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Allergies to Animals

Allergies to Animals

Animal allergies are often a respiratory allergy and rarely a skin allergy.

Indoor pets can spread allergens throughout your home. Some common pet-related allergens include animal dander (dead skin or scales from animals), urine, and dried saliva. Cats in particular spread dried saliva, but other small animals such as mice and gerbils can spread it too. Hair is often not the problem. Short-haired animals are no less of a problem than long-haired ones.

Animal allergies produce symptoms of:

  • Hay fever ( allergic rhinitis ), such as itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; runny, stuffy, or itchy nose; headache and fatigue; dark circles under the eyes; and postnasal drip .
  • Wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. These symptoms may mean a person has an allergic asthma condition.

When allergies are worse around pets, there are some things you can try to reduce your allergy symptoms.

  • Keep the pet outside of the house or at least out of the bedroom.
  • Bathe your pet once a week.
  • Ask a family member who does not have allergies to clean your pet's litter box.
  • Keep a caged pet, such as a gerbil, outside your home in a garage or shed.
  • Consider finding your pet a new home if your symptoms are severe.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised April 29, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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