How To Get Rid Of Your Dog Allergies Once and For All

Being allergic to dogs or other common pets and animals can be a real drag. No matter how much you love your furry friends, their unique biochemistry doesn’t exactly love you back. Spending time with a dog makes you itchy, inflamed, and struggling to breathe for hours afterward—not exactly a fun reward for cuddling with a cute pup. 

Of course, there are always over-the-counter solutions like Benadryl, but they aren’t good long-term solutions, and have side effects like drowsiness that can leave you feeling worse than before. So, what are you supposed to do—avoid dogs for the rest of your life? That’s no way to live!

Dog Allergies

Luckily, if you’ve got severe dog allergies you want to rid yourself of once and for all, there’s a solution. It’s not quick and it can be tedious, but if you follow through with immunotherapy allergy shots, you could be free from your dog allergies in three to five years. 

What is Immunotherapy for Dog Allergies? 

Immunotherapy treatment for people with dog allergies involves administering a series of shots over a multi-year period. The shots contain trace amounts of canine allergen, first in such small doses that the body barely notices them, followed by gradually increasing doses. Over time, your immune system begins to adjust, build tolerance, and desensitize itself to the allergen, eventually reducing your allergic reactions. 

Basically, immunotherapy teaches your body to tolerate specific allergens and to no longer react to them by becoming inflamed. Unfortunately, good results are not guaranteed, but if you can consistently go in for your shots, you should experience some relief. 

How Often Will I Need To Get Allergy Shots?

Dog Allergies: dog getting a shot

Immunotherapy treatment courses can take up to or beyond five years, so be ready to commit for the long haul. For the first few months or up to a year, you may need to receive weekly allergy shots. Slowly, your provider will elongate the breaks between shots, with the final round typically being administered once a month. 

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Is Allergy Immunotherapy Expensive?

Most insurance providers offer coverage for allergy shots in patients with moderate to severe dog allergies, but this may not apply to all individuals seeking immunotherapy. Even if you are approved by insurance, you will still be required to pay a copay and may accrue additional fees during your treatment. 

If you are not approved by your insurance to receive immunotherapy for dog allergies, you can expect to pay an average of around $1,000—$4,000 per year of treatment. This brings total costs to an estimated $3,000—$20,000, depending on your particular circumstances. 

Alternatives to Allergy Shot Immunotherapy

If for any reason you’re not able to get allergy shots, there are alternative options for managing or relieving your symptoms. For some of us with dog allergies, living a no-dog life just isn’t an option so finding ways to take care of ourselves while still enjoying life with our pets is key. 

Sublingual Immunotherapy 

Dog Allergies

Immunotherapy drops or sublingual immunotherapy is an alternative treatment option to allergy shots and works in much the same way. Rather than having the antigen (or piece of canine allergen) injected directly under your skin, you place a liquid or pill form of the antigen under your tongue. More affordable, more comfortable, and more accessible for people who cannot make it to a practitioner’s office every week. 

Home Remedies

Home remedies like over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants are good short-term options, in addition to soothing holistic treatments like herbal teas or steam facials. If you have mild to moderate dog allergy symptoms and feel comfortable managing them without immunotherapy, be sure to chat with your general practitioner about the best antihistamines and decongestants for you. 

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Immunotherapy for Dog Allergies FAQ

Dog Allergies

Before we wrap up, let’s cover a few final questions about immunotherapy shots for people with dog allergies! 

Can’t I just get a hypoallergenic dog? 

No. There is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog. Even Poodles—often lauded as the “most hypoallergenic dog breed”—carry the same amount of canine allergen as any other dog. While dogs that shed less may drop less dander, they can still trigger allergies, especially for people allergic to dog saliva. 

Can regular grooming help manage my allergies? 

Sort of. If you are specifically allergic to dog dander, regular grooming and bathing can help to wash away some of that dander. Similarly, keeping your home well dusted, using air purifiers, and brushing your dog outside can minimize the amount of allergen dropped in your home. 

Do immunotherapy allergy shots help to manage asthma symptoms? 

Yes! Immunotherapy shots help to reduce all symptoms of allergic reactions. Asthma as a result of dog allergies has been successfully treated with immunotherapy for years. 

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