Allergies to Pets and Animals

Millions of Americans own dogs, cats and other animals, and many are allergic to these animals. Most often, people have an allergic reaction to the animal’s saliva, dander (flakes of skin) or urine.

Symptoms for allergy to animals:

  • Watery, red and/or itchy eyes
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Sneezing or runny nose
  • Skin rashes
  • Asthma

Although cats and dogs trigger the most allergic responses, hamsters, gerbils and rabbits are also becoming popular pets. Research animals like mice or rats, as well as cattle, horses, chickens, hogs and zoo animals — especially in confined spaces — can be occupational hazards and cause breathing and skin symptoms.

Can allergy drops help allergy to pets?

Allergy drop treatment for animal allergies involves using the same FDA-approved antigens used in allergy shots, but delivering them in a liquid dose under the tongue. Most animal allergies respond well to allergy drop treatment.

The decision about whether to continue animal exposure depends on the severity of your reaction. Most people can be successfully treated while still exposed to the animal, though treatment may take longer than if the animal was not in the home/work setting. Before getting an indoor pet, consider allergy testing. Mild to moderate animal allergies typically respond more quickly if treated before the animal is brought into the home.

If you want to keep your pet in your home, here are some tips to help reduce exposure:

  • Keep your pet out of the bedroom, and keep bedroom doors closed. Clean the room aggressively and consider using a HEPA air cleaner.
  • Because animal allergens are sticky, remove the animal's favorite furniture, wall-to-wall carpet and scrub walls and woodwork. Keep home surfaces clean and uncluttered. Bare floors and walls are best.
  • If carpet is a must, choose a low pile and steam clean it frequently. Better yet, use throw rugs and wash them in hot water.
  • Wear a dust mask to vacuum. Vacuum cleaners stir up allergens that have settled on carpet and make allergies worse. Use a vacuum with a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filter if possible.
  • Change your clothes after prolonged animal exposure.
  • Forced-air heating and air conditioning spread allergens through the house. Cover bedroom vents with dense filtering material like cheesecloth.
  • Adding an air cleaner/filter to central heating and air conditioning can help remove pet allergens from the air. Use an air cleaner at least four hours per day. Air cleaners with electrostatic filters will remove particles the size of animal allergens from the air, but no air cleaner/filter removes allergens stuck to surfaces.
  • Washing the pet weekly may reduce airborne allergens, but is of questionable value in reducing a person's symptoms.
  • Have someone without a pet allergy brush the pet outside to remove dander and to clean the litter box or cage.
  • Talk to your medical provider about allergy drops.

— Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Pets have allergies too!

Most people think of allergies as primarily a human problem, but animals, especially dogs, also suffer from allergies.

In 2007, an employee asked Dr. Mary Morris, an author of the La Crosse Method Protocol, if allergy drops could help his allergic dog. This led to her developing a pet-specific allergy drop protocol, trialing it through a study with a veterinary dermatologist at the University of Wisconsin, and launching a broader study with veterinarian dermatologists across the country. These successful trials led to a sublingual treatment that is widely used for pets today.

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