If furry friends give you a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes, it's not their fur that causes the allergic reaction. It's the proteins found in the animal's dander (dead skin cells), saliva, or urine. These allergy-triggering particles are transported to the pet hair or fur, where we touch dogs and cats most often. These particles are so light they can be transported in the air and can be carried on your clothes and hair.
Did You Know?
Most people think of dogs and cats when it comes to pet allergies. But the allergy-causing proteins in pet dander can also be found in hamsters, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs and other pets.
Pet Allergy Symptoms
Some common symptoms of a pet allergy may include sneezing, itchy watery eyes, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Allergy testing by a pharmacist or healthcare professional can verify whether you’re reacting to pet dander or have an allergy to another substance, such as pollen, dust mites, or mould.
Have A Plan
Be aware of potential exposure to pets you may be allergic to. When visiting a friend's home, ask if they have pets in advance, so you can be prepared with allergy medicine should your allergy symptoms strike.
Choose Pets Wisely
Cats may cause more allergy problems than dogs simply because they lick their fur or skin a lot, spreading the allergen from their saliva onto their bodies. Fish, hermit crabs, iguanas and turtles make good choices as pets for allergy sufferers.