animal allergy

What is animal allergy

Animal allergy also known as pet allergy, are allergies to pets that are caused by protein found in the animal’s dander (dead skin cells), saliva, sweat, urine and feces 1, 2. However, many pet owners believed that they’re allergic to their animal’s fur. But it isn’t the fur that triggers an allergic reaction. Instead, it’s proteins that are found in the animal’s dander (flakes of dead skin cells), sweat, skin oil, saliva (spit), urine and feces (“poop”). The proteins from your pets also called allergens (allergy triggers or anything that causes an allergic reaction) stick to your animal’s fur and end up on objects like mattresses, carpets, rugs, clothes or upholstered furniture (e.g. sofas, armchairs). Sometimes the allergens are also found in places where there aren’t any animals. This is particularly true for cat allergens, which can easily be spread through tiny particles that float through the air. They may first settle on clothes, for instance, and then be spread to furniture from there. The allergens remain intact for a very long time, and can still trigger allergies months or years after leaving the animal. So, before moving into a new home, it’s a good idea to find out whether the people who lived there before you had cats.

Also, pet hair or fur can collect pollen, mold spores, dust mites and other outdoor allergens. These allergens then enter your body through your airways or through direct physical contact. When inhaled, these allergens trigger allergic reactions in some people causing symptoms such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma. As all dogs and cats possess these proteins, none of them is allergy-free. Though some breeds are considered more allergy-friendly, it is likely because they are groomed more frequently, a process that removes much of the dander (dead skin cells). It is a common misconception that people are allergic to a dog or cat’s hair, and it is falsely believed that an animal that sheds less will not cause a reaction. Furthermore, contrary to popular opinion, there are no truly “hypoallergenic breeds” of dogs or cats. Allergic dander in cats and dogs is not affected by length of hair or fur, nor by the amount of shedding. And you have any doubt as to whether your pet is causing your allergy symptoms, a clinical immunology/allergy specialist can confirm your suspicion using skin tests or allergen specific immunoglobulin E (IgE, a type of antibody) allergy tests.

Most often, pet allergy is triggered by exposure to the dead flakes of skin (dander) a pet sheds. Any animal with fur can be a source of pet allergy, but pet allergies are most commonly associated with cats and dogs. Farm animals such as cattle, sheep, horses, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and chickens can cause allergies too, but they are not as common as cat and dog allergy. However, the presence of these allergens from clothing and other items may be sufficient to trigger allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and asthma.

The table below lists the animals that are most likely to cause allergies, and how the allergens are usually spread.

AnimalsAllergens mainly spread through:
CatsFur, saliva
DogsFur, saliva
Guinea pigsUrine
BirdsFeathers, excretions
[Source 2 ]

If you have a pet allergy, the best strategy is to avoid or reduce exposure to the animal as much as possible. Medications (antihistamines & intranasal cortocosteroid sprays) or other treatments may be necessary to relieve symptoms and manage your symptoms. Nasal sprays and tablets for allergies can be used to treat the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Rashes can be treated with steroid medications such as steroid creams.

If you have a pet allergy, talk to your allergist / immunologist about the potential for allergy shots (allergy immunotherapy). Allergen-specific immunotherapy (allergy shots) is a treatment option for cat allergies, among others. There’s a lack of good research on whether it works well in the treatment of dog allergies. Immunotherapy may be considered if the symptoms are particularly severe and if contact with the animal can’t be avoided. The treatment involves regularly exposing the body to small doses of the allergen over a time period of at least three years. The aim is to train the body’s immune system to become less sensitive (desensitize it) to the allergen.

Other ways to minimize pet allergy symptoms include:

  • Play with your pet, but try not to hug or kiss it.
  • Wash your hands when you’re done playing with your pet.
  • Keeping pets out of your bedroom can reduce allergy symptoms since you spend about eight hours every day in this room. Even if it’s a small pet, like a bird or gerbil, don’t keep the animal in your room. So can keeping your pet off of upholstered furniture.
  • Get rid of any rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting in your bedroom, which can trap pet dander and other allergens.
  • Clean your room often so it’s free of household dust.
  • Have someone who doesn’t have allergies wash and brush your pet regularly—outside, not indoors. For caged animals, someone else should clean the cage.
  • Use a double or micro-filter bag in the vacuum to reduce the amount of pet allergen present in carpeting that leaks back into the room air.
  • Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners, which can be a big help in removing unwanted allergenic particles from the air.
  • If there’s a pet in your classroom, let your teacher know about your allergies.

