Animal Allergies

Animal Facts:

  • Animal allergy is a common asthma trigger.
  • You can develop an allergy to a pet at any time.
  • Any animal can cause allergic problems in the chest, nose and skin.
  • The material that causes these problems is called an allergen.
  • All animals with fur, feathers or hair produce allergen. The allergen is in their dander, saliva and urine.
  • Animal allergen is a problem because it easily gets into the air we breathe.
  • Animal allergen is easily carried from place to place on clothing.
  • Allergic problems may happen right after contact with an animal or may happen a few hours later.
  • Regular contact with an animal may cause daily symptoms including cough, wheeze or stuffy nose.


Avoidance and Control

  • The best advice for anyone with an animal allergy is not to have an animal in the home.
  • After removing the animal from the home, it may take months before there is less allergen in the home.
  • If you cannot remove the animal, keep it outside as much as possible.
  • When an animal must be inside, try to keep it in a small uncarpeted area.
  • Never allow the animal into the bedroom.
  • If you have an animal allergy, you should not clean its cage, litter box or handle the animal.
  • If you are allergic to an animal and have regular contact with it, asthma may be harder to control.
  • You may need to take more asthma medicine to keep your asthma controlled.
  • Animals should be kept out of daycares and school rooms where children have allergies to animals.
  • Experts cannot agree if air cleaners, special vacuums, removal of carpet, or washing your pet will help.
  • If you must visit a place where there are animals, speak to your doctor. Get advice about medicine that may help to protect you during a visit.
  • If moving, check with the landlord or previous home owner to see if an animal has lived in the home.


More Animal Facts

  • Cats are a common problem for people with allergies or asthma.
  • All breeds of cats and dogs can cause allergy. There are no NON allergic cats or dogs.
  • Short haired pets produce as much allergen as long haired pets.
  • Animal allergen collects on cloth covered furniture and carpets. It is hard to remove.

The Children's Allergy & Asthma Education Centre ©2012, 2014