Managing Pet Allergies

Over sixty million Americans tend to be affected by allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America many of these allergies are pet allergies. These are sad allergies to have particularly if you are an animal lover. There are approximately 77 million dogs and over 93 million cats owned as pets in the U.S. alone. This means that there are many people who experience allergy symptoms at one time or another.


Stuffy or runny noses, red and itchy eyes and coughing. Excessive sneezing leading to headaches or shortness of breath. Don’t want to be the wet blanket who won’t let you family have a pet? Check out these remedies that just might help.

  1. Keep your distance. When dealing with a pet allergy limit your contact whenever possible. You might need to explain to your family that you cannot be a pet parent. Suggest getting fish or turtles or if you are brave, snakes or lizards. Visiting friends or family who have indoor pets? Take your antihistamines with you, get an allergy shot, or if you are not worried about insults, wear a medical mask. Maybe consider getting a hotel.
  1. When you see that cute little puppy or kitten, try to keep your hands off. If you pet them wash our hands immediately and don’t touch your eyes! You may not have any fur on your hands, you still need to scrub them. Pet hair is not the actual source of allergens. The allergens come from animal secretions. Dogs secrete allergens though skins glands and cats have allergens in their saliva. When a cat or dog self-grooms, their secretions dry and become part of the dander.
  1. Consider making one room in your home a pet free zone. Keep your carpet and draperies in this room vacuumed and cleaned and the door shut. Carpets and blinds are magnets for dander filled dusts.
  1. Create pet-friendly zones. Your backyard is perfect.
  1. Keep your home clean. If you regularly vacuum, dust and sweep your sinuses will love you. Dusting is important and use hot water when washing linens and towels. Pet allergens land and stick on woodwork and walls so give them a regular cleaning. Keep your pet’s s supplies clean, too.
  1. If you have a cat or dog groom them. Brush, bathe and bath and have them outdoors as much as possible. Make sure your cat’s litter box is always clean and keep it away from public areas and vents.

  1. You might want to invest in HEPA filters to clean the air in your home. These remove airborne particles and allergens. Use a vacuum that has a built-in HEPA filter and maybe wear a facemask while vacuuming. Ventilate your home. Windows cracked just a little in the winter or when you are indoors can do wonders for calming down sinuses.
  1. Get allergy shorts or use over the counter nasal sprays. There are awesome products specifically targeted toward helping those with allergies. Talk to your doctor about the best choices.

ACAAI and the scientists and doctors who diagnose and treat allergies give this advice:

  1. Remove carpeting from your home. Replace with hard surfaces. Carpets retain 100 times more cat allergens than hard floors. Polished floors like hardwood stone or tile are best when you have animals and allergic family members.
  2. Remove fabric upholstered furniture. Upholstered furniture and curtains contain even more cat dander than what is on the floor.
  3. Wash bedding and curtains to remove dog dander. Wash in water at least 140 °F, rinse and then rinse again.
  4. Use protective coverings for mattresses and box springs. Keep your pillows covered with tightly woven fabrics.

Pet owners who have allergies to their pets should visit an allergist. Discuss treatment options including allergy shots or immunotherapy to bring relief.


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