(Last Updated On: April 27, 2023)

Can You Build Up Immunity to Dog Allergies?

If you’re one of the many people who suffer from dog allergies, then you know how frustrating it is to love dogs but not be able to spend time with them without experiencing allergy symptoms. The good news is that there are ways to manage your allergies and still enjoy the company of these furry friends.

Happy American Staffordshire dog smiling.

What Are Dog Allergies?

Dog allergies are a type of allergic reaction that occurs when an individual is exposed to substances found in dogs’ fur, skin, saliva, or urine. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, rashes, hives, coughing, and wheezing. Allergens found in a dog’s coat can be inhaled or come into contact with the skin. For some people, the symptoms may not appear until hours after exposure.

There is no known cure for dog allergies and avoidance of dogs is the only way to prevent symptoms. However, there are ways to reduce your sensitivity to allergens by building up immunity. Regular exposure to small amounts of the allergen can help your body become less sensitive over time. This is called desensitization therapy and involves having regular injections with increasing doses of the allergen over a period of time. This form of treatment should only be undertaken under medical supervision because it has been known to cause anaphylaxis in some cases.

Causes of Dog Allergies

There are many potential causes for dog allergies, some of which can be environmental and others genetic. Environmental factors include coming into contact with dog dander, saliva or urine, as well as exposure to dust mites or pollens that the pet may have been exposed to. Genetics also play a role in whether an individual is naturally more sensitive to allergens found in dogs. Additionally, those with a family history of allergies may be more likely to develop an allergy after being exposed to a dog. It is important to note that any breed of dog can cause allergies; however, certain breeds such as poodles and terriers tend to trigger less severe reactions than other breeds.

Some dog breeds are worse than others when it comes to causing allergies:

  • Bulldog
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Pekingese
  • Pug
  • Saint Bernard
  • Siberian Husky

Fortunately for dog lovers, there are also several breeds that do not cause allergies:

  • Afghan Hound
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Chinese Crested
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Irish Water Spaniel

Symptoms of Dog Allergies

Symptoms of dog allergies typically present themselves after exposure to the allergens found in a dog’s fur, saliva, dander, or urine. These symptoms can include sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and skin irritation. In more severe cases, an individual may experience wheezing or difficulty breathing and should seek medical attention immediately. Other signs of an allergic reaction can include hives or swelling around the face, mouth, and throat. It is important to note that these symptoms may not appear immediately after contact with a pet but may take several hours before they become noticeable.

Can You Build Up an Immunity to Dog Allergies?

Unfortunately, there is no way to build up an immunity to dog allergies. Allergies are caused by an immune system that overreacts to a harmless substance, such as pet dander or saliva. Although avoidance of contact with the allergen is the best way to prevent symptoms, it is not always possible. However, there are some treatments available that can help alleviate the symptoms of a dog allergy. These include medications such as antihistamines and corticosteroids, as well as immunotherapy which helps to desensitize individuals over time. It is important for someone who suffers from allergies to consult their doctor for advice on how best to manage their condition.

Are There Any Treatments for Dog Allergies?

For individuals who suffer from dog allergies, there are a variety of treatments available. The most common is avoidance of contact with the allergen, however, this may not always be possible. Medications such as antihistamines and corticosteroids can help to alleviate symptoms, while immunotherapy can help to desensitize patients over time. In some cases, allergy shots may also be recommended to reduce the body’s sensitivity to the allergen. It is important for those suffering from dog allergies to consult their doctor for advice on which treatment plan is best suited for them. With the right treatment, it is possible to manage dog allergies and live an active and healthy lifestyle.

Living With a Dog That Triggers Your Allergies

Cohabiting with a pup that causes allergic reactions can be tough, but there are measures you can take to make it more bearable. Creating a “dog-free zone” in your home is one way to reduce allergen exposure. This area should have no carpets or rugs and furniture should be covered with washable fabric covers. Wash bedding weekly in hot water and vacuum frequently using a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. 

Home renovation projects like installing hardwood floors and replacing blinds or curtains with washable shades can help minimize allergens around the house. To further reduce allergens, regularly wipe down surfaces, dust, wash pet beds, bathe the dogs, and brush their fur outside. 

If these measures aren’t enough for managing your symptoms then consider immunotherapy, a process by which one develops immunity against specific allergens by increasing doses of an allergen over time under the supervision of an allergy specialist.

When investigating alternative therapies for pet allergies, be careful and get advice from competent experts. Although acupuncture and herbal remedies may offer some relief, these methods do not always guarantee success — particularly in cases of severe allergic reactions which worsen upon contact with certain breeds of dogs.


Can You Build Natural Immunity to Dog Allergies?
No. Allergies are an immune system response that you cannot change or control. The only ways to reduce the effects of a dog allergy are to stay away from them, minimize allergens in the air, and seek medical assistance such as antihistamines or immunotherapy if needed.

Can You Overcome Dog Allergies by Exposure?
No. The body’s defense system can sometimes act unusually when exposed to particular substances, such as pet dander from cats or dogs, leading to allergic reactions. Exposure may reduce symptoms of an allergy in some cases but will not eliminate the underlying cause and can even worsen existing allergies if proper precautions are not taken. To effectively control pet-related allergies, avoid contact with animals, use an air purifier, and take medications prescribed by a physician.

Is There a Way To Become Un-allergic to Dogs?
No. Immune reactions are responsible for allergies and, unfortunately, there is no way to undo or avert them. However, there are ways to manage allergies related to dogs such as avoiding contact with them and taking medication when necessary. Additionally, air purifiers can help reduce the amount of allergens in the home, which may lessen symptoms.


It is possible to build up an immunity to dog allergies, but it takes dedication and patience. Allergy sufferers should take preventative measures such as keeping their home clean, using air purifiers with HEPA filters, and avoiding contact with the specific breed of dog that triggers their allergy symptoms. With these steps in place, over time people may be able to reduce or even eliminate the allergic reactions they experience when around dogs. Only you can decide if building up an immunity is worth the effort, but for those who are willing to put in the work there’s a chance to live happily alongside man’s best friend.

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