, groin, muzzle and armpits are especially vulnerable.
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln's Extension Service says allergy prevention begins by making your home inhospitable to dust mites. Keep its temperature below 75° F and humidity below 70 per cent. At less than 60-percent humidity dust mite colonies become dehydrated. Track your home's humidity, says the EPA, with a hygrometer from a hardware store.
Dust Mite Removal
To protect your dog, remove both living and dead mites. UNL offers these suggestions: Replace carpeting with tile, wood, stone, or vinyl floors in the rooms where your dog spends the most time. Use washable blinds instead of draperies, cleaning them frequently. Look for dust catchers like silk flower arrangements, house plants and decorative pillows, and include them in your regular cleaning routine. Spray all soft furniture, drapes and carpets you can't remove with commercial dust mite spray. Steam clean them once a year, preferably in the spring. Wash your pet's bedding and soft toys with anti-allergen detergent warm (77° F) water. Clean hard furniture with a damp cloth. You'll be removing dust, not just stirring it up to settle elsewhere. Use a vacuum with an HEPA filter. Careful weekly vacuuming is more effective than quick daily vacuuming.
Treat your dog 's symptoms while ridding your home of dust mites. Giving your dog an over-the-counter antihistamine may ease his symptoms. Ask your vet about the right dosage for your pet. For intolerable itching, your vet may prescribe a course of inflammation-reducing corticosteroids like prednisone or cortisone. Use them for as short a time as possible. Long-term use can compromise your dog's immune system.. Apply a steroid cream or spray with hydrocortisone or triamcinolone to the affected areas of your pet's skin.
Your vet may prescribe the immunosupressant cyclosporin to regulate your dog's reaction to the mites, enabling you to cut back on his steroid dosage. It will also, however, reduce his immune system response to other diseases. Give it in the lowest possible amount. Allergy shots--or immunotherapy--are a safer alternative, but can take up to a year to make any improvement in your pet's condition. They are a safer long-term treatment than corticosteroids.
Bathing Your Pet
Her allergy may dry your pet's skin. Bathe her in cool water with hypoallergenic shampoo followed by a hypoallergenic moisturiser to limit unnecessary itching.
The Long Green Animal Dermatology Center recommends adding fatty acids in the form of fish oil to your pet's diet as a possible way of enhancing the effects of antihistamines.