A dog might be a man’s best friend but if you’re allergic to dogs you’ll be best keeping your distance! If you’re allergic to Rover, Felix or another furry friend, coming into contact with them can give you itchy eyes, a blocked nose and you can start wheezing, coughing up catarrh and struggle to breathe.
How common is it to have a pet allergy?
Around 1 in 7 people have a pet allergy so you’re not alone. You can be allergic to dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, budgies or another kind of pet. It may be that you’re fine with dogs and cats but hamsters and rabbits set you off, or the other way round. Allergens are found in saliva, urine and sweat which makes its way onto the hair, fur and dander (dead skin cells) of pets and the surrounding air.
What to do if you have an allergy
Depending on the severity of your allergy, you start displaying symptoms as soon as you step through the front door of a property where a pet lives or by standing close to a someone who has pet hair on their clothes. Try and avoid these situations if you can. If you can’t, there are antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops which may help.
If you think you’re allergic to your own pet, then you have to decide whether you feel able to have it rehomed or whether your allergy is minor and you can live with it. If you’re allergic to your cat, getting someone else to bath them once or twice a week can reduce cat allergens in your home by 90%, according to Allergy UK. Dogs should be regularly groomed and banned from your sofa and bed. You should also make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after stroking your pet and ask a loved one to hoover regularly (it’s best to avoid doing it yourself).
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