Pet Allergies

Pet allergies can range from being a nuisance to the rare emergency of anaphylaxis. Although many assume that people with animal allergies are reacting to the animal fur, the allergy is actually triggered by a protein in pet skin, saliva, and urine.(1) Having a pet allergy does not necessarily mean you cannot have a dog or cat, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. The Academy offers these suggestions to reduce suffering from pet allergies:

  • Remove the animal from the bedroom to create an allergy free zone
  • Use bleach to reduce the allergen on clothing or bedding
  • Cover mattress and pillows with tightly woven microfiber fabric to capture small cat and dog allergens
  • Use HEPA room air cleaners and a HEPA vacuum
  • Use whole-house filtration on central heating/ventilation, air conditioning systems (HVAC); a MERV 12 filter is recommended
  • Limit carpeted surfaces; hard-surface flooring, like wood or tile, is recommended
  • Substitute leather furniture for upholstery
  • Bathe animals regularly(2)

While there are claims that some dog breeds are hypoallergenic (Samoyeds, Portuguese water dogs, Afghan hound poodles, Airedale terriers, and Malteses) a study found that the common dog allergen Canis familiaris 1 was found in homes with these pets at very similar levels to homes with other breeds.(3)

In addition to allergen avoidance, patient education, treatment of symptoms, and allergen immunotherapy (AIT) can lead to a successful outcome for a patient.(4) “In particular, AIT can be considered for those patients with allergic rhinitis who do not respond well to pharmacologic treatment. In allergic asthma, AIT is assessed to be effective and safe.”(4)

(1) American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, Pet Allergies, https://slidelegend.com/
(2) American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, Love Your Pet, Not Your Allergy? https://acaai.org/
(3) American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, Pet Allergies: Hypoallergenic Dogs? https://acaai.org/
(4) Virtanen, T. MD, Journal of Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, Immunotherapy for Pet Allergies, https://www.tandfonline.com/