You love your furry companion, but could they be the source of your itchy eyes or runny nose? Unfortunately, pet allergies are common among owners, and they affect about one in three adults in the United States. Even if you don’t have a pet at home, coming in contact with an animal is sometimes enough to trigger allergy symptoms.
But animal allergies don’t have to take over your life! Find relief by learning the signs of animal allergies, then explore treatment options and at-home remedies.
What Triggers Pet Allergies?
Animals, like dogs and cats, produce a protein that can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. This protein is found in saliva, dander (dead skin cells), and urine. Pollen or dust mites that get stuck to a pet’s fur can also cause pet allergy symptoms.
Allergens on animals are usually harmless, but they can still be mistaken as dangerous by your immune system. When your immune system overreacts this way, it leads to allergy symptoms like watery eyes, sneezing, and itchiness.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Animal Allergies?
Though symptoms can vary, there are several common reactions to watch for when it comes to animal allergies:
Swelling and Itching
The two most common animal allergy symptoms are swelling and itching in the nose or around the eyes. Swelling in nostril membranes often leads to a stuffy nose. You may also experience red or swollen eyes.
Dogs and cats can both cause skin reactions, including redness, itchiness, rash, or hives. Saliva from the animal may cause a rash or other skin reactions on the face, neck, or upper chest.
When allergens are inhaled through the nose, they can irritate the nasal membrane, causing sneezing fits.
Wheezing and Coughing
These two symptoms, along with shortness of breath and chest tightness that can accompany them, are common animal allergy symptoms. If these symptoms become severe and you have trouble breathing, seek emergency medical attention.
Allergy reactions that remain untreated can lead to fatigue, as they interrupt your breathing and lead to poor quality sleep. If nausea, chills, or vomiting accompanies a bout of low energy, talk to your doctor. These symptoms could signify an illness or infection.
How Do You Know if You Have Animal Allergies?
Many people know they have pet allergies when their allergy symptoms flare after being around animals. But for others, it’s not so simple. People with seasonal allergies and those who suffer year-round may already have allergy symptoms, making it hard to decipher what causes them. For others, they may be around multiple animals and not able to distinguish which is causing their symptoms.
The easiest and most fool-proof way of determining if you have animal allergies is through an allergy test. At Wyndly, we offer a simple at-home allergy test kit. Our kit can test for dog allergies, cat allergies, horse allergies, and 40 other environmental allergies that may be impacting you.
The Best Remedies for Pet Allergies
There are several easy ways to lessen pet allergy symptoms and find relief without medication.
Bathe Your Pet
To reduce pet allergens, bathe your dog or cat at least once a week. This routine reduces the amount of dander shed by your pet. It also removes proteins that trigger allergies from your pet’s fur.
Wash Your Hands
After playing or petting your dog or cat, remember to wash your hands, especially if you get skin reactions. Be sure not to touch your eyes or face until your hands are thoroughly clean.
Purchase a HEPA Vacuum Cleaner
Because of their design, HEPA filter vacuums trap allergens like dust and pet dander. For best results, vacuum at least once a week. Remember to vacuum furniture, too! If your animal allergies are severe, consider handing this chore off to someone else and leaving the house while it’s being done.
Be Mindful of Heating and Air Conditioning
When you have forced air heating and cooling, allergens often get sucked into vents, where they linger. Then when you heat or cool your home, they infiltrate the air. Pet air filters can also help.
Carpet traps pet dander, dust, and other allergens. Then, as you move around your home, they get kicked into the air and make your allergy symptoms flare. For those people who have pets and animal allergies, it may be time to replace your allergen-harboring carpets with tile or hardwood floors.
Do the Laundry
Wash rugs, pet bedding, and furniture covers at least once a week to remove any allergens that may cling to the material.
Wear an N95 Mask
When you dust and clean, you disturb allergens that lurk on surfaces, and you’re more likely to breathe them in. Protect yourself with a mask or hire someone to clean for you.
Rinse Your Nasal Cavities
Nasal irrigation is a home remedy for pet allergies that gives many people relief. Simply combine 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 cup of distilled water (do not use tap water!), and then use a neti pot to rinse your nasal cavities.
Medication for Animal Allergies
When at-home and natural remedies aren’t enough, allergy treatments for dog and cat allergies are available. Over-the-counter medications like antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants may provide short-term relief of animal allergy symptoms.
For those looking for a long-lasting solution for pet allergies, there’s immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is the only clinically-proven method to reduce allergy symptoms long-term. At Wyndly, we offer sublingual immunotherapy.
Sublingual immunotherapy exposes your immune system to a number of allergens so small, your body doesn’t respond. Over time, the amount of allergen in the drops increases, and the body builds a tolerance. Eventually, you no longer experience allergy symptoms when you’re exposed to the allergen, and you can live a life free from allergy symptoms!
Get Long-lasting Relief from Animal Allergies
You don’t have to resign yourself to a life dealing with allergies. Or worse, get rid of your beloved pet! With the right treatment, you can find relief from pet allergy symptoms.
At Wyndly, we take a fresh approach to allergy treatment. After identifying your specific allergens, our allergy doctors create a personalized treatment plan that can train your body to stop reacting to pet allergens. Schedule your initial consultation and get an at-home allergy test for free! It’s time to stop living life around your allergies. Start treatment today!