Keeping animals outside is only a temporary solution, since pet dander will eventually make its way indoors as it is carried on clothing.

When all else fails, you might have to find a new home for your pet. Then it may take six months or more after the pet is gone to completely get rid of the dander.

If you don’t want to do that because you’re very attached to your pets, it can help to keep your pets out of your bedroom, have someone bathe them at least once a week, or have the animal live outside. You’ll also want to avoid pets at other people’s homes.

Giving up a pet in order to prevent allergy symptoms isn’t always necessary. An allergist / immunologist can accurately diagnose your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to help you or your child manage allergy symptoms and potentially keep your furry friends.

When to see a doctor

Some signs and symptoms of pet allergy, such as a runny nose or sneezing, are similar to those of the common cold. Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether you have a cold or an allergy. If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, you might have an allergy.

If your signs and symptoms are severe — with nasal passages feeling completely blocked and difficulty sleeping or wheezing — see your doctor. Seek emergency care if wheezing or shortness of breath rapidly worsens or if you are short of breath with minimal activity.

What is allergy?

An allergy also known as a ‘hypersensitivity reaction’ or a ‘hypersensitivity response’, is an abnormal and exaggerated response from your body’s immune system to things that are typically harmless to most people. Your immune system normally protects you from diseases by fighting germs like bacteria and viruses. But when you’re allergic to something, your immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harmful to your body. This causes the sneezing, itching, and other reactions that you get with allergies. Substances that cause allergic reactions — such as animal’s dander, insects, certain foods, dust, dust mites, plant pollen, grass, mold or medicines — are known as allergens.

Animal allergy causes

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, mold or pet dander. The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed down through your genes — so you have a better chance of having allergies if your mom or dad or other people in your family have them. However, just because your parent or sibling has allergies doesn’t mean you will definitely get them, too. A person usually doesn’t inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies.

Your immune system produces proteins known as antibodies. These antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause an infection. An allergen is a normally harmless substance that triggers the immune system to overreact in people with allergies.

When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies (IgE antibodies) that identify your particular allergen as something harmful, even though it isn’t. Those antibodies then cause certain cells in the body to release chemicals into the bloodstream, one of which is histamine. The histamine then acts on your eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract and causes the symptoms of the allergic reaction. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this antibody response again. This means that every time you come into contact with that allergen, you’ll have some form of allergy symptoms.

When you inhale the allergen or come into contact with it, your immune system responds and produces an inflammatory response in your nasal passages or lungs. This response can cause allergy symptoms such as sniffling, sneezing and itchiness and watery eyes. Prolonged or regular exposure to the allergen can cause the ongoing (chronic) airway inflammation associated with asthma.

Cats and dogs allergy

Allergens from cats and dogs are found in skin cells the animals shed (dander), as well as in their saliva, urine and sweat and on their fur. Dander is a particular problem because it is very small and can remain airborne for long periods of time with the slightest bit of air circulation. It also collects easily in upholstered furniture and sticks to your clothes.

Pet saliva can stick to carpets, bedding, furniture and clothing. Dried saliva can become airborne.

So-called hypoallergenic cats and dogs may shed less fur than shedding types, but no breed is truly hypoallergenic.

The main source of cat allergen is in the sebaceous glands in the cat’s skin. Cats often lick themselves and this helps spread cat allergen, which is sticky, and glues itself to dander, dust particles and all parts of the home. As all cats have sebaceous glands, all cat breeds can potentially cause allergies. Cat allergen can remain distributed throughout the home for up to six months and in the cat’s bedding for up to four years. The allergen spreads so much that it can be measured in the homes of non-pet owners and on the clothing of co-workers of cat owners. Cat allergen has been detected in the Antarctic, even though cats have never been there.

