Pet Allergies: Causes, Symptoms and Relief

Get your pet allergies to behave.

Woman laying on rug petting her dog

There's nothing we love more than a snuggle with our furry friends. Unfortunately, those beloved snuggles can sometimes cause allergy symptoms. Did you know approximately 20% of the population worldwide has cat or dog allergies? Pet allergies are really that common, but they don’t have to stop you from sharing a space with your furry friend.

Throughout this page, you will find information about:

What makes me allergic to pets?
Why am I allergic at all?
Why are so many people allergic to cats?
What about allergies to dogs?
How can I allergy-proof my home?

What triggers pet allergies?

People with pet allergies have oversensitive immune systems which react to proteins — or allergens — in an animal’s urine, saliva, or dander (skin flakes). These allergens can cling to and collect on furniture, clothing, and other surfaces. Pet hair itself is not an allergen. And there are no hypoallergenic animals, not even hairless ones.

What causes an allergic response?

Allergies happen because the immune system treats otherwise harmless proteins such as allergens, which your body considers a threat. It will start creating antibodies and histamines to fight it. Allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, or an itchy throat are all attempts to flush allergens out of the body. 

What’s the story on allergies to cats?

Allergies to cats are twice as common as allergies to dogs and can range from very mild to very severe. Symptoms can develop very quickly or sometimes take hours to appear. If you’re unsure if you have a cat allergy or need cat allergy treatment, we recommend visiting a health professional or immunologist who can conduct tests and provide a diagnosis.  

How can we cope with allergies to dogs?

Despite a common belief, there are no hypoallergenic dog breeds. Some breeds may cause fewer allergies than others, but all of them distribute allergens around the home. I know - we were shocked to find this out too. If you are allergic, the best thing to do is to avoid the dog. However, it that's not possible, avoid touching your eyes or face after coming into contact with a dog, and try to stay clear of their saliva. 

An action plan for fighting pet allergies.

You can minimize allergens by keeping your house nice and clean. A big step in fighting pet allergies is to make your house more livable for you and less hospitable for allergens:

  Bathe your pets at least once a week 

  Choose carpet-free flooring to limit the buildup of dander 

  Invest in an air purifier with with a HEPA certified filter

   Brush pets outdoors

  Keep pets out of the bedroom 

  Wash your hands with soap routinely throughout the day 

  Clean solid surfaces as often as possible

  Vacuum frequently

A young man lying in bed, playing with his cat.

Allegra® is here to help

Allegra® offers multi-symptom relief from sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery, red eyes and itchy nose/palate/throat. For added relief from nasal congestion associated with seasonal allergies, there's Allegra-D®. Allegra®, Live your Greatness

Find the right Allegra® product.

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