Did you know that almost 25% of the more than 54 million dogs in the U.S. that have received professional vet care are found to have some form of an allergy or other immunological disorder? One of the most common types of dog allergies is the inhalant type. This known as atopy. Included in the list of these allergens are:
- the common dust mite
Dust mites are tiny, microscopic creatures that belong to the family of eight-legged creatures called arachnids. Also included in this family are other familiar household pests:
Dust mites enjoy warm, moist environments such as the inside of your mattress, your pillow or seat cushion on your couch. They make meals of dander (which is human and animal skin flakes), so they thrive in places where there are both people and animals. Fortunately dust mites don’t bite, they do not spread disease and usually don’t make their home on people or pets. They are harmful only to people and pets that become allergic to them.
When dogs are allergic to dust mites they generally react to the proteins in the bodies and feces of the dust mite. These fecal particles are found in the highest concentrations in:
- upholstered furniture
There may be as many as 19,000 dust mites in one gram of dust, but usually 100-500 mites live in each gram – which is about the weight of a paper clip.
Even though you may be a clean freak, most home environments support a population of the common house dust mite. Small population are not cause for concern as they do not contribute to allergic reaction in dogs. Large populations, however, will contribute to the allergic disease process. Unfortunately almost 44% of U.S. households have dust mite levels in specific locations to contribute to allergic sensations and ultimately the presence of symptoms in our pets.
There are many options to diagnose and treat dust mites and other allergens known to effect dogs.
The single best step is consult your vet for testing and treatment options.