Pet Allergies

sfa white section divider
copied to clipboard

Did you know that your four-legged friend could be the reason for your uncontrollable sneezing and coughing? 

Pet allergies are actually quite common. When exposed to allergens found on dogs or cats, a person who is allergic may start to experience a reaction. Once their body tries to defend itself against the foreign substance, a series of irritating symptoms may start to flare up. Trying to manage pet allergies can be tricky, but with the right treatment, you can continue to enjoy your furry friends. Let's take a closer look at pet allergies and what you can do to treat them.


Pet allergies occur when a person’s body reacts to proteins found in a dog or cat’s skin cells, saliva or urine. When a sensitive person’s immune system comes into contact with any of these particles, it causes their immune system to react. Once their immune system goes into defense mode, a number of bothersome symptoms may occur, such as chronic sneezing and coughing, nasal congestion, or even difficulty breathing. 

If you have a pet allergy, it is best to limit your exposure to animals. When avoidance is not possible, there are a number of other options available to control and even treat your pet allergy symptoms. From a strict cleaning routine to over-the-counter medications, and even immunotherapy, allergy sufferers can find relief to manage their allergy symptoms and enjoy the company of their pets.


Pet allergies can cause a number of irritating symptoms that can make it difficult to go about your day. When you suffer from pet allergies, symptoms are similar to the common cold, making it challenging to identify the problem. Additionally, they can be present year round, like perennial allergies. It is best to talk to a professional about your symptoms and un These symptoms may range from mild to severe and can affect each person differently. 

Some common symptoms of pet allergies are: 

  • Itchy, puffy or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy skin 
  • Hives or rashes on the skin
  • Eczema 
  • Coughing and wheezing

In some cases, asthma may also be a symptom of exposure to pet dander and other particles. This can cause chest tightness and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to seek professional help to learn how to manage your allergy-induced asthma and prevent possible complications.

Talk to Our Online Provider


In order to diagnose pet allergies, you will need to schedule an appointment with a doctor to discuss your symptoms. During your consultation, they will ask you a series of questions that will allow them to better understand your lifestyle and determine possible causes of your symptoms. Be open with details, no matter how minor you may think they are, as they could be beneficial in the diagnosis.

Some possible questions your doctor may ask you during your appointment are: 

  • What kind of symptoms are you experiencing? 
  • How long have you experienced these symptoms? 
  • When you get allergies, how often do the symptoms last? 
  • When do you notice your allergies the most –– indoors or outdoors?
  • Do your symptoms come and go throughout the year, or do they last year-round?
  • Do you have any pets? Are you around animals often? 
  • Do you smoke? Does anyone in your household smoke?
  • What allergy medications do you use now, if any? 
  • Do you have problems with your sense of smell or taste?
  • Do you get better on the weekend and worse when you go back to work?

After you discuss the answers to these questions, your doctor will conduct a physical examination of your eyes, nose and mouth to look for any physical symptoms. In some cases where pet allergies are thought to be the reason, the doctor may ask you to leave your home for a short period of time to determine if your pet is the problem. Remember, pet dander and other allergens can remain in a home for months, even after the pet is taken out of the house. So if you’re trying to determine the cause of your allergies, it would be best to take yourself out of the environment, rather than the pet. 

Allergy Tests

If removing yourself from the environment doesn't have any effect on your symptoms and the doctor is unable to determine a cause for your symptoms, they may perform an allergy test. Typically, these allergy tests are conducted on the skin. During the skin test, the doctor will put a small amount of possible allergens on the skin and observe to see if there is a reaction. 

If you are unable to have a skin test done due to sensitive skin, a blood allergy test done is an alternative. For this exam, a small amount of blood will be drawn and sent to a lab for testing. Once the results are back, your doctor will be able to explain the cause(s) of your symptoms and recommend treatment.

Management & Treatment 

There are a number of things that you can do to manage your pet allergies. One of the most effective ways is by avoiding dogs and cats. If you already have a pet, it is best to try to limit your exposure to them. For example, keep them outside if possible or only allow them in certain rooms in the house. 

