Should I Get a Pet if I Have Allergies?

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How To Enjoy A Pet — Even With Allergies! 

Those who suffer from pet allergies likely think they will never get the chance to own a pet. This can be a tough reality to face, especially if you are an animal lover. However, regardless of what you may think, it is possible to own pets while living with pet allergies!

Though you may need to work a little harder at managing pet allergens in your home by taking extra measures to reduce your pet’s dander with household tools and products, it is possible to own a pet and not suffer from allergy symptoms. 

As animal lovers ourselves, we understand that pets can provide us with many benefits. So if you truly wish to own one, this blog post is here to guide you on how to own a pet — even when dealing with allergies. 

The Benefits of Owning a Pet

Pet owners can testify what a wonderful experience it is to own a cat, dog, bird, fish, or whichever animal you enjoy. Animals often act as companions and are accepted as true members of the family. Our pets can even provide physical benefits, such as lowered blood pressure and stress levels, all the while encouraging us to become more active ourselves. Kids with pet allergies also benefit from pet ownership, which can teach them responsibility and provide emotional support. The power of pets is incredible, so don’t feel as if you have to miss out on this opportunity just because of your allergies.

Plus, there is always a chance that your allergy symptoms are not being caused by your pet after all, as pollen trapped in your pet’s fur can trigger seasonal and perennial allergies. The only way to know for sure that your pet is the true cause behind your allergies is to get tested by a medical professional who can confirm your allergy diagnosis. 

How Pets Cause Allergies

Pet allergies are caused by a reaction to the proteins in an animal’s dander, urine, or saliva. The actual fur or hair of the pet is very rarely the issue. Owners with a sensitive immune system may become reactive when in contact with these substances, and therefore experience the symptoms of pet allergies. 

Pet allergy symptoms include hives, rashes, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and nasal congestion. Depending on the person, you may experience a combination of these symptoms simultaneously. Severe allergies may lead to asthma, difficulty breathing, or anaphylactic shock. In this instance, we recommend visiting an allergist to treat your symptoms. 

How to Own a Pet with Allergies

Along with trying different types of allergy treatment, there are also some things you can do to make sure your pet allergies don’t get in the way of owning a pet. 

1. Utilize Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy treatment is the process of desentizing your body to the allergens that trigger your symptoms. Treatment may come in the form of allergy injections, custom-formulated drops, and topical creams. 

Allergy injections are a traditional method of immunotherapy that can be effective in treating pet allergies. Bi-weekly injections are done at a provider’s office for a minimum of three years. 

Drops are a sublingual form of immunotherapy that must also be administered at a doctor’s office. Similar to injections, drops must be taken for a minimum of three years to prove their effectiveness. 

Topical immunotherapy, such as a transdermal cream, is an at-home allergy treatment you can apply yourself three times per week. This form of immunotherapy is not only effective, but the easiest and most cost-effective form of immunotherapy to undergo. 

2. Clean Your Home Regularly

Keeping your home clean is the key to living with pets and reducing triggers. Routinely cleaning using allergy-specific products such as HEPA vacuums and air purifiers can greatly reduce the amount of pet allergens circulating throughout your home. 

Aside from regular vacuuming, be sure to wash your bedding, rugs, and all other fabrics in your home on a weekly basis at minimum. Doing so will get rid of particles left from your pet, especially if they share the furniture with you. In addition, be sure to wipe away dust before too much of it collects as this is primarily made up of dander that settles onto hard surfaces. 

Cleaning your home to reduce pet allergens is fairly simple if you know what needs to be cleaned and how often. Learn more about managing indoor and outdoor allergens by downloading our Room-By-Room Guide to Removing Allergens.

Download Your Guide Here.

3. Own a Hypoallergenic Pet

While there are debates whether hypoallergenic pets exist, pet owners swear by certain breeds of dogs and cats that lessen pet allergy symptoms. 

Popular hypoallergenic dog breeds include:

  • Bichon Frise
  • Havanese
  • Schnauzer
  • Poodles and Poodle mixes
  • Portuguese Water Dog

Hypoallergenic cat breeds include:

  • Balinese 
  • Cornish Rex
  • Javanese
  • Russian Blue
  • Siberian Cat 
  • Sphynx (Hairless) Cat 

Other pet options that are perfect for pet owners with allergies include:

  • Fish 
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Rabbits
  • Hamsters
  • Birds
  • Reptiles and Amphibians 

With so many pets to choose from, you and your kids will never have to worry about missing out on experiencing the joy of owning a pet — allergies or not! 

4. Groom Your Pet

Regular brushing and grooming will reduce the amount of pet dander in your home, and therefore reduce your chances of having an allergic reaction. While all animals shed dander, an excessive amount is generally correlated with dry skin or a dermatological condition. Take your pet to their vet to see if a skin infection or other issue is behind your pet’s excessive dander. 

Our Suggestion: Any time your pet comes back from being outside, take the time to wipe down their paws and belly to remove any pollen or other particles that may be caught in their fur. This could unknowingly be causing your allergies as well. 

Our Answer to Living with Pets

As you can see, our answer is yes, you should get a pet even if you have allergies! The solutions in this post make it possible to enjoy a pet and not have to worry about an allergic reaction any time you are in the same space. We encourage you to try all of these tips to see what works best for you. However, immunotherapy and allergy testing is your best bet for diagnosing and managing your pet allergy. If you’re interested in transdermal immunotherapy for your pet allergies, click here to schedule an online appointment with one of our providers.

If you are interested in welcoming a pet into your home, learn what animal might be the best fit for you. Check out our Hypoallergenic Pet Guide for more information on the best pets for allergies and how to manage your pet allergy symptoms. Download your copy of the guide below to live a happy life with your beloved pet!

Download Guide