The main source of dogs allergen is the dog’s saliva. As the main source of dog allergen is saliva, dander (material shed from skin, hair and fur particles) can spread the allergen. All dog breeds cause allergies, although some do not shed as much dander (and therefore allergen).

Rodents and rabbits allergy

Rodent pets include mice, gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs. Allergens from rodents are usually present in hair, dander, saliva and urine. Dust from litter or sawdust in the bottom of cages may contribute to airborne allergens from rodents.

Rabbit allergens are present in dander, hair and saliva.

Other pets allergy

Pet allergy is rarely caused by animals that don’t have fur, such as fish and reptiles.

Animal allergy risk factors

Pet allergies are common. However, you’re more likely to develop a pet allergy if allergies or asthma runs in your family. Being exposed to pets at an early age may help you avoid pet allergies. Some studies have found that children who live with a dog in the first year of life may have better resistance to upper respiratory infections during childhood than kids who don’t have a dog at that age.

Pet allergy prevention

If you don’t have a pet but are considering adopting or buying one, make sure you don’t have pet allergies before making the commitment.

Not having any pets yourself usually doesn’t prevent you from developing a pet allergy. Some people have a cat allergy, for instance, even though they have never had any cats as pets. But if someone is at higher risk of developing allergies to animals, getting a pet could make them have pet allergy symptoms for the first time.

On the other hand, though, it is believed that living with animals may actually prevent allergies. This could have something to do with the fact that regular close contact with allergens and microbes helps the immune system to learn how to tell the difference between harmless substances and harmful substances. But there’s currently no scientific proof that this theory is true. The risk of becoming allergic to an animal you live with will depend on things like what kind of animal it is and how much contact you have with it.

Animal allergy signs and symptoms

The typical allergy symptoms usually appear during or shortly after coming into contact with the allergen. The signs and symptoms of pet allergy can be mild like those common to hay fever, such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and ears. Or they can be serious, like wheezing and difficulty breathing especially if you have a history of asthma. Some types of allergies cause multiple symptoms.

Remember that these symptoms may linger long after the animal is gone. This is because the animal dander remains in the air, on furniture or on your clothing.

If you are exposed to a pet on a long-term basis, you may have more chronic symptoms such as ongoing nasal congestion and not the sudden symptoms seen with short-term exposure, making it appear as if the pet is not causing you problems.

Additionally, contact with a pet may trigger skin allergy symptoms including itchy skin or raised, red patches (hives). Pets can also trigger asthma symptoms, causing wheezing, difficulty breathing or chest tightness.

Inflammation of nasal passages

Pet allergy signs and symptoms caused by inflammation of nasal passages include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Frequent awakening
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
  • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose

If your pet allergy contributes to asthma, you may also experience:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Coughing, especially at night or early morning (during cool weather) or after certain activities (such as exercise)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing — feeling breathless, even while resting, or being unable to finish full sentences before needing to take another breath
  • Wheezing, which is a whistling sound when breathing out (exhaling), which is a common sign of asthma in children
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A lack of energy

Skin symptoms

Some people with pet allergy may also experience skin symptoms, a pattern known as allergic dermatitis. This type of dermatitis is an immune system reaction that causes skin inflammation. Direct contact with an allergy-causing pet may trigger allergic dermatitis, causing signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Raised, red patches of skin (hives)
  • Eczema
  • Itchy skin

And in rare cases, an allergic reaction can become very severe — this is called anaphylaxis. Signs of anaphylaxis include trouble breathing or swallowing; swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat or other parts of the body; and dizziness or loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis usually happens minutes after exposure to a trigger, such as a peanut, but some reactions can be delayed by as long as 4 hours. Luckily, anaphylactic reactions don’t happen often and can be treated successfully.

Animal allergy complications

Sinus infections

Ongoing (chronic) inflammation of tissues in the nasal passages caused by pet allergy can obstruct the hollow cavities connected to your nasal passages (sinuses). These obstructions may make you more likely to develop bacterial infections of the sinuses, such as sinusitis.


