Many people think that the hair or fur on their pet is the source of allergies. Actually, the source is a protein found in pet dander. When your body develops a sensitivity to pet dander, exposure to the allergen will release histamine and allergy symptoms will develop. Symptoms include itchy eyes, rashes, a runny nose, congestion, hoarseness, wheezing, and sneezing. You can control pet allergies with frequent cleaning, a HEPA vacuum cleaner, an air purifier, allergy bedding, and special pet allergy products.
Helpful Information on Pet Dander Allergy
|Pet Allergy FAQ||An Allergy Sufferer's Guide to Living with Cats||Air Purifier Buying Guide|
|Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide||Dehumidifier Buying Guide||Allergy Relief Bedding Buying Guide|
Our beloved pets provide us with many health benefits. The Center for Disease Control states that owning a pet can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness. Millions of pet owners are allergic to their furry and feathered friends, and the most common pet allergen is cat dander. Approximately 10 million Americans are allergic to their cats. Cat dander is one of the smallest and lightest allergens. That means that the dander easily spreads out to every corner of your house or apartment. Cat dander can float in the air for hours at a time, and it can be found in homes months after a cat has moved away. Read our Allergy Sufferer's Guide to Living with Cats for more information on dealing with this allergy.
Dog and Other Pet Allergies
While not as common as cat allergies, dog allergies have separated many dog owners from their best friends. Fifteen to thirty percent of allergy sufferers have allergic reactions to either cats or dogs. Allergens can come from any animal with fur or feathers, including cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, hamsters, mice, gerbils, rats, guinea pigs, horses, goats, cows, chickens, ducks, and geese. Reptiles and fish do not cause allergies, because they have scales instead of skin. However, if you have a fish tank, make sure that it does not become a source of mold allergen.
Some dogs are considered "hypoallergenic" (less allergenic) because they do not shed as often. Poodles, Airedales, and schnauzers shed their skin every 20 days or so, while other breeds like basset hounds and German shepherds shed their skin every three or four days. Unfortunately, even "hypoallergenic" dogs produce dander and will cause reactions in sensitive individuals. When it comes to cats, a company called Allerca claims to have genetically engineered the world's first scientifically-proven hypoallergenic cats. If these are still out of the question, you always have fish, turtles and even the occasional frog to fall back on!
Pet Allergy Treatments
Allergen Avoidance is the key to successfully controlling pet dander, allergy symptoms from dander, and pet allergies. You can temporarily relieve symptoms with anti-histamines and over-the-counter medications; but until you eliminate the cause of the allergic reactions, you will continue to experience allergy symptoms. If you are allergic to a pet, it is important to set up allergy-free zones in your home where the pet is not allowed. You should keep the pet out of your bedroom and definitely out of your bed. However, you still will want allergy relief bedding on your bed, because animal dander will inevitably make it into your bedroom even if the pets do not. The extremely small size of some pet dander, particularly that of cats, makes it light enough for it to easily become airborne.
Air purifiers not only eliminate pet dander, but they also eliminate other forms of indoor air pollution that can worsen pet allergy symptoms. AchooAllergy.com represents the top brand air purifier manufacturers including Austin Air, Blueair, IQAir, and Honeywell. Air filters for your furnace and vents will keep pet dander from circulating into clean air.
HEPA vacuum cleaners like the Miele Kona trap pet dander and other allergens. Anti-Allergen Solution helps to denature (inactivate) allergens in carpet. Vacuum attachments allow you to suck up dander in all those hard-to-reach places. You may want to wear an allergy mask while vacuuming since it stirs up allergens in the carpet. Allergen Wash will destroy allergens in your laundry.
Immunotherapy is another option for treating pet allergies. Immunotherapy involves the allergy sufferer receiving a series of injections (allergy shots) over a long period of time in order to build up a tolerance to a particular allergen. However, allergy shots do not work for everyone, and they are very expensive.
Another way to lessen the impact of pet dander is to groom your pet frequently (at least once every two weeks) to keep allergens at a minimum. anti-allergen pet shampoos & cleaners help control pet dander. The Power Paw vacuum attachment makes hypoallergenic pet grooming easy. One of our allergy tips is that if someone living in the house has a pet allergy, it is best to do the grooming outdoors.
You also can limit pet dander by paying closer attention to your pet's diet. The addition of some natural fat to their diet will help clear up dry skin and minimize dander flaking.
Pets Can Have Allergies Too!
We have heard from several customers who have allergic pets. Like humans, pets can be allergic to dust mites, pollen, molds, foods, chemicals, and even other pets! Cats and dogs normally experience allergy symptoms in the form of skin problems. The most common allergy among cats and dogs is flea allergy. Many felines and canines are allergic to flea saliva, and they experience allergic reactions whenever fleas bite them. If your dog or cat constantly scratches or gnaws on its skin, there is a good chance that your pet has a flea problem even if you cannot see any fleas. When a human or a pet has an environmental allergy, it is important to control pet dander by keeping the home and air clean with a HEPA vacuum cleaner, air purifier, air filters, frequent cleaning, and frequent pet grooming.
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