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PET ALLERGIES

Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, with about 63% of households owning a pet1. Even though pet allergies are very common, there are still common misconceptions about what triggers them. Most people think its fur, but the major culprit is actually pet dander.

Pet Allergies

WHAT IS IT

Pet allergies stem from proteins contained in an animal’s dander, or dead skin cells, which flakes off regularly. Allergen-causing proteins can also be found in the saliva that sticks to your pet’s fur when it cleans itself.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

Pet allergens can remain in the carpet and furniture, and can linger in the air for some time.

HUMAN ALLERGY SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY DOGS

Dogs are Australia’s most common pet with 39% of households counting them as part of the family. With an estimated 4.2 million pet dogs across the country1, man’s best friend may be no friend to you if you are among those suffering with an allergy to dogs.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog - not even those expensive purebreds often marketed as “low shedding”. That’s because dog allergies are not caused by fur. It’s actually dog dander, saliva and urine that can trigger allergy symptoms.

As dogs play, dander can become airborne. Contact with airborne dander may lead to common allergy symptoms, including sneezing, a runny nose, itchy nose and nasal congestion, itchy throat and itchy, watery, eyes.

Avoiding dogs and dog allergens helps prevent symptom flare ups, but that can be easier said than done. Dog owners carry unseen dander and other dog allergens on their clothes, so you can be exposed to dog allergens even if you don’t have a dog.

But all is not lost. By recognizing dog allergy symptoms, you can better manage your condition and find relief from allergies triggered by man’s best friend.

SYMPTOMS OF AN ALLERGY TO CATS

Cats are one of the most popular pets in Australian households with felines found in 29% of homes1.

But did you know that contrary to popular belief, fur does not actually cause cat allergies. It is cat dander and saliva that trigger symptoms. Within seconds to minutes of exposure sneezing may start, followed by a sudden runny nose, even itchy, watery eyes. The longer you are exposed, the worse your symptoms usually get, including ongoing nasal stuffiness, sinus pressure over the eyes or in the cheeks and an itchy throat.

So theoretically, avoiding cats altogether would be the best way to minimise symptoms; but even then there are no guarantees. Just being out in public may expose you to enough cat allergens to develop an allergy and trigger symptoms.

But it’s not all bad news - if you enjoy spending time around cats, talk with your doctor. Treatment can help relieve allergy symptoms and might help you enjoy Fluffy’s company for years to come.

WHAT TO DO

  • Keep pets off upholstered furniture and carpets, and out of the bedroom
  • Bathe pets frequently to wash away trigger proteins, dander and pollen that may cling to their fur
  • Have someone without allergies brush pets outside
  • Ask someone without allergies to handle grooming and litter box chores
  • Choose low-pile carpets and steam-clean them regularly
  • Wear a dust mask to vacuum

1http://kb.rspca.org.au/How-many-pets-are-there-in-Australia_58.html