Pet Allergy

The most common pet allergies are to dogs and cats, however guinea pigs, mice, rats, birds, hamsters, horses, poultry and cows can also provoke an allergic reaction in some people. This form of allergy is often hereditary and, as such, can be easier to be aware of than many other allergies.

How do pets cause an allergic reaction?

When the proteins in the dander, urine and saliva of pets come into contact with you, they can irritate your respiratory system and sometimes your skin. This causes an allergic reaction to occur and you to experience discomfort. The severity of the symptoms and discomfort depends upon how sensitive your body is to pet allergens.

Who is most vulnerable to suffering from a pet allergy?

As previously mentioned, suffering from a pet allergy is often hereditary. Therefore, if you are aware that some members of your family are allergic to pets, it might be a good idea to see your doctor or an allergist to find out if you are also vulnerable to pet allergens. Asthmatics also seem to be more susceptible than most, probably because their respiratory system is already sensitive.

Reactions to pets

Different people react differently to the allergens found on pets. Allergic reactions towards pets tend to affect the respiratory system and the skin. Typical symptoms of a pet allergy include atopic dermatitis and hay fever or asthma. If you experience any of these frequently after coming into contact with pets then it is advisable to consult your doctor or an allergist, particularly if these symptoms are severe.

Typical symptoms

The broad categories of common reactions to pet allergens are outlined above. More individual symptoms associated with, and indicative of, a pet allergy include coughing, wheezing, an itchy and/or red rash, itchy and/or watery eyes and having a blocked or runny nose.

What substances can augment symptoms of a pet allergy

If you know that you already suffer from a pet allergy, then it is wise to try and avoid some other allergens in case they make your symptoms worse, or manifest themselves more frequently. Tobacco smoke can further aggravate an already irritated respiratory system. Similarly allergens in the air, such as pollen, can increase your discomfort.

Positively diagnosing a pet allergy

The majority of the time, people tend to realise that being around pets is the common denominator and therefore the cause of their allergic reactions. If you are unsure, however, your doctor or allergist can conduct skin and/or blood allergy tests to confirm your suspicions. From the results of these tests, your doctor or allergist can advise you as to what measures to take to try to alleviate the symptoms.

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