Allergies Types Pet

In the US, more than seventy percent of households have a dog and/or cat. An estimated ten percent of Americans have pet allergies; twenty to thirty percent of asthmatics also have an allergy to pets. Approximately six million Americans have cat allergies, and of this six million about 1/3 are cat owners.

There are several methods to minimize allergic symptoms in pet owners.

Conflicting information about pet allergies generates a great deal of confusion among animal lovers. Perhaps because of our love for our pets, many myths have been generated about pet dander, hypoallergenic dogs and hypoallergenic cats.

Often people don’t want to hear the most basic fact about dog and cat allergies: The best way to avoid the allergy is to remove the allergen from the household. If you can’t bear to part with your pets, however, you can employ several methods to minimize the allergic symptoms, which include sneezing, wheezing, itchy and runny nose and eyes.

Pet Dander, Urine and Saliva

A commonly held belief is that people with pet allergies are allergic to fur or feathers. This isn’t true. Instead, oil secretions in the animal’s skin accounts for most cat and dog allergies. The oil is transferred to your environment (and your respiratory passages) by dander, or dead skin that flakes off your pet’s body.

Other people are allergic to animal saliva. The dog or cat cleans itself, and saliva proteins stick to its skin and fur. This explains, in part, why cat allergies are more common than dog allergies: Cats groom themselves more frequently than dogs. Cats also tend to be held more than dogs, and their smaller size means they’re typically kept in the house more often. Animal urine also contains allergy-causing proteins. As the urine dries, particles become airborne, and can travel throughout the house.

While the fur or feathers themselves don’t cause allergies, they can carry allergens such as dust mites, pollen and mold. So if you suffer from other allergies, pets can cause a problem. This also makes it easy to mistake hayfever or a mold allergy for a pet allergy.

Hypoallergenic Dogs, Hypoallergenic Cats

Because most people aren’t actually allergic to animal fur, claims that shorthaired breeds cause fewer allergies aren’t really true. Fur length has nothing to do with the amount of dander an animal sheds. If you suffer from dog or cat allergies, but are planning on bringing a pet into your home anyway, try to spend some time with the individual animal first. Certainly determine how your allergies react to the pet before you bring it home.

Lists of breeds commonly considered to be hypoallergenic, that is, they cause the fewest or mildest allergies, are given below:

Hypoallergenic Cats Hypoallergenic Dogs
Balinese Poodle
Cornish Rex Italian Greyhound
Devon Rex Whippet
Javanese Basenji
Oriental Shorthair Mexican Hairless
Peterbald (aka Oriental Hairless)

Allergies to Other Animals

Guinea pigs, hamsters and other rodents are popular choices for pets, but people can develop allergies to them, too, especially to their urine.

Birds can also cause allergies, either through airborne particles of droppings, or the fine dust (“bloom”) that covers their feathers. In fact, allergic reactions among racing pigeon breeders have given rise to the term “Pigeon Fancier’s Lung.”

In short, any type of animal has the potential to trigger an allergic reaction. What affects one person may not affect you. If you have any concerns about possible allergies, try to spend some extended time with the animal before bringing it home.

Allergy-Preventing Pets?

There may or may not be hypoallergenic dogs, but recent research suggests that children who live with pets may actually gain some protection against pet allergies, at least for the first six years of life. Studies indicate that children who live with pets from birth on may develop less severe allergies than children who are isolated from animals in their early years. The theory requires more research, but indicates that exposure to pets isn’t necessarily a bad thing!