Many recent studies have shown that interaction with dogs causes a huge increase in oxytocin or love hormone levels while alleviating stress. Not only are dogs great companions but also a source of comfort for their human parents.
However, as loving as dogs are, they can pose a serious threat to your health especially if you own a highly allergenic breed, such as the Bulldog or a Boston Terrier. Is dog hair bad for humans and their health? Below we will tackle how allergens and diseases get transferred and how to prevent your pet from affecting your well-being.
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Is Dog Hair Bad For You?
Many people assume that a hypoallergenic dog won’t trigger any allergies or pose any threat to their health. However, hypoallergenic breeds have non-shedding coats that only make them less allergenic than excessive shedding breeds.
Furthermore, there is no dog breed that does not cause allergies in humans. It’s just that certain breeds are less irritating than others. It’s also possible that you have become immune to certain types of allergies due to repeated exposure.
How Can Dog Hair Make You Sick?
While allergens are also found in a dog’s saliva and urine, most pet allergies are caused by pet dander which are dead flakes of skin your canine sheds. Exposure to these can trigger an allergic reaction and a wide range of responses in your body, such as soreness in the throat, breathing problems, and itchiness. Here’s how dog and pet hair can affect human health:
Dogs harbor various types of human pathogens. While dogs rarely transmit viruses to humans, bacteria can easily spread from dogs to humans. The most dangerous bacteria that you can catch from dog dander are E. coli and Salmonella, both of which can lead to hospitalization and be fatal.
Parasites can also make their way into your animal’s skin, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. You can easily catch parasites from your canine if you are heedless of its hygiene.
Fleas are one of the worst parasites that your canine can infect you with. Flea bites not only damage your skin but also cause extreme irritation. Even worse, they may spread life-threatening diseases.
People with asthma are highly susceptible to pet allergies. This is because your pet’s dander carries dead skin cell proteins that can aggravate asthma symptoms. These small dead skin flakes from dog fur or cat hair can remain airborne for prolonged periods.
Though any person can pick up an allergy because of dog dander, asthma sufferers can have stronger reactions to these allergens, particularly if they own double-coated breeds. If you have asthma, exposure to dog dander can lead to chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, and even full-blown asthma attacks.
However, dog dander does not affect every person with asthma in the same way. Some people with asthma can keep dogs, while others can’t.
Tapeworms, hookworms, and scabies are some of the infectious diseases that can be found in your pet’s hair. Some of the most dangerous forms of hookworm that can infect dogs include Uncinaria stenocephala, Ancylostoma brasiliense, and Ancylostoma caninum.
Hookworms are present in the feces of dogs, so any contact with your canine’s poop can lead to an infection. As hookworm is primarily an intestinal parasite, you can develop intestinal disease due to infection.
The parasite can also cause cutaneous larva migrans (CLM), a skin condition characterized by red lesions having serpentine patterns. Pet bites and scratches are the largest health risk when it comes to contracting infections from dogs and cats.
Even if you don’t come in contact with your pooch’s poop, you can still get an allergy because of its fur. According to the American lung association, many pet owners suffer from allergies without being aware of them.
Not all allergies are life-threatening; some may cause mild symptoms like irritation in the eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose. Even the most hypoallergenic dogs can cause these symptoms if you don’t limit your exposure to dog fur.
What Diseases Can Humans Get From Dogs Hair?
Humans can catch a variety of diseases from dog hair including contact dermatitis, urticaria, and respiratory issues. Contact dermatitis is characterized by the formation of itchy blisters on the skin.
Your skin can even get inflamed or cracked. Dark skin can become purple due to this condition, while lighter skin can turn red. Urticaria, on the other hand, refers to itchy red bumps that form on the skin due to contact with allergens in dog dander.
Why You Shouldn’t Sleep With Dogs
There are many reasons why sleeping with your pooch is not a good idea. Dogs carry a lot of germs which can more easily get transferred to you if you sleep with them.
Besides the risk of infection and allergies, dogs are awful bedfellows. Not only will they disturb your sleep by snoring loudly but may also end up going to the bathroom in your bed.
Moreover, sleeping with your dog can become an impediment to its training as it will start lacking discipline.
Does Dog Hair Affect Human Lungs?
Dog hair carries harmful chemicals that can cause inflammation in the human lung lining or scars in the airways upon inhalation. Both of these conditions can contribute to serious lung conditions.
Furthermore, dog fur can trigger full-blown attacks in asthma sufferers. When germs and allergens from dog dander enter your body, they make your immune system hyperactive, producing a chemical called histamine.
Due to the release of histamine, you feel mild respiratory symptoms like sneezing or a runny nose.
While dogs are a man’s true companions, they can also be the source of some serious diseases. Becoming aware of the health risks associated with your pet is the first preventative step you can take to keep your home clean and health safe. With the right precautions, you are very unlikely to catch an infection or allergy from dog hair. This involves keeping pet hair remover tools nearby and constantly keeping your surroundings clean from fur and dander.