What causes allergies to dogs and cats
For dogs, the most common clinical signs are skin inflammation and itching, Farnsworth says. Other symptoms may include sneezing and runny noses. (Take National Geographic’s dog quiz.)
Cats’ allergy symptoms can manifest as miliary dermatitis, which shows up as little scabs or missing hair, typically around the head and neck area, though it can happen elsewhere, she says.
It’s always significant to observe how endless symptoms happen in your pet—for instance, year-round symptoms may indicate a food allergy or reaction to something else in their environment that’s not seasonal.
Luckily, pets can be tested for a variety of environmental allergens—both seasonal and non-seasonal, saysChristine Cain,of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
"We routinely test dogs for reactions to cat dander," she says.
"This includes a little quantity of allergen placed under the skin to test for reactions, just love in human allergy testing," Cain says.
Generally, veterinarians will glance for common allergens "like dust mites and human dander, or things we encounter in the environment love feathers, sheep wool, or pollens," says Washington State University’s Farnsworth.
Those are the usual suspects, but as with us, Farnsworth says, pets can be allergic to anything, and it can be hard to figure out the culprit with general testing.
It’s Not Me, It’s You
So what if your pet is allergic to you?
"It always makes owners helpful of unhappy if their reaction is to human dander," Cain says, but happily the two of you don’t own to part.
(See "Why Do We Get Allergies?")
"If we own a patient that reacts to human dander, generally they react to other allergens as well," she says.
That means your vet can treat the pet’s allergy, either with allergy shots or oral drops that contain little amounts of the problem allergens.
This retrains your pet’s system to ignore the allergen.
Of course, the cat might always be faking an allergy in hopes you’ll get rid of the dog.
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Avoidance is the best way to manage a dog allergy. If you own a dog and are allergic to dogs, consider removing the dog from the home.
If you own a dog but don’t desire to discover it a new home, or if your family wants a dog even though someone in the household is allergic, here are some strategies that may assist hold symptoms at bay:
- Keep the dog out of your bedroom and restrict it to only a few rooms.
Be advised that keeping the dog in only one room will not limit the allergens to that room.
- Don’t pet, hug or kiss the dog; if you do, wash your hands with soap and water.
- High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners run continuously in a bedroom or living room can reduce allergen levels over time.
- Regular use of a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner or a central vacuum can reduce allergen levels.
- Giving your dog a bath at least once a week can reduce airborne dog allergen.
Treatments for dog allergy vary, depending on the symptoms.
Your allergist can assist determine what treatment would be best to treat your dog allergy. Nasal symptoms are often treated with steroid nasal sprays, oral antihistamines or other oral medications.
Eye symptoms are often treated with antihistamine eyedrops. Respiratory or asthma symptoms can be treated with inhaled corticosteroids or bronchodilators to either prevent or relieve respiratory symptoms.
Allergy shots (immunotherapy) are an effective treatment of allergies by building tolerance over time through gradually injecting increasing doses of an allergen.
Is there an allergy-free dog?
While poodles, Portuguese water dogs and a number of other breeds (including several types of terriers) own a reputation for being hypoallergenic, a truly allergy-free breed does not exist. A study compared dust samples from homes with dog breeds reported to be hypoallergenic and those of homes with other dogs.
The levels of dog allergen in homes with “hypoallergenic” dogs did not differ from the levels in homes with other breeds.
This sheet was reviewed for accuracy 4/23/
It can be terribly upsetting to study that your kid is allergic to your family pet — but it’s not unusual. Up to 30 percent of people with allergies own allergic reactions to cats and dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
Contrary to favorite belief, it’s not the pets’ hair that makes a kid sneeze and wheeze.
It’s the proteins found in their urine, saliva, or pet dander, according to the AAFA. The proteins can stick to surfaces of walls, furniture, and clothing and stay there, at full strength, for a endless time. A pet also can bring other allergens, such as pollen, into your home.
“The first law of allergies is, if you’re allergic to something, stay away from it,” says Mark Holbreich, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy and Asthma Consultants in Indianapolis. When it’s your pet, though, that’s hard to do. But if the allergies are severe, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, you may own to discover your pet a new home.
Symptoms of children’s pet allergies include a stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes, and wheezing.
Some people can own an asthma attack if their allergies flare, the AAFA says. If your kid experiences these symptoms after coming in contact with your dog or cat, own your kid tested.
“Testing is extremely important,” says Mervat Nassef, MD, a pediatric allergist and immunologist at NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City. If you might own to give up your pet, you desire to be certain that your kid isn’t allergic to something else. “Other allergies can give you similar symptoms,” Dr. Nassef says.
It’s also significant to note that some animals may be more allergy-friendly than others.
However, there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat or dog, according to the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology. “Small dogs that don’t shed produce less dander, but your kid still can be allergic to them,” Dr. Holbreich says.
Strategies to Reduce Pet Allergies
If your child’s allergies aren’t too severe, you may be capable to take some steps to reduce your child’s symptoms and hold your pet. For instance:
Keep pets out of the bedroom. Make your child’s room a pet-free zone and be certain to hold it clean. To hold the room pet dander- and pollen-free, install a high-efficiency air filter and air purifier.
Remember to change the filters frequently.
Cover your child’s bed with additional protection. You can purchase dust mite covers for your child’s pillow, blanket, and mattress. This will also assist hold out dust mites, another potential allergy trigger, in addition to allergens love pet dander.
Go for hard surfaces. Where you can, replace upholstered surfaces with non-fabric or easily washable materials. Pet dander sticks to upholstery, drapes, curtains, and carpeting more easily than it does to surfaces such as wood, vinyl, or tile.