Asthma also known as bronchial asthma, is a long-term (chronic) lung condition that causes the airways of the lungs to swell (inflammation) and narrow. Normally, when someone breathes in, air goes in through the nose or mouth, down the windpipe (trachea), and into the airways (bronchioles) of the lungs. When people breathe out, air exits the body in the opposite direction. With asthma, air has a harder time passing through the airways of the lungs. Airways swell and fill with mucus. The muscles around the airways tighten, making airways narrower. It leads to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. Certain things can set off or worsen asthma symptoms, such as pollen, exercise, viral infections, or cold air. These are called asthma triggers. When symptoms get worse, it is called an asthma attack, that require immediate medical treatment or emergency care.

Animal allergy diagnosis

Allergy symptoms can have a range of causes. It’s often hard to be sure whether they’re being caused by allergens on a pet or, for instance, dust mites. So it’s important to get things checked out by a doctor. If your family doctor suspects you might have an allergy, he or she might refer you to an allergist (a doctor who specializes in allergy treatment) for further testing.

Your doctor may suspect a pet allergy based on your symptoms, an examination of your nose, and your answers to his or her questions.Your doctor will ask you about your own allergy symptoms (such as how often they happen and when) and about whether any family members have allergies. He or she may use a lighted instrument to look at the condition of the lining of your nose. If you have a pet allergy, the lining of the nasal passage may be swollen or appear pale or bluish.

Your doctor will do testing to confirm an allergy. The tests will depend on the type of allergy suspected, and may include a skin test or blood test.

You might also need something known as a provocation test. This is where the membranes lining the nose or eyes (conjunctiva) are exposed to extracts of the potential allergen using a nasal spray or drops. If the lining of your nose becomes swollen, you sneeze and your nose starts running, you are likely to have allergic rhinitis.

Allergy skin test

Your doctor may suggest an allergy skin test to determine exactly what you’re allergic to. You may be referred to an allergy specialist (allergist) for this test.

In this test, tiny amounts of purified allergen extracts — including extracts with animal proteins — are pricked into your skin’s surface. This is usually carried out on the forearm, but it may be done on the upper back.

Your doctor or nurse observes your skin for signs of allergic reactions after 15 minutes. If you’re allergic to cats, for example, you’ll develop a red, itchy bump where the cat extract was pricked into your skin. The most common side effects of these skin tests are itching and redness. These side effects usually go away within 30 minutes.

Blood test

In some cases, a skin test can’t be performed because of the presence of a skin condition or because of interactions with certain medications. As an alternative, your doctor may order a blood test that screens your blood for specific allergy-causing antibodies to various common allergens, including various animals. This test may also indicate how sensitive you are to an allergen.

Animal allergy treatment

There’s no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed. The first line of treatment for controlling pet allergy is avoiding the allergy-causing animal (more specifically stay away from the substances that cause allergic reactions) as much as possible. When you minimize your exposure to pet allergens, you generally should expect to have allergic reactions that are less often or less severe.

However, it’s often difficult or impossible to eliminate completely your exposure to animal allergens. Even if you don’t have a pet, you may unexpectedly encounter pet allergens transported on other people’s clothes.

In addition to avoiding pet allergens, you may need medications and/or allergy shots to control symptoms.


If your pet triggers your asthma or hay fever, these tips might help:

  • Start taking allergy medicine or getting allergy shots in addition to your asthma or hay fever medicine.
  • Keep family pets out of certain rooms, like your bedroom, and bathe them if necessary. (But for some people with serious symptoms, keeping a pet might not be possible.)
  • Play with your pet but try not hug it or kiss it.
  • Clean your room really well and get rid of any rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting (hard floor surfaces don’t collect dust as much as carpets do).
  • Don’t hang heavy drapes, and get rid of other items that let dust build up.
  • Keep your room free of dust (if your allergy is severe, you may be able to get someone else to do your dirty work!).
  • Have someone else wash and brush your pet every week (cats as well as dogs).
  • Make sure everyone in your family washes their hands after touching the pet.
  • Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if you’re allergic to dust mites.
  • If you’re allergic to pollen, keep windows closed when pollen season is at its peak, change your clothing after being outdoors, and don’t mow lawns.
  • If you’re allergic to mold, avoid damp areas, such as basements, and keep bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.

