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Each pet proprietor loves a cuddle with their furry pal. However what occurs when this cuddling (or patting, or grooming) causes you to have a flare-up of allergy signs? This might imply you will have a pet allergy—they’re surprisingly frequent.

It’s potential to be allergic to cats however not canine. The reverse can also be potential: being allergic to canine, however not cats. Nonetheless, people who find themselves allergic to cats usually tend to be allergic to canine, and vice versa. Let’s discover why pet allergic reactions happen, and a few issues that may be achieved to handle them.


What’s a Pet Allergy?

Pet allergic reactions will not be too completely different from different allergic reactions, corresponding to these attributable to nuts or mud. An allergy happens when your physique’s immune system reacts abnormally to a overseas substance. Your physique thinks that the substance could be dangerous, despite the fact that it’s sometimes innocent.

After we consider pet allergic reactions, we normally consider canine and cats. These allergic reactions are the commonest, however canine and cats are additionally the commonest family pets. In reality, folks might be allergic to rabbits, guinea pigs, horses…nearly any species of animal!

Opposite to common perception, most pet allergic reactions will not be really attributable to fur or hair. As a substitute, most allergic reactions are attributable to “dander”, saliva, and urine. Dander is the layer of useless pores and skin cells on the floor of the pores and skin, containing sure protein molecules that the physique reacts to.

Some pets additionally carry mud, mildew, and pollens of their coat, particularly in the event that they spend numerous time outside. Sometimes, “pet allergic reactions” will not be triggered by the pet in any respect, however by the mud and pollen inside the hair coat.

Why Can I be Allergic to Cats however Not Canines?

Canines and cats secrete completely different proteins (“allergens”) of their dander, saliva, and urine. There’s numerous variation in these allergens each throughout species (i.e. between canine and cats) and inside species (i.e. some cats or cat breeds have completely different allergens from different cats).

For these causes, being allergic to cats doesn’t essentially imply that you simply’ll robotically be allergic to canine. Equally, you could be allergic to some canine or cats, however not others. The physique doesn’t acknowledge all proteins in saliva, urine, and dander as allergens—solely particular ones. That being mentioned, people who find themselves allergic to cats usually tend to be allergic to canine too. And people who find themselves allergic to 1 or two cats usually tend to be allergic to many different cats.

woman allergic to cat
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What About Hypoallergenic Pets?

You could have heard about “hypoallergenic” pets—pets which are much less prone to trigger an allergy. Although it sounds good, there are a few myths that want debunking.

1. Shedding

Some breeds of canine or cats that don’t shed hair have been referred to as hypoallergenic. Sadly, that is most likely not true. As we talked about, most pet allergic reactions will not be reactions to hair, however slightly to proteins secreted in saliva, urine, and dander. Hair isn’t normally the issue, so a canine or cat that doesn’t shed a lot isn’t essentially higher for somebody with identified pet allergic reactions.

white british shorthair cat sitting
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2. Hypoallergenic breeds

Different breeds of canine have been put ahead as hypoallergenic, which means that (no matter hair or shedding) they’re much less prone to trigger an allergy. Once more, this isn’t true. All canine and cats secrete potential allergens, so all canine and cats may cause allergy signs.


I’m About to Get a Pet – How Will I Know if I’m Allergic?

The excellent news right here is that individuals with canine or cat allergic reactions might tolerate some breeds significantly better than others. Keep in mind, being allergic to 1 cat or canine definitely doesn’t make you allergic to all cats and canine.

One of the simplest ways to know if you happen to’re allergic to a canine or cat is to spend a while round them. Think about fostering for a few weeks to see if any allergic reactions are triggered. Alternatively, organize to go to somebody who has the identical breed of canine or cat.

If you happen to’d desire to not threat it, there are safer pet choices. Fish, reptiles, and turtles are far much less prone to trigger allergic reactions than canine or cats.

bengal cat on owners lap
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How Can I Handle My Pet Allergy symptoms?

There are many steps you may take to reduce publicity to pet allergens, and reduce your chances of allergy symptoms. The record under isn’t exhaustive, however it’s a nice begin:

  • Hold pets out of bedrooms or different locations you sleep.
  • Have another person brush or groom your pet.
  • Use pet-grade wipes to wash your pet after they’ve been exterior.
  • Wash garments which were in touch with pets.
  • Wash your palms and face after touching your pet.
  • Commonly wash bedding, rugs, or material furnishings that your pet has frolicked on.
  • Wash your pet with canine or cat shampoo as soon as weekly.



Pet allergies are common and sometimes require ongoing administration. You probably have a identified pet allergy (or non-pet allergy), it’s a good suggestion to spend time with pets earlier than taking them on. This implies you might be assured you gained’t have an allergy to your pet, slightly than assuming a “hypoallergenic” breed can be positive. Fortunately, there are many completely different breeds accessible, so there’s a very good likelihood you’ll discover one that you simply’re not allergic to. And if you happen to do have a pet allergy, there are many methods to handle this at dwelling.

If you happen to suppose you will have a pet allergy, or in case you are exhibiting allergy signs, all the time search medical recommendation out of your physician to debate testing and drugs.

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