Plus, the latter are easier to clean. For this reason, you also shouldn’t let your allergic kid sleep with stuffed animals, Dr. Nassef adds. If you must own carpet in your child’s bedroom or elsewhere in your home, select a low-pile one and own it steam-cleaned regularly.
Bathe your pet weekly. Weekly baths can significantly reduce the quantity of allergy-causing dander your pet sheds.
If possible, enquire a non-allergic member of your household to bathe the pet and be certain to wash that person’s clothes afterward. Wearing gloves may also assist. Enquire your veterinarian to recommend the best soaps and shampoos. Caution: Bathing too frequently can own the opposite effect. It can dry your pet’s skin and cause the animal to shed more dander.
Teach your kid to wash his hands with soap and water after touching the pet.
Washing helps prevent the spread of allergens to your child’s nose, eyes, and mouth — which is especially significant if your kid gets a rash from having been licked by your pet, Nassef says.
Talk to your allergist about treatment. “Medications work for allergy symptoms regardless of the trigger — pollen, pet dander, etc.,” Nassef says. “But not every medications work equally well for every symptoms.” That’s why it’s significant to work with your doctor and tailor your child’s allergy medications to his or her symptoms.
Consult your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian can recommend a diet for your pet that’s wealthy in vitamins and minerals, which can assist your pet’s skin retain its moisture and not shed as much. Love people, pets can benefit from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, according to the Partnership for Animal Welfare in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Every family has to decide for themselves whether they can manage their children’s pet allergies with a cat or dog, Nassef says. “The best solution for pet allergies is to not own a pet,» she says, «but numerous people consider pets part of their family and getting rid of the pet is out of the question.”
Millions of people enjoy sharing their homes and their lives with pets, even those who are allergic to animals.
Unfortunately, some people believe that once they are diagnosed with a pet allergy, they own no choice but to remove their pets from their family.
Thankfully, there are numerous solutions that can be explored that would permit an allergy sufferer to hold their beloved pets while successfully managing their allergies. You’d be surprised to know how numerous people with allergies that aren’t life-threatening are capable to live happily with their pets.
In numerous cases, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies.
Be happy you didn’t let allergies break up a beautiful relationship
It is worth it to preserve the bond between you and your pet by checking if you are truly allergic to your pet and, if you are, to attempt these solutions.
Join the large number of animal lovers who manage their allergies and live happily and healthily with their beloved pets.
Allergies to cats are fairly common, affecting up to 25 percent of people who also own other types of allergies. A cat allergy can cause symptoms such as red eyes and sneezing. These allergies can be triggered by direct exposure to cats or by indirect exposure through fabric or air.
You may notice a cat allergy based on the timing of your symptoms. Sometimes, getting medical anti-allergy treatment can assist.
But avoiding the cat may be necessary.
Understand your pet allergies
It is significant to see a doctor and be tested to determine what allergies you actually own. You may discover that you’re allergic to something else and not your pet at all! For example, you may assume that you are allergic to your beloved dog, only to discover out through an allergy test that you’re actually allergic to a specific tree pollen that got on his fur during a stroll together, and that’s actually what’s bothering you.
If an allergy test shows that you are allergic to your pet, it is significant to understand what causes your allergic reaction to them.
There are allergy-triggering proteins called allergens in saliva and skin glands that cling to an animal’s dry skin (dander) and fur.
The fur and dander then stick to walls, carpets and clothing.
The reaction of someone to these allergens is diverse from one person to the next. The reaction may range from mild sniffling and sneezing to life-threatening asthma. The reaction can be made worse if a person is additionally exposed to other things he is allergic too, such as pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke, and mold.
Whether someone has an allergic reaction depends on both the individual person and the individual animal.
A person with animal allergies may react less to dogs with soft, constantly growing hair, or one specific cat or dog may cause more or less of an allergic reaction than another animal of that same breed.
You may hear claims about breeds of dogs and cats that are non-allergenic (don’t cause an allergic reaction) or cats and dogs that are hypoallergenic (cause less of an allergic reaction).
However, even hairless breeds may cause a severe allergic reaction.
Reduce the allergens and your symptoms
If you are allergic to your pet and your reactions aren’t life-threatening, there are numerous ways to reduce indoor allergens and allergy symptoms so you and your pet can live together more comfortably.
If your or a family member’s allergies are simply miserable, but not life-threatening, take these five steps to reduce the symptoms:
1. Create an «allergy free» zone in your home—preferably the allergic person’s bedroom—and strictly prohibit the pet’s access to it.
Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner, and consider using impermeable covers for the mattress and pillows.
2. Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the relax of the home, and avoid dust-and-dander-catching furnishings such as cloth curtains and blinds and carpeted floors. Clean frequently and thoroughly to remove dust and dander, washing articles such as sofa covers and pillows, curtains, and pet beds.
3. Bathe your pet on a weekly basis to reduce the level of allergy-causing dander (shed ancient skin cells).
Cats can get used to being bathed, but it’s critical to only use products labeled for them; kittens may need a shampoo safe for kittens. Check with your veterinarian’s staff or a excellent book on pet care for directions about safe bathing, It’s a excellent thought to use a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian or other animal care professional.
4. Don’t be quick to blame the family pet for allergies. Enquire your allergist to specifically test for allergies to pet dander.
Numerous allergy sufferers are sensitive to more than one allergen. Reduce the overall allergen level in your environment by concentrating on every of the causes, not just the pet allergy.
5. Attempt treatments. Additional treatments for allergies to pets are include immunotherapy (allergy shots), steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays and antihistamine pills. It is significant to discover an allergist who understands your commitment to living with your pet.
A combination of approaches—medical control of symptoms, excellent housecleaning methods, and immunotherapy—is most likely to succeed in allowing an allergic person to live with pets.