If you have a bird, gerbil, or other small caged animal, move the cage out of your room. Make sure your pet stays in its cage at all times. Have someone else clean the cage daily. Also make sure that your pet’s cage isn’t near any drafts. If the cage is sitting next to a heating or cooling vent, it could blow pet allergens through the room.

If you try all these things and are still having lots of asthma or hay fever flare-ups, you might need to find another home for your pet. You may feel lots of different emotions — from sadness to anger. These feelings might be so strong that they make it hard to eat, sleep, or concentrate. This is a natural part of losing something that is precious to you. How you handle things depends on your personality. You may want to be so busy so that you aren’t home to miss your pet, or you may want to spend time every day looking at pictures of you together. There is no right or wrong way to handle feelings of loss. You might find it helpful to talk about it with friends, family, or a counselor.

It takes months for an animal’s allergens to leave your house, so it might take a while before your symptoms improve.

Even if you no longer have a pet at home, you’re still going to be around animals from time to time. If you go to house where there is a pet, take any prescription allergy medicine before going and have your quick-relief medicine (also called rescue or fast-acting medicines for people with asthma) with you.

Animal allergy medications

Medicines (usually pills or nasal sprays) are often used to treat allergies. Although they can control the allergy symptoms (such as sneezing, headaches, or a stuffy nose), they’re not a cure and can’t make the tendency to have allergic reactions go away. Many effective medicines are available to treat common allergies, and your doctor can help you to identify those that work for you.

Your doctor may direct you to take one of the following medications to improve nasal allergy symptoms:

  • Antihistamines. Antihistamines are medicines that treat allergy symptoms by blocking the effects of histamine, an immune system chemical that is active in an allergic reaction. Prescription antihistamines taken as a nasal spray include azelastine (Astelin, Astepro) and olopatadine (Patanase). Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine tablets include fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy), loratadine (Claritin, Alavert) and cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy); OTC antihistamine syrups are available for children. Prescription antihistamine tablets, such as levocetirizine (Xyzal) and desloratadine (Clarinex), are other options.
    • Antihistamines treat these allergy symptoms:
      • Congestion, runny nose, sneezing, or itching
      • Swelling of the nasal passages
      • Hives and other skin rashes
      • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Corticosteroids. Corticosteroids lower the activity of your immune system and limit the inflammation in your nasal passages. Corticosteroids delivered as a nasal spray can reduce inflammation and control symptoms of hay fever (congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching and swelling of the nasal passageway). These drugs include fluticasone propionate (Flonase Allergy Relief), mometasone furoate (Nasonex), triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24HR) and ciclesonide (Omnaris). Nasal corticosteroids provide a low dose of the drug and have a much lower risk of side effects than do oral corticosteroids.
  • Decongestants. Decongestants can help shrink the blood vessels and swollen tissues in your nasal passages and make it easier to breathe through your nose. Some over-the-counter allergy tablets combine an antihistamine with a decongestant. Oral decongestants can increase blood pressure and generally shouldn’t be taken if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma or cardiovascular disease. Talk to your doctor about whether you can safely take a decongestant. Over-the-counter decongestants taken as a nasal spray may briefly reduce allergy symptoms. If you use a decongestant spray for more than three days in a row, it can contribute to rebound congestion (your nose may feel even more stuffed up when you quit using them).
  • Leukotriene modifiers (leukotriene receptor antagonists). Leukotriene modifiers block the action of certain immune system chemicals. Your doctor may prescribe Montelukast (Singulair), a prescription tablet, if corticosteroid nasal sprays or antihistamines are not good options for you. Montelukast is used to prevent wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and coughing caused by asthma in adults and children 12 months of age and older. Montelukast is also used to treat the symptoms of seasonal (occurs only at certain times of the year), allergic rhinitis (a condition associated with sneezing and stuffy, runny or itchy nose) in adults and children 2 years of age and older, and perennial (occurs all year round) allergic rhinitis in adults and children 6 months of age and older. Montelukast should be used to treat seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis only in adults and children who cannot be treated with other medications. Possible side effects of montelukast include upper respiratory infection, headache and fever. Less common side effects include behavior or mood changes, such as anxiousness or depression.

