Having a pet is one of the best and most rewarding experiences one can have. They give us unconditional love and faithful companionship.  There is nothing like coming home to their happy tails and wet-nose kisses. But what if you find out you’re allergic to them? This would be an utter nightmare for dog and cat lovers. But pet parents, don’t fret. You can still have a happy life with your pets even if you’re allergic to them.

People with pet allergies have immune systems that overreact to otherwise harmless proteins in the pet’s urine, saliva, or dander (dead skin cells). These pet allergens can collect on your clothing, wall, furniture and other surfaces. Exposure to your skin, and even a scratch or lick from your dog or cat can already trigger an allergic reaction. It is also common to get an allergic reaction after petting an animal and then touching your eyes or skin.

 

Here are some symptoms of pet allergies you can watch out for:

  • hives
  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • itchy, red or watery eyes
  • nasal congestion
  • scratchy or sore throat
  • cough

 

Some symptoms may not appear until after several hours or days, depending on the immunity or sensitivity of the person that is allergic to dogs or cats.

While the only sure way to avoid having an allergic reaction is to completely avoid contact with dogs or cats, we understand that would be impossible for pet lovers. The good news is, there are a number of solutions you can explore that would still enable you to live a happy life with your pet.

Here are some ways on how you can manage your pet allergies. The first step is to understand your pet allergies, and determine the cause for your allergy flare ups. Make sure to consult a doctor and get tested to determine what are the specific triggers to your allergies. You might even find out that you are not allergic to your pet after all.

However, if it is unfortunate that an allergy test shows that you are indeed allergic to your pet, don’t be too disappointed and let it ruin your relationship with your pet. Here are some medications, cleaning tricks, and lifestyle suggestions to help manage your allergy symptoms and let you continue to live a happy life with your pet.

 

  1. Opt for over-the-counter medications

Antihistamines can block allergic reactions and nasal decongestants can help alleviate symptoms. Both are readily available and can be purchased from your local drug store.

  1. Get allergy shots or immunotherapy

This is an option for those who are suffering from severe or chronic dog or cat allergies. In this process, your doctor will give you regular shots to help build up your tolerance for the allergens. This may take several months to be effective in building up a tolerance to the allergy.

  1. Create an allergy free space

You can opt to close off a number of rooms that your pet will not be allowed into.  You can initially choose your bedroom first, or extend it to your living room, just to manage spaces where you can live free of any allergens.

  1. Remove fabrics

Get rid of fabrics that have the tendency to collect pet dander such as rugs or curtains. You can choose to remove these items from your designated allergy free rooms.

  1. Prevent the spread of allergens

Clean and vacuum your house and furniture frequently to maintain a dander-free environment. You should also bathe your dog or cat at least once a week. You can use a natural, chemical free shampoo that doesn’t have any harsh chemical ingredients that can dry out your pet’s skin.

You can also try to use Ark Naturals Don’t Shed On Me. This anti-shed tropical mist helps reduce excessive shedding with natural & fabulous smelling botanicals.

  1. Give your pets the right nutrition

Make sure your pet has the correct amount of fatty acids in their diet. This will help prevent shedding and dander production.

  1. Get pets that shed less

 If you do have dog or cat allergies, and don’t have a pet yet but you would like to have a companion, you can choose specific breeds that do not shed as much, thus they don’t have hair for dander to attach to.

 

Some breeds of dogs include:

  • Afghan Hound
  • Bichon Frise
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Poodle
  • Standard Schnauzer

 

Some breeds of cats that produce fewer allergens include:

  • Balinese
  • Oriental Shorthair
  • Javanese
  • Devon Rex
  • Sphynx
  • Siberian

 

Sources:

https://www.humanesociety.org/

https://www.aspca.org/

https://www.aafa.org/