Cat and dog allergies are common, but there are still misconceptions. Most people think it’s only fur, but animal allergy symptoms can also be caused by a pet dander allergy. Learn more about the most common causes of pet allergies and how to help reduce your symptoms.
What causes pet allergies?
For many people, animal allergies can stem from proteins contained in an animal’s dander or dead skin cells, both of which can flake off regularly. Pet dander can cause an allergic reaction at any time of year – especially during the winter months when people spend more time indoors. If you think you might have an animal allergy, see an allergist for confirmation.
Dogs can get into a variety of places and are prone to have proteins, dander and pollen cling to their fur. Poodles, Portuguese water dogs and many other breeds might be known as hypoallergenic dog breeds, but research suggests that allergy-free dog breeds don’t truly exist. In fact, studies have shown that many of these breeds still carry similar levels of allergens around homes and cause dog allergy symptoms.
Cats are more likely to cause an allergic reaction than dogs. Although a cat dander allergy is often to blame, cats also have multiple allergens found on their bodies and in their saliva. That’s right, allergen-causing proteins can be found in the saliva that sticks to your cat’s fur when it cleans itself, which can trigger cat allergy symptoms. The length of a cat’s hair and how often it is indoors doesn’t affect allergen levels. However, for those living with cat allergies, having more than one cat can lead to higher levels of allergens in your home.
How to reduce animal allergens
Pet allergens can remain in the carpets and furniture, and can even linger in the air, for up to six months. To help reduce allergens:
- Bathe your cat or dog at least once a week.
- Vacuum or clean your floors often, and wear a dust mask when doing it.
- Try running an air purifier with a HEPA filter in rooms where your pet spends the most time.
- Keep pets off upholstered furniture and carpets, and out of the bedroom.
- Don’t pet, hug, or kiss animals that have allergens. If you do, wash your hands with soap and water as soon as possible.
- Have someone without allergies brush your pets outside.
Pet allergy relief
When you can’t live without your pet, a medicine for dog and cat allergies can help control your pet allergy symptoms. ZYRTEC® starts working at hour 1 and stays strong day after day, so you can reduce your cat and dog allergy symptoms. Learn more about ZYRTEC®.