Can You Die Of A Dog Allergy?

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

People can be highly allergic to dogs, but can a person be so allergic to dogs that simply being in the presence of a dog would kill them? Some people claim that their dog allergies can be deadly.

Recently, a woman was reported to have been forcibly removed from a Southwest flight after claiming she was deathly allergic to dogs. The 46-year-old woman saw two dogs on the flight, one of which was a service dog, and demanded that they be taken off the plane. When the woman would not follow airline staff requests for her to get off the plane, the pilot called the police and had officers remove her from the plane. This created a bit of a scandal in the news and posed an interesting question. If you are allergic to dogs can you really die from just being in the same room or area as a dog? Can a pet allergy be deadly without actual physical contact between pet and human?

Pet allergies are not generally deadly but anaphylactic shock can be. Anaphylactic shock can be defined as a life-threatening and sometimes fatal allergic reaction.

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. It typically causes more than one of the following: an itchy rash, throat or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure. These symptoms typically come on over minutes to hours.

Most people who are at risk of anaphylactic shock are aware of their condition and take precautions. Someone who knows they have allergies this severe would usually carry around an Epi-pen in case of life-threatening situations and also wear a life alert bracelet or other identification making others aware of their condition should they be found unconscious. Allergens that most often cause anaphylactic shock are insect bites or stings, drugs such as vaccinations, peanuts, shellfish, or chemicals like latex. 

There have been rare, idiopathic, or one time instances, of anaphylactic shock occurring in humans after physical contact with a dog.  However, most allergists do not list anaphylactic shock as a possible allergy symptom of coming into contact with dogs. 

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

The good news is, if you are at risk of having a severe allergic reaction to a dog, it most likely won’t be a deadly one. People with severe allergies to dogs may experience hives, sneezing, itching, and trouble breathing when coming into contact with a dog after a few minutes. If you feel allergy symptoms after coming into contact with a dog it’s a good idea to remove yourself from the situation or seek an over the counter drug like Benadryl. If your allergies are severe your doctor may also prescribe stronger allergy medications, or an Epi pen if deemed necessary. If you are allergic to dogs and traveling, it’s a good idea to carry a breathing mask with you since many airports and trains have both security and emotional support dogs, as well as service dogs and pets traveling with their humans. Better to be safe than miserable the whole trip.

Despite the lack of medical evidence, there are still people who claim that a dog allergy can be deadly for humans and everyone should use common sense when they have any allergy or medical condition. Dog allergies can definitely make you miserable and if you ever have trouble breathing seek medical attention. 

If you have dog allergies and you feel like they are becoming more and more severe, schedule an appointment with your allergist.

Do you or anyone you know suffer from a severe dog allergy? Have you ever heard of a dog allergy being deadly to someone? Let us know in the comments.

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