woman cuddling a small brown dog

When Your Furry Friend Triggers Eczema: Understanding Eczema Dog Allergies

Eczema, medically known as atopic dermatitis, manifests in various forms and is often influenced by many factors. One lesser-known contributor to eczema flare-ups is the presence of pets, specifically dogs. While these furry companions bring joy and companionship, their dander, saliva, and hair might trigger allergic reactions, exacerbating eczema symptoms in susceptible individuals.

If you suspect your dog might be triggering your allergy symptoms, this blog is for you. In it, we're going to cover everything you need to know about your potential pet allergy, including:

  • The relationship between pet allergies and childhood eczema

  • Symptoms of eczema flare-ups caused by pet exposure

  • How to naturally manage an allergic reaction to your dog

Read on to learn more about effectively managing your pet allergy and keeping your skin eczema-free.

Understanding Eczema Caused by Dogs

Eczema, a chronic inflammatory skin condition, affects millions worldwide. Its symptoms range from dry, itchy skin to redness and inflammation. However, when a person with eczema is exposed to pet allergens like dog dander or saliva, it can lead to allergic reactions. This is because of proteins found in their dander, saliva, and hair. When these allergens come into contact with sensitive skin, they can lead to allergic reactions and exacerbate eczema symptoms, causing discomfort and distress.

Can Pets be an Eczema Trigger?

While the same isn't true for everyone, pets can definitely trigger allergies or eczema symptoms in adults and children. This is because their dander, fur, and saliva can be irritants for people with eczema or sensitive skin. Pet dander are tiny flecks of skin shed by dogs and other furry animals. These contain proteins that can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. Though less commonly recognized, dog saliva can also contribute to allergic sensitization, especially in children.

Due to an impaired skin barrier in those with atopic dermatitis, contact with such irritants can lead to increased inflammation, potentially causing itchiness. In essence, exposure to these allergens can impair the skin barrier in people with eczema, making them more prone to allergic reactions and flare-ups. Furthermore, an individual might be allergic to the pet itself or substances carried by pet dander, such as dust mites, mold, or pollen.

Childhood Eczema and Pet Exposure

Children with eczema are particularly susceptible to pet allergies. Early exposure to pet allergens, especially during the first year of life, can significantly impact a child's risk of developing eczema or experiencing more severe symptoms. Even so-called "hypoallergenic" breeds may not eliminate the risk, as all dogs produce some level of allergens, albeit in varying amounts.

If cats and dogs you already own seem to worsen eczema symptoms in your child, consider these strategies:

  • Minimize exposure by limiting contact with the pet’s litter, bedding, and toys.

  • Restrict the pet from furniture, family vehicles, and your child’s bedroom.

  • Encourage regular handwashing and changing clothes after handling the pet.

  • Clean surfaces, flooring, bedding, and items with pet-related elements.

  • Use a HEPA filter vacuum and consider a portable air cleaner in your child’s room.

  • Follow their eczema and allergy treatment plan, including prescribed medications.

If symptoms persist and affect your child's eczema and well-being, rehoming the pet might be necessary.

Pet Allergy Symptoms

  • Itchy eyes

  • Runny nose

  • Hives

  • Shortness of breath

  • Redness or irritation of the skin

  • Eczema flare-ups

  • Itchy throat or mouth

Natural Ways to Reduce Allergy Symptoms

If your pet allergy is causing adverse skin reactions or igniting eczema flare up, these strategies may help you find relief:

Keep your Skin Moisturized

This Hot Skin Soother can help relieve red rashes, hives, or inflamed skin. It's particularly great at soothing irritation in skin folds, armpits, and groin areas, as well as elbow and knee creases. Made with all-natural ingredients, it's safe for adults and children alike.

Wear Scratch Protection

These form-fitting Remedywear™ (TENCEL + Zinc) Sleeves/Bandages for Babies to Adults are perfect for wearing underneath regular clothes without any added bulk. Made from eco-friendly TENCEL embedded with zinc oxide (known for its anti-inflammatory properties), they help soothe the skin while protecting it from irritants or unconsciously scratching it.

Wash your Hands Regularly

For sensitive skin, allergy-prone skin, and eczema flares, this Grass Fed Tallow Soap is the perfect solution. Made the old fashioned way with lye, water and grass fed tallow, it's an excellent addition to your paleo skin care regime. After handling or caring for your pet, be sure to wash your hands rigorously with this gentle soap. 

Manage your Pet Allergy Today

Ultimately, the bond between humans and their pets is special, but navigating this relationship requires careful consideration for individuals with eczema. Use these tips and tricks to better manage your pet allergy and enjoy clearer skin today.