Allergic reactions are triggered when your immune system perceives harmless substances that you come in contact with as a threat. Experts say they are among the most common chronic conditions in the world today.
Allergens that cause allergies exist in various forms. They can range from the food we eat and dust in our surroundings to pet hair.
Below, we’ve shared some times for managing pet allergies and their symptoms!
Types of Pet Allergies
Allergic rhinitis is also known as hay fever, and it affects over 30 million Americans each year. There are two types—seasonal and perennial hay fever.
Seasonal hay fever only occurs in seasons like summer, spring, and early fall. It is commonly caused by pollens from trees, weeds, and sensitivity to airborne mold spores.
Perennial allergic rhinitis can occur all year round. It is mainly caused by sensitivity to pet hair or dander, and also dust mites.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
- Sneezing and coughing
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Forehead and temples pain
- Temporary loss of smell
- Itchy throat, ears, nose, and mouth
Asthma is a common respiratory disease in the US, affecting 24.6 million Americans. According to experts, people with asthma are 32% more likely to develop an allergy to cats than those who do not have the disease.
Allergic asthma, which is the most common form of asthma, occurs when allergens such as pollen, dust mites, or mold are inhaled.
Between 1996 and 2016, the percentage of people with allergic asthma has increased from 5% to 7.3% in the US.
Symptoms of allergic asthma include:
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Tightening of the chest
Allergies That Affect Pets
Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)
Flea allergy dermatitis is the reaction of your pet to flea bites or chemicals found in flea saliva. Its symptoms can range from extreme itching to hair loss, and even bumps.
FAD is the most common allergy found in pets, especially in those having sensitive skin. It causes itchiness and scratching for dogs, especially around the tail region. Also, flea dirt and fleas themselves are a sign of FAD.
For cats, symptoms of FAD include the presence of scabs on parts of their body.
Due to the ease with which pets are exposed to this form of allergy, aggressive flea control measures should be taken to keep your surroundings free from fleas that may cause harm to your pets.
Food allergies in pets refer to the reaction of pets to food products such as protein from dairy products, carbohydrates, preservatives, and even additives. Its symptoms may include itching of the ears or paws, and gastrointestinal problems.
Pets with a food allergy should be placed on a properly balanced diet suitable to their needs and shouldn’t be given any food product that is likely to cause allergy.
Airborne Allergy (Atopy)
It is an overreaction of your pets’ immune system to tropical allergens. Most times, airborne allergies are seasonal, which means that pets with atopy are likely to have worse symptoms at certain periods.
It is mostly accompanied by chronic ear infection and itching of various body parts.
How to Manage an Allergy to Pets as a Pet Owner
Minimize Contact with Your Pet
Try to keep your pets away from personal spaces such as your bedroom and kitchen. Since we know that pet hair or dander causes an allergic reaction like hay fever, taking the necessary steps to reduce exposure to dander from your dog can go a long way to reduce allergy symptoms.
Always Change Clothes After Coming in Contact with Your Pet
It is normal for pet owners to hug their pets from time to time. To reduce the risk of triggering an allergic reaction, you should wash your hands thoroughly, take a bath, and also try to change your clothes every time you come in contact with your pet.
Bathe and Brush Your Pet Regularly
Bathing and brushing will significantly reduce the amount of dander around the house. However, you should avoid bathing your pet too often to prevent skin issues.
Clean Your House Often
Aside from keeping your pet clean, it would help to keep your house clean as well. Things like your blankets and curtains should be washed regularly.
Allergies are a growing concern for the US and the world in general. Almost anything found in our environment, pets included, can make us develop allergies. However, proper hygiene and housecleaning can help minimize the risk of developing pet allergies.
If you’re looking for some more helpful information on allergies, check out this handy infographic!