Lovely big-eared friendBeing an animal lover with pet allergies is no walk in the park. An estimated 3 out of 10 people in the U.S. suffer from pet allergies, many of whom wonder if they will ever be able to live with a pet, or worse, how they can keep the beloved pet they already have.

The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital understand your desire to share your home with a four-legged companion. We hope you will find our ideas for coping with your pet allergies helpful.

What Are Pet Allergies?

A pet allergy is an allergic reaction to specific proteins found in dander (flecks of skin shed by all mammals), dried urine, and feces. Because hay fever and asthma sufferers may find that their symptoms worsen in the presence of pets, and because, it’s imperative that you have your pet allergy, and it’s severity, diagnosed by your doctor or allergist.

Coping With Pet Allergies

Learning how to manage your pet allergy symptoms is a crucial step on the road to living with a pet. Keeping your home as free from allergens as possible is an important part of this process and can be accomplished in the following ways:

  • Clean your home frequently to remove dust and dander. Clean or launder all fabrics that your pet comes into contact with weekly.
  • Don’t allow pets in your bedroom
  • Brush your pet daily and bathe him or her weekly, including cats (with a cat safe shampoo only). Consider having your pet professionally groomed with us, to reduce the amount of fur and dander released in your home during the grooming process.
  • Use high quality air purifiers with HEPA filters
  • Use hypoallergenic bedding and pillow covers
  • Wash your pet’s bedding weekly
  • Remove unnecessary carpet or fabrics
  • Work to remove other allergic triggers from your home, such as dust, pollen, and cigarette smoke.
  • What About Hypoallergenic Pets?

    Although some people report experiencing fewer allergy symptoms when in the presence of certain dog or cat breeds, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic pet. This is due to the fact that all “warm blooded” animals shed dander. However, there are certain breeds who appear to shed less of it, including:

  • Kerry blue terriers
  • Hairless dogs
  • Hairless Sphynx cats
  • Standard poodles
  • Schnauzers
  • Portuguese water dog
  • Chinese crested dog
  • Balinese-Javanese cat
  • In general, smaller breeds who are brushed and bathed frequently tend to shed less dander and fur than larger breeds.
  • For those with severe dog or cat allergies, exotic pets such as snakes, lizards, or fish can make fascinating and enjoyable companions. Because exotic pets have specific requirements for their nutrition, environment, and medical care,  it’s important to do your research and be fully prepared before committing to one of these animals.

    Your team at Wheaton Animal Hospital is here for you every step of the way in your journey toward a happy, and comfortable, life with a pet! Feel free to contact us with your questions and concerns.