Dog allergies or cat allergies are an unfortunate reality for many a pet lover. It’s too bad that many of us have to suffer through itchy eyes and the sniffles while other animal enthusiasts can just enjoy the joy of spending time with four-legged buddies. In fact, one of the top reasons people surrender pets to shelters is dog allergies or cat allergies, so it’s good to know some of the best ways to alleviate, or at least partially ease, this common affliction. Here’s our guide on dog and cat allergies!
The Cause of Cat and Dog Allergies
Someone might have told you that the cause of pet allergies is fur, but this is likely incorrect information. In fact, most animal experts believe that the cause is actually dander or saliva. And even “hypoallergenic” dogs and cats have saliva and dander, which is flakes of dead skin. This is important to note since many people adopt a low-shed or hairless pet believing that will cure their pet allergies. Some folks find their allergies go away with these pets, but this isn’t true for everyone.
Actually even two pets of the same breed can give off different levels of an allergen. Basically this could mean that some people might do worse with one Labrador Retriever than another. What does this all mean? If you have allergies, you need to meet a pet in person before adopting them. You just never know how your allergies will respond to an animal.
The Signs and Symptoms of Pet Allergies
Animal allergies are generally a nasal allergy. This means that signs and symptoms will be similar to those of other nasal allergies, such as allergies to dust and pollen. These symptoms are frequently cold-like. You might have pet allergies if you experience any of these symptoms when around dogs or cats:
- Nasal congestion (a runny or stuffed-up nose)
- Red or itchy eyes
These respiratory issues usually aren’t severe. However, they’re still not very pleasant and they can ruin a perfectly good trip to the dog park or cat cafe. Asthma tends to aggravate and worsen the symptoms. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing other severe symptoms, you need to see a physician. Pet allergies also sometimes manifest as a skin allergy. These symptoms can include red or itchy skin and hives.
Cat and Dog Allergy Treatments
Luckily there are several ways to get rid of your allergy symptoms or at least just lessen them:
- Try medication. There are several varieties of medication for allergies, both over the counter and prescription. Some people find decongestants, antihistamines, nasal steroids or allergy shots greatly help their allergies.
- Clean your house! Okay, vacuuming isn’t fun, but a serious deep cleaning at home can ease your suffering in a big way. Get a really good vacuum, you might want to try one specifically for pet fur and hair. Make sure it has a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter. Then clean your house often. It doesn’t take long for dander and saliva to settle into the carpets, rugs, drapes and upholstered furniture.
- Groom your pets. Brush your pets, give them a bath or use special wipes that are specifically for reducing animal allergies. If that sounds exhausting, have them groomed at Adopt & Shop!
- Look into air filters. Regularly change your air filters and keep them clean!
- Limit where your pets go. Keep your pets off the furniture and don’t let them into your bedroom so you can breathe easy while you sleep.
- Look at your pet’s diet. Talk to your vet about switching up your pet’s diet to “change” their dander. Sometimes easy-to-digest ingredients change how your pet’s skin is processed.
Thanks for reading and we hope you found this article helpful. If you’re not sure where to begin, call your doctor and veterinarian!