Almost half of all U.S. homes have a pet cat or dog as a member of the family. If you are part of the 10 per cent of the population that is allergic to dogs, then you could experience an allergic reaction when you come in contact with a dog's urine.
If you have allergies, your immune system is sensitive to particles called allergens. While these allergens are not harmful to most people, your immune system perceives them as a threat and reacts to them. The effort to rid the allergen from your system can trigger an allergic reaction.
Dogs shed allergens from their skin, saliva and urine. If you are allergic to dogs, coming in contact with dog urine can trigger an allergic reaction, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergens are sticky, so if a dog urinates on a fence or a wall, the allergens linger there. Once shed, allergens can remain potent enough to trigger an allergic reaction for months.
If you inhale allergens secreted from dog urine, your eyes and nose could swell and begin to itch. Your eyes may become bloodshot and inflamed. Your nose could run and you may experience sneezing fits. If you have asthma, an allergic reaction can trigger an asthma attack. If you touch dog urine, your skin could turn red wherever you come in contact with the liquid, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
To avoid an allergic reaction to dog urine and other sources of allergens, avoid dogs and places where they live. If this is not possible, then immunotherapy, or allergy shots, could help. Administered over the course of years, allergy shots can reduce your allergic symptoms and also help with allergies of asthma. Improvement usually appears after six months, after which the medication can be reduced.
If you have a dog, reduce your allergy symptoms by making changes around your house. Rugs can trap allergens, so bare floors will help. Keep your dog out of your bedroom, have someone else clean up after your dog in the yard and avoid getting too close to its favourite places to urinate. Bathing your dog often can help reduce the allergens that cling to your dog's skin.