post-title The Truth about Pet Allergies 2015-12-27 22:33:28 yes no Posted by

The Truth about Pet Allergies

Pets provide companionship and fun, but for some people a dog or cat can also trigger sneezing, sniffles and worse. Does an animal allergy mean a life without Fido? Not necessarily. There is a myth that pet allergies are triggered by animal hair, but they are actually caused by a protein found in pet skin […]

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Pets provide companionship and fun, but for some people a dog or cat can also trigger sneezing, sniffles and worse. Does an animal allergy mean a life without Fido? Not necessarily.

There is a myth that pet allergies are triggered by animal hair, but they are actually caused by a protein found in pet skin (or dander), saliva and urine. Some dog breeds are labeled “hypoallergenic”, as they shed less, but no dog is 100% hypoallergenic—even hairless dogs still have some allergen. Each animal is different, and a particular pet allergy sufferer may do better with one breed than another.

If you’re allergic and want to get a dog or cat, consider looking for breeds with shorter hair and less shedding, although there isn’t real scientific evidence this will help. Some allergists have suggested that a dog that tends to keep its coat throughout the year may be better for allergy sufferers. Other factors, such as your pet’s disposition, might make frequent bathing more feasible.

Things you can do to reduce suffering from pet allergies:

• Make your bedroom a pet-free space, and wash bedding in hot water.

• Bathe your pet frequently and have a non-allergic person perform grooming to reduce dander and hair shedding.

• Use a HEPA air purifier/filter to trap dander.

• Clean carpeting frequently, or opt for wood, tile or linoleum flooring.

• Keep your pet outside when possible.

• Keep your pet off the furniture—cover upholstered chairs with towels and sheets and wash them on a regular basis.

• If your dog rides in the car, use covers on the seats and wash them frequently.

There’s no guarantee that someone who is truly allergic to pets will tolerate living with a dog or cat. If you’re thinking about getting a pet, but are concerned about allergies, consider trying one out on a trial basis. You can also begin allergy treatment before getting a pet, including allergy shots such as for cats.

Brought to you by your allergist/immunologist and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. © 2012 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

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