Allergic to Your Pet? Learn about Dog and Cat Allergies

If you’re allergic to your pet, there’s no need to feel guilty or let go of your furry friend. You can totally keep your cat or dog, but you might have to modify your lifestyle a bit. Here are the answers to all of our questions about dog and cat allergies, plus some tips to help you manage them.

You don’t need to give up on your pet, just find ways around it.

If you’re an allergy sufferer, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to give up your pet in order to avoid symptoms. There are ways of managing your allergy and keeping your furry friend around for the long haul. You might even find that some of these tips make it easier for you to manage your pet in general!

  • Use an air filter. This is especially useful if you live with multiple pets or have one large dog who sheds heavily. Air filters can help remove allergens from the air before they reach you, so consider purchasing one if this sounds like something that would work in your situation.
  • Get a HEPA (high efficiency particulate arrestance) filter if possible, as they are designed specifically for trapping airborne particles within their filters.
  • Cover any upholstered furniture where animal hair has been deposited with fabric covers.
  • Wash off any surfaces that have been touched by animals regularly; these areas include floors, countertops, tables and chairs (especially if they are made out of wood), etc.
  • If possible try not to sleep directly next to where animals sleep (on beds or couches), but keep them close enough so they feel safe around humans without having direct contact with anyone who suffers from allergies

What are dog and cat allergies?

  • Allergies to dogs or cats are a common allergic reaction triggered by the pet’s dander, saliva, fur or other materials. These materials can become airborne and cause an allergic reaction when they come into contact with your skin or mucous membranes (like those in your nose). An allergic reaction to pet dander is most common but even dogs that don’t shed a lot can still cause reactions if you have an allergy to them. Dogs that do not shed will still produce some dander but it’s less likely to be picked up by the air currents around them if they’re not shedding their fur like crazy!
  • Symptoms of allergies to pets include sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose which often result in red eyes; itchy throat; coughing; wheezing; shortness of breath; hives (urticaria); eczema (atopic dermatitis); asthma attacks caused by exposure to pets
  • Other symptoms may include feeling tired after being exposed while others experience no symptoms at all even though they are allergic!

How common are cat and dog allergies?

It’s a common misconception that dog and cat allergies are rare. In fact, the opposite is true: studies show that 30 to 40% of people in the United States are allergic to their pets. And while there’s no way to know exactly how many people have pet allergies, it’s safe to assume that you’re not alone.

While cat allergies are more common than dog allergies, both can be a problem for those with severe symptoms—especially when cats and dogs live in close quarters with humans. Pets who spend most or all of their time indoors are likely to cause more problems for allergy sufferers than pets who spend most of their time outdoors (like chickens).

Do some breeds of dogs or cats cause more allergies?

No one can really predict what type of reaction you’ll have to your pet’s dander, but there are a few things to consider.

  • Dogs with short, flat coats tend to cause fewer allergies than those with long, silky coats.
  • Breeds that shed less and have smoother hair are less likely to cause allergies than breeds with thick, wiry undercoats (think terriers and Corgis).
  • Dogs that have hairless skin or short fur—like Poodles or Bichon Frises—are more likely to trigger allergic reactions in people who don’t usually react to dogs’ fur.

How can you tell if you have an allergy to a dog or cat?

You can tell if you have an allergy to a dog or cat by looking at the symptoms. If you are allergic to your pet, symptoms usually include sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes. These symptoms are similar to those caused by pollen, mold and dust mites – so when they get worse while you’re in the house with your pet, it could be an allergic reaction. The symptoms will also get worse right after getting up in the morning or when exercising outdoors on warm days.

How are allergies treated?

The treatment for pet allergies depends on the severity of your symptoms, but there are several options available.

  • If you experience mild symptoms, such as a runny nose or itchy eyes and skin, antihistamine medications may help improve your condition. These drugs block histamine production in your body and can be taken orally or applied topically to reduce swelling and itching.
  • If you suffer from more severe symptoms like nasal congestion (stuffy nose), nasal polyps, chronic sinusitis (chronic inflammation of the sinuses), asthma or gastrointestinal distress (vomiting/diarrhea), your doctor may recommend allergy shots to gradually desensitize you to pet dander particles over time. The injections contain small amounts of cat or dog allergen extract that help suppress allergic reactions by exposing your immune system to small doses each visit until it learns not to react anymore when exposed in the long term.
  • For those who don’t want shots or whose allergies are too severe for them to work effectively without causing anaphylaxis (a life-threatening reaction), doctors may prescribe corticosteroid pills instead; these drugs suppress inflammation throughout the body so that symptoms subside faster than with other treatments alone.


There’s no need to get rid of your dog or cat if you’re allergic, but there are ways to protect yourself from allergies.

You can ease your symptoms by taking some simple steps, like washing your clothes and keeping your pets in certain areas of the house. You may also want to consider getting an air purifier for your home.