Patients with allergic reactions to dogs or cats may be allergic to their saliva or fur. The proteins in saliva and fur can trigger allergic reactions indoors and outdoors. These antigens that cause allergic reactions become airborne very quickly because they are lightweight. They easily spread to clothing, carpeting, and other household items.
Unfortunately, even after the removal of these allergy triggers, traces of the antigens will stay in the house. So patients will likely experience allergy symptoms when the animal is not around.
Dog and Cat Allergy Symptoms
- Itchy, watery, and red eyes
- Runny nose
Dog and Cat Allergy Diagnosis
A board-certified allergist, like one from NY Allergy & Sinus Centers, can diagnose an allergy to dogs. We have a variety of allergy tests available to accurately diagnose a number of allergies. Skin prick testing is the most common method of allergy testing. This test uses diluted amounts of allergens that are applied to the skin with tiny punctures. If you are allergic, you will have a localized allergic reaction and a raised bump (hive) will develop on your skin.
It takes less than 20 minutes for the results to show. You may experience some itching during the test while the allergens are reacting, but it will subside shortly. Your allergist will monitor you for more severe symptoms that may arise.
This test is not recommended for those with ongoing skin conditions, such as eczema. In this case, an allergist may use an allergy blood test to diagnose a dog or cat allergy. Blood tests measure immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that your immune system develops in reaction to a specific allergen. They are usually accurate but take longer to deliver results.
Dog and Cat Allergy Treatment
If you have a dog or cat allergy, your first step should be to decrease or eliminate your exposure to dogs to minimize your allergic reactions. If removing the animal is not an option, over-the-counter allergy medications can be used to treat your symptoms. Another effective treatment is allergy immunotherapy (“allergy shots”) which can be used to reduce a person’s sensitivity to the triggers that are causing their allergy symptoms. Your allergist at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers can determine the best treatment for your allergies.
Dog and Cat Allergy Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Be Allergic to Dogs and cats?
If you experience sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, or asthma symptoms around dogs or cats, you can be allergic to them. Visit an allergist for an allergy test to diagnose your pet allergy.
How Is Pet Allergy Diagnosed?
An allergist diagnoses pet allergy. They will use either a skin prick test or a blood test. In some cases, an allergist will use a pulmonary function test to assess your breathing to see if your asthma is flared by dogs or cats.
Why Are People Allergic to Pets?
Saliva or fur proteins cause allergic reactions in some people. These proteins can get inside the nose, eyes, and lungs, causing an allergic reaction. People who suffer from seasonal allergies are more at risk of developing a pet allergy.
Is Pet Allergy Curable?
Pet allergy is not curable; however, some allergy shots and antihistamines are available to soothe your symptoms.
Are Pet Allergies Genetic?
Researchers are still studying this question, but studies suggest that yes, a hereditary component is involved. Having a blood relative with allergies or asthma increases your risk of having one or more allergies — though the specific type is not passed down, just the increased odds.
Do Animal Proteins Cross-react Among Themselves?
If you are allergic to one animal, you are not necessarily allergic to another. However, you should get a professional allergy diagnosis.
Is Cat Allergy More Common Than Dog Allergy?
Yes, more people are allergic to cats than dogs. Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies.