Keeping a furry friend indoors can cause you to suffer an allergic reaction, such as a runny nose, and itchy or watery eyes. However, it is not their fur, but rather the proteins found in the animal’s dander (dead skin cells), saliva, or urine that triggers your .2 These allergy-triggering particles stick to pet fur, which we tend to touch frequently. On top of that, these particles are so lightweight that they can be transported in the air, and onto your clothes and hair. Most people tend to associate pet-related allergies with from a cat or dog. However, dander can also come from other pets, such as hamsters, rabbits, gerbils and guinea pigs, amongst others.
Tips for Pet Allergy Sufferers
- Have a plan
If you are prone to pet-related allergies and you are planning to visit friends or family, it is advisable for you to ask them in advance if they have a furry pet at home. This helps you be prepared with allergy medicine should your symptoms start to flare up during your next visit.
- Establish pet-free areas
Keep pets out of your bedroom and out of certain rooms in your house that you might be in often, like the living room. Discourage your pets from getting onto couches or beds, as their dander can remain on these surfaces and trigger your allergies.
- Rinse and repeat
Giving your pet regular baths can help to minimize dander on their bodies.
- Wash your hands
After touching a pet, avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose until you've had a chance to wash your hands thoroughly.
- Choose pets wisely
Cats tend to trigger more allergies than dogs.3 This is because they are prone to a constant licking of their fur or skin, thus spreading allergens from their saliva onto their bodies. However, it is important to note that animals who don't shed, can also cause you to suffer an allergic reaction. As an alternative, people who suffer frequent allergies should consider keeping fishes, hermit crabs, iguanas, or turtles as pets instead.