Dust mites are one of the most common causes of allergic reactions in dogs. Your dog might keep you up all night as she itches and scratches, but these allergies are relatively easy to treat.
Causes and Detection
An allergy is an immune reaction to a substance to which the subject is hypersensitive. Dust mites typically cause skin reactions after being inhaled. Your dog might obsessively lick or chew her skin, and she might have red spots on her skin or bald spots in her coat.
Most dogs develop allergies slowly rather than showing symptoms at their first exposure. This can make it difficult to detect what's causing the allergic reaction, or even to recognize it as an allergic reaction. Keep track of any changes in your dog's environment, and carefully monitor her symptoms. This will make it easier for your veterinarian to properly diagnose your dog.
Your veterinarian will inspect your dog's skin for signs of allergic reactions, and he might ask about any recent changes in her environment. Immunosupressants such as cyclosporin can help reduce your dog's reaction to dust mites. Your veterinarian might also give your dog a cortisone injection to reduce inflammation in the skin.
Home remedies don't treat the underlying symptoms of allergic reactions, but they can give your dog temporary relief. Give her 1 mg of Benadryl for every pound of body weight. This can alleviate excessive itchiness for a few hours. Frequent oatmeal baths can also help soothe dry, irritated skin. If your dog has developed hot spots, try a hot-spot anesthetic spray. This will reduce pain and encourage her not to chew on irritated hot spots.
Dust mites thrive at high humidity, so strive to keep the humidity of your home at less than 60 percent. Air conditioning can help remove humidity.
Mite colonies also tend to multiply at higher temperatures -- 75 degrees Fahrenheit or above -- so keep your home cool during the summer.
Replacing carpets with tile or wood flooring decreases the spaces where dust mites can grow. Although this measure might seem extreme, humans can suffer from dust mite allergies too, so you're protecting both your dog and yourself.
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.