There is nothing worse than developing an allergy to the pet you love and adore! What can you do when pet allergies are coming between you and your pet?
Below are 7 simple tips for addressing pet allergies!
Pet Allergies? You Are Not Alone!
Allergies to pets with fur (and even feathers) are quite common, particularly if you already suffer from other allergies or asthma. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), 3 in 10 people with other pre-existing allergies will also suffer allergic reactions to other pets. Pets including felines, canines, rodents, rabbits, birds (from mites), and in rare instances, horses.
“Cat allergies are twice as common as allergies to K9s.” (AAFA)
What Causes Pet Allergies?
Pet allergies are your immune system’s reaction to your pet’s:
- Sweat; and
These substances are called allergens. People challenged with pet allergies have over-sensitive immune systems trying to protect the body from foreign substances identified as “harmful.”
Note: Your pet’s hair or fur is not an allergen. It is the dander, saliva, sweat, and urine collected and trapped in their fur. These substances cause your immune system to create antibodies to protect you. Your pet’s fur can also trap other allergens like mold and pollen.
Pet Allergies: Common Symptoms
- Swollen and itchy eyes and nose membranes
- A congested or runny nose
- An itchy roof of the mouth and/or throat
- Irritated skin from a pet scratch or lick
- A rash on the face, neck, and upper chest in overly sensitive people
- Breathing problems from airborne allergens inside the lungs
- Coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath after just 15-30 minutes of exposure
- Chest tightness or pain
7 Tips for Dealing with Pet Allergies
- Neuter your pet; it reduces allergen production in cats and dogs!
- Cleaning more often can help reduce allergen levels and your reaction to them. Consider bare floors, low-pile carpet that can be easily steam-cleaned, and low-pile rugs that can be washed in hot water to remove all allergens. Remember, pet allergens are everywhere, collecting on furniture, walls, clothing, and other surfaces. They also can remain at exceedingly high levels for months. They can also stay suspended in the air for long periods after vacuuming or dusting.
- Wear a mask when vacuuming (use a vacuum with a HEPA filter) and dusting to protect your nose and eyes. Shower and change clothes after cleaning.
- Winter can make any pet allergies worse from spending more time in closed spaces. Forced-air heating (and air conditioning in the summer) will also spread the allergens throughout your home, so clean vents often. Also, cover heating vents with cheesecloth to filter out airborne allergens.
- Use an air cleaner with HEPA filtration to help remove allergens for at least 4 hours every day.
- Regularly washing your pet or having them professionally groomed can also help reduce dander, saliva, sweat, and urine. A word of caution though, do not wash your pet too often. Overwashing can exacerbate your pet’s dander or dry skin. Talk to your vet or local groomer for their expertise on what is best for your pet.
- Talk to your doctor or allergist about pharmaceutical or immunotherapy options.
Need to have your pet professionally groomed?
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Known to many of her clients as the “Fur Therapist,” Taria has been featured as a pet grooming expert for over 25 media outlets (TV, radio, and print), including the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Tribune and Magazine, Grooming Business magazine and others. Click here to learn more about Taria on LinkedIn.
Servicing: Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Philadelphia and Bucks counties, Southern New Jersey, and parts of Delaware.
Avery’s Mobile Pet Spa offers full spa and styling experiences to express touch-up grooming. Click here to learn more about our services, call 877-528-3797 or email for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment.
Additional Reading and Resources:
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Allergy Treatment
VeryWellHealth.com: What to Do If You’re Allergic to Your Pet
Mayo Clinic: Pet Allergy
WebMD: Pet Allergies: What You Need to Know