Pet Allergy

What is a Pet Allergy?

A Pet Allergy is an adverse reaction to the proteins that are naturally found in a pet’s saliva, urine, or skin cells.

This type of reaction is triggered when an allergic individual is exposed to dander shed by a pet. Any animal that has fur could be a cause for pet allergies, but these reactions are most often associated with dogs and cats.

What are the Symptoms of a Pet Allergy?

Common symptoms of pet allergy include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing, difficulty breathing, and signs of asthma
  • Inflamed eyes
  • Intense rash on upper chest, neck, and face (if you’re highly sensitive)
  • Asthma attacks in those with asthma

These symptoms can occur when allergens end up landing on the membranes lining your nose and eyes. Therefore, you may notice that these membranes begin to itch and may become swollen. In fact, it’s quite common for your eyes to start itching after you pet your dog or cat and then touch your eyes. Also, if a pet licks or scratches your skin, the area affected might become red.

In the event that the allergen levels are low or your sensitivity to the allergens is low, your symptoms might not become apparent until you’re in contact with the animal for a few days.

Breathing problems, particularly severe breathing issues, could occur as a result of airborne particles that get into your lungs. If you’re highly sensitive, you’ll start wheezing and coughing, and you might experience shortness of breath 15-30 minutes after inhalation of the allergens.

Pet Allergy Causes

Pet allergies are generally associated with late exposure to pets. People who were not exposed to animals at a young age are at high risk of developing pet allergies, although there are cases of people who were exposed to pets as children who develop it. The likelihood of developing an allergy to pets varies between different species. Some pets are more likely to cause pet allergies than others. Dogs, cats, and birds appear to be the pets most often associated with allergies. This is due to the shedding of hair and feathers these animals present. Animals that do not shed, such as lizards, are seldom associated with pet allergies. Pet allergies are sometimes associated with the introduction of clothing rather than pets themselves. Clothing made from animal materials is strongly associated with the development of allergies. Fur coats and feather hats are examples of clothing that may cause allergies.

How is a Pet Allergy Treated?

The best ways to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid, or at least reduce, your exposure to animals that cause your pet allergy. However, there are treatments and medications that can help manage your condition and relieve your symptoms.

Pet Allergy Prevention

Early and frequent exposure to pets is one of the best ways to keep children from developing allergies. Parents do not necessarily need to buy a pet for their child either. Simply exposing a child to a friend or family member’s pet is enough for the immune system to do its work. This approach can have its difficulties. For example, while exposing children to dogs may help protect them against dog allergies, it obviously won’t help them with owl allergy or allergies against any other animal. Children must be exposed to a large variety of animals to protect them. Preventing allergies in adults who have not been exposed to pets can be difficult, but it is far from impossible. Gradual exposure through petting and other activities can eventually lead to a situation in which pets no longer seem to threaten the immune system of vulnerable persons. This method may take time, but it is feasible.

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Last Reviewed:
October 08, 2016
Last Updated:
December 28, 2017