Another type of medicine that some severely allergic people will need to have on hand is a shot of epinephrine. This fast-acting medicine can help offset an anaphylactic reaction. It comes in an easy-to-carry container that looks like a large pen. Epinephrine is available by prescription only. If you have a severe allergy and your doctor thinks you should carry it, he or she will give you instructions on how to use it.

Other pet allergy treatments

  • Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots). You can “train” your immune system not to be sensitive to an allergen. Allergen immunotherapy is delivered through a series of allergy shots. Allergy shots contain small amounts of the thing you are allergic to, called an allergen. Immunotherapy is only recommended for specific allergies, such as to things a person can breathe in (like pollen, pet dander, or dust mites) or insect allergies. Immunotherapy doesn’t help with some allergies, like food allergies. One to 2 weekly allergy shots expose you to very small doses of the allergen, in this case, the animal protein that causes an allergic reaction. The dose is gradually increased, usually during a 4- to 6-month period. This process helps your body fight the allergen. Your immune system creates antibodies to block its effect. The result is your allergy symptoms become less severe. Maintenance shots are needed every four weeks for 3 to 5 years. Immunotherapy is usually used when other simple treatments aren’t satisfactory. Although the shots don’t cure allergies, they do tend to raise a person’s tolerance when exposed to the allergen, which means fewer or less serious symptoms. If you want want to start allergy shots, find a board certified allergist/immunologist here (
  • Nasal irrigation. You can use a neti pot or a specially designed squeeze bottle to flush thickened mucus and irritants from your sinuses with a prepared saltwater (saline) rinse. If you’re preparing the saline solution yourself, use water that’s contaminant-free — distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered with a filter that has an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller. Be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with contaminant-free water, and leave open to air-dry.

Keeping your pet

If you keep your pet, you can help minimize the allergens in your home with these tips:

  • Bathe your pet frequently. Ask a family member or friend without allergies to bathe your pet on a weekly basis.
  • Establish a pet-free zone. Make certain rooms in your house, such as your bedroom, pet-free zones to reduce allergen levels in those rooms.
  • Remove carpeting and dander-attracting furnishings. If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpeting with tile, wood, linoleum or vinyl flooring that won’t harbor pet allergens as easily. Consider replacing other allergen-attracting furnishings, such as upholstered furniture, curtains and horizontal blinds.
  • Enlist help. When it comes time to clean your pet’s kennel, litter box or cage, ask a family member or friend who doesn’t have pet allergies to do the work.
  • Use high-efficiency filters. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air purifiers and vent filters may help reduce airborne pet allergens.
  • Keep your pet outside. If your pet can live comfortably outside, you can reduce the amount of allergens in your home. This option isn’t appropriate for many pets or in certain climates.

Finding a new home for your pet

If you do find a new home for your pet, your allergy symptoms won’t disappear immediately. Even after a thorough cleaning, your house may have significant levels of pet allergens for several weeks or months. The following steps can help lower pet allergen levels in a newly pet-free home:

  • Clean the entire house. Have someone without pet allergies clean the entire house, including a thorough washing of the ceilings and walls.
  • Replace or move upholstered furniture. Replace upholstered furniture if possible, as cleaning won’t remove all pet allergens from upholstery. Move upholstered furniture from your bedroom into another area of your home.
  • Replace carpets. If possible, replace carpeting, particularly in your bedroom.
  • Replace bedding. Replace sheets, blankets and other bedcovers, because it’s difficult to wash away pet allergens completely. Replace bed pillows. If you can’t replace your mattress and box spring, encase them in allergen-blocking covers.
  • Use high-efficiency filters. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters for your air ducts may trap allergens in the air, and HEPA vacuum bags may reduce the amount of dander rustled up by your cleaning. HEPA air purifiers also may reduce airborne pet allergens.
  1. Pet Allergy Defined.,-Asthma-Immunology-Glossary/Pet-Allergy-Defined
  2. [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Allergies to animals: Overview. [Updated 2020 Apr 23]. Available from:
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