Pet Allergy


A pet aller­gy occurs when your body over­re­acts to the pro­teins found in pet dan­der, sali­va, hair, and urine caus­ing an aller­gic reac­tion. A pet aller­gy can be caused by any pet in your home. 


Although any pet in your home can trig­ger an aller­gic reac­tion, aller­gies are typ­i­cal­ly caused by a pet with fur and rarely are caused by fish and rep­tiles. Cat, dog, and horse aller­gies are typ­i­cal­ly caused by a hyper­sen­si­tiv­i­ty to the pro­tein found in their sali­va or dan­der. Rab­bit, mice, ger­bil, ham­ster and guinea pig aller­gies are typ­i­cal­ly caused by a hyper­sen­si­tiv­i­ty to the pro­teins found in the animal’s urine, dan­der, and hair. 


Pet aller­gy symp­toms can range from mild to severe depen­dent on your sen­si­tiv­i­ty and amount of expo­sure to the aller­gen. The most com­mon pet aller­gy symp­toms include:

  • Sneez­ing
  • Run­ny or stuffy nose
  • Nasal Con­ges­tion
  • Cough­ing, chest tight­ness, short­ness of breath and wheezing
  • Watery, red or itchy eyes
  • Skin rash or hives


To diag­nose a pet aller­gy, you can meet with an aller­gist who will dive into your health his­to­ry look­ing for any con­sis­tent trig­gers to deter­mine if your symp­toms are aller­gic or non-aller­gic. Your aller­gist may also rec­om­mend a skin test to deter­mine a pet allergy.

Man­age­ment and Treat­ment

Avoid­ance is the best way to treat a pet aller­gy. If you already have the pet in your home that is caus­ing the aller­gy, you can either remove the pet or keep the pet while mak­ing some changes to your lifestyle and home. Even with the below changes, you still may expe­ri­ence aller­gy symp­toms. Here are some strate­gies to help reduce your aller­gy symp­toms if keep­ing the pet in your home:

  • Keep the pet out of your bed­room and restrict it to only a few rooms. Be advised that keep­ing the pet in only one room will not lim­it the aller­gens to that room.
  • Don’t pet, hug or kiss the pet; if you do, wash your hands with soap and water.
  • High-effi­cien­cy par­tic­u­late air (HEPA) clean­ers run con­tin­u­ous­ly in a bed­room or liv­ing room can reduce aller­gen lev­els over time.
  • Reg­u­lar use of a high-effi­cien­cy vac­u­um clean­er or a cen­tral vac­u­um can reduce aller­gen levels.
  • Giv­ing your pet a bath at least once a week can reduce air­borne allergen.

Your aller­gist can help deter­mine what treat­ment would be best to treat your pet aller­gy. There are many options from nasal sprays to oral med­ica­tions to anti­his­t­a­mine eye­drops to help alle­vi­ate symp­toms. Immunother­a­py is anoth­er effec­tive treat­ment choice that can help increase your tol­er­ance to pet aller­gens over time.