Another way to control your pet allergies is to frequently clean your home. This can help keep your symptoms under control. Have a schedule where you vacuum, dust surfaces and change your air filters regularly. When you own a pet and suffer from pet allergies, it is best to change your air filters every 20 to 45 days. It may also be a good idea to invest in an air purifier as another way to keep the air around you clean. A secondary precaution you can take is to clean with a mask. This will reduce your contact with the allergens through your mouth or nose when stirring them into the air as you clean.

Although these measures may help you manage your symptoms, they are unable to provide relief once symptoms have begun. In order to treat your allergy symptoms, more effective forms of treatment are recommended.


Antihistamines are commonly used to manage seasonal allergy symptoms, and also work well with pet allergies. They work by blocking the release of histamines, a chemical compound found in your body that causes inflammation of blood vessels and smooth muscle tissues to contract when an allergen is detected. By taking this medication, your body’s natural response to the allergen will be blocked, preventing allergy symptoms from occurring. When taken appropriately, these over-the-counter treatment options can relieve itching, sneezing, and a runny nose caused by pet allergies. 

Nasal Sprays 

Another form of treatment is nasal spray. Nasal spray works to provide short-term relief from an itchy nose, sneezing, or nasal congestion associated with pet allergies, and decrease the inflammation in the nasal passages, making it easier to breathe. With over-the-counter options and prescriptions available, discuss with your doctor about what is best for your pet allergies.  


If you suffer from breathing problems or asthma as a result of pet allergies, bronchodilators make the condition manageable. By reducing inflammation of the bronchial tubes, bronchodilators can relieve chest pressure and make it easier to breathe. As this is a much more serious condition, talk to your doctor about how to properly use this medication to treat your pet allergy-induced asthma.


Immunotherapy works by purposely exposing your body to a small amount of the allergens that cause your allergic reaction. In doing so, you desensitize your immune system over time, so that when it does come into contact with an allergen, it will no longer think that the particles are harmful. 

The most common form of immunotherapy is through allergy shots or allergy drops, and most recently allergy creams. In order to start this treatment, you will have to visit a doctor and make sure that it can work for you. The allergy shots are administered every two to four weeks, for a period of three to five years.  During this time, the shots will increase the amount of allergen in the dosage, so it is important to follow the plan strictly to see results.  

Transdermal Immunotherapy

The latest form of immunotherapy is transdermal immunotherapy, also known as TdIT. This form of treatment is applied directly onto the skin, in the form of a cream, which means no painful shots or disgusting drops. 

Once the transdermal allergy cream is applied to the skin, it is absorbed into the lymphatic system. It is here that the immune system operates, making transdermal allergy cream the most natural and effective way to expose your body to allergens. After about 15 minutes, the allergens are absorbed into the body and the cream can be washed off. Transdermal allergy cream must be applied three times a week in order to be effective. It is a long term treatment option that may ease the severity of pet allergy symptoms, with the potential to eliminate them altogether. 


What causes pet allergies?

Pet allergies are caused by exposure to proteins found in an animal's skin cells (pet dander), saliva or urine.

Does transdermal immunotherapy work for pet allergies?

Transdermal Allergy Cream is not a treatment for your pet if your pet has allergies. However Transdermal Allergy Cream can be used to treat people who are allergic to cats or dogs.

How can I start treatment with the transdermal allergy cream? 

At ShotFree Allergy, we put you in contact with the physicians and specialty pharmacies that provide the latest in allergy treatments. In order to begin treatment, schedule an Online Appointment to discuss your allergy symptoms with an online provider. During the appointment you will discuss your allergy symptoms in order to determine if you are a good candidate for Transdermal Allergy Immunotherapy. If you are, a prescription will be issued and the pharmacy will mail you your treatment. 

Do I have to visit a doctor? 

When starting treatment we recommend a few monthly visits to your Doctor as a standard safety protocol. If any Stay-At-Home order is in place, you may sign a consent form to apply your first dose at home with another person present. You will then apply the cream at home three times per week. 

After the initial period of recommended visits to your Doctor, you can continue to apply the cream at home three times per week. For the remainder of your treatment, we recommend an annual checkup with an online provider.

Visit our FAQ page for more information.

Transdermal allergy cream is an ideal option for those suffering from pet allergies. If you think that you may have pet allergies, schedule an appointment through our online portal to talk to one of our providers and learn if you are a good candidate for transdermal immunotherapy.

Schedule Online Appointment