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What are Carpet Allergies?

Skin allergies are an overactive reaction of the immune system to a protein that the body sees as an intruder. The specialized cells that the body uses to fight these invaders are called mast cells, and when they are activated, they release histamine, which has an inflammatory effect on the tissues it comes into contact with. This can result in the itchy and inflamed skin conditions characteristic of an allergic reaction in canines. Carpet allergies may be related to the components of the carpet itself, or they may be due to something that the carpet was treated or infested with.

Allergies to carpet may be due to either the materials that make up the carpet or to something that is in or on the carpet. If your pet is displaying symptoms like irritated skin, coughing, or has bald patches on his body, a veterinarian visit is warranted.

Carpet Allergies Average Cost

From 470 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Carpet Allergies in Dogs

Skin reactions that are not located at the contact location are often concentrated around the face and groin, under the front legs, or between the toes.

  • Bald patches
  • Blister-like lesions
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Chronically inflamed feet
  • Coughing 
  • Face rubbing
  • Head shaking
  • Hives
  • Obsessive licking
  • Paw biting
  • Skin infections
  • Skin rashes
  • Ulcerations on skin
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing

Types

Many components used in the manufacture of carpets and rugs may cause allergies.

Natural elements 

Cotton - Although cotton carpeting was popular before World War II, it is not common any longer as it is difficult to maintain. Cotton is currently used more frequently in the manufacturing of area rugs.

Latex - Many carpets are backed with latex, which can cause a reaction in allergic animals and people.

Wool - Carpets with a significant percentage of wool are still made but are expensive compared to fully synthetic options.

Synthetic materials

Nylon - Nylon makes a durable and resilient carpet fiber, and it is very rare to develop an allergy to nylon.

Polyester - Polyester is often utilized for its coloration options, and its fade and stain resistance. Polyester may be more allergenic than other synthetic materials.

Polypropylene - An inexpensive fiber used for its stain resistant properties. Allergies are rare with this fiber.

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Causes of Carpet Allergies in Dogs

The materials in the carpet are not the only cause of allergies. Other possible sources of allergens that may be either in or on the carpet itself can include:

  • Carpet treatments - Treatments to make your carpet more stain resistant, such as perfluorinated compounds and formaldehyde may cause either allergic or irritant contact dermatitis
  • Dust mites - Many dogs are allergic to dust mites and carpets are great places for them to gather 
  • Fleas - Fleas are one of the most common causes of skin allergies in canines, and they can easily hide in the carpet
  • Harsh carpet cleaners - Cleaning products can include chemicals such as propylene glycol which may instigate allergic reactions
  • Molds and Mildews - In some cases molds and mildews may form in the carpet or carpet padding 

Pets and infants are more likely to develop problems related to these issues than other members of the household. This is because their faces are closer to the floor to inhale allergens and because they have more skin contact with the carpet itself.

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Diagnosis of Carpet Allergies in Dogs

The allergy symptoms that your dog exhibits during the general physical should prompt your veterinarian to collect a skin sample by very carefully scraping the skin cells from the animal. The samples obtained will then be examined by a microscope, and an evaluation of the skin cells will be completed. This process is called a cutaneous cytology and is completed in order to search for problems like mites or yeast infections. Allergies to the carpet can manifest anywhere on your dog’s body, although reactions from skin allergies often cluster around the face and groin areas, as well as under the front legs and between the toes. If an allergen in your pet’s environment is suspected, your veterinarian may recommend an intradermal skin test. Miniscule amounts of the suspected allergens are injected under the skin in a particular pattern so that a localized reaction can be induced and recorded.

However, if the allergy is to a synthetic fiber, it may not be included in the standard allergens tested for as synthetic materials are not a common allergen for dogs or humans. A detailed history of your canine’s health and a timeline of symptoms may be more beneficial to finding an accurate diagnosis.  Many doctors will try to eliminate suspected allergens from the patient's environment in order to diagnose which allergen is causing the reaction.

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Treatment of Carpet Allergies in Dogs

Antihistamines are generally effective in humans but are only useful for approximately twenty to thirty percent of dogs and tend to lose effectiveness over time. Hydrocortisone shampoos and salves can cause gastrointestinal distress if swallowed, but are often effective in relieving skin discomfort. If these antihistamines  and hydrocortisone treatments are not successful in reducing the symptoms, then corticosteroid injections or oral tablets may be recommended. These medications are more powerful, and usually very effective in reducing the signs of allergy, but the side effects can be distressing. Short-term use of corticosteroid therapy generally only results in mild symptoms, ranging from increased thirst to diarrhea. 

The long-term side-effects can contribute much more to severe disorders such as liver dysfunction and diabetes, so monitoring of the blood chemistry levels is critical to catch these types of development early, before permanent damage occurs. The chances of developing a problem increase with dosage so the lowest effective dose should always be employed. Immunotherapy may be another option for animals that are bothered by unavoidable or severe allergic reactions, especially in canines with  indicators that are present for at least four to six months of the year and resistant to antihistamines, however, immunotherapy injections have returned mixed results, depending quite a bit on which allergen is causing the reaction. Recent advancements have been made in sublingual immunotherapy and trials appear promising

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Recovery of Carpet Allergies in Dogs

Your veterinarian will be able to give you specific instructions on how to best treat the symptoms until you are able to eliminate the particular allergen from the environment or until immunotherapy treatments begin working. Instructions regarding oral and topical medication should be followed faithfully, and administration of these preparations may need to be continued, even after the signs and symptoms seem to have disappeared. Bacterial infections are common with skin allergies and in those cases, antibiotics will need to be prescribed. Prematurely quitting these medications before any bacterial infections have been completely eradicated may cause the infection to reoccur.

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Carpet Allergies Average Cost

From 470 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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Carpet Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Yorkiepoo

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Severe Itching, Feels Hot, Red Patches On Shin

I sprayed carpet freshener spray on carpet.. Shes showing signs of allergic reaction. Lethargic. Please help , not sure how to help her or what to do. Severely Itching and chewing her body. How do i get the carpet fresh back out of floor?

Sept. 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Hello, You can try Benadryl at 1mg per pound to help with the itching. Also giving her a bath will help remove whatever she is allergic to from being on her skin. If this continues or gets worse, it would be best to see a vet. They can give her shots to help decrease the allergic reaction. The only way to get the carpet fresh out of the carpet it to shampoo your carpet. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

Sept. 13, 2020

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Pit Bull/Lab

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Scooting On Carpet

When ever my dog goes on carpet she starts scratching her rear on the carpet and it looks like she uncomfortable

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. I have a couple different thoughts on this. One and the most likely is that she needs her anal glands expressed, and she is scooting on the carpet to try and assist with that. The other possibility is she has allergies. Allergies in dogs tends to present with generalized itching as well as skin and ear infections. So she may just be itchy back there and relieving the itch by scooting on the carpet. I would recommend scheduling an appointment with your vet to have her anal glands expressed. If the itching continues then at that point I would recommend having a consult with your vet regarding allergy medications.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Carpet Allergies Average Cost

From 470 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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