Can I Still Have a Pet If I’m Allergic?

Hypoallergenic Pet and Owner

Does being around dogs or cats cause you to sneeze and your eyes to water? 

For many people, having an allergy to dogs or cats means they avoid owning these pets altogether, just to be safe. However, some allergy sufferers may still feel the pull toward owning a pet, even if that may cause them to be uncomfortable.

If you’re someone who is allergic to dogs or cats but still wants to own a pet, the good news is it is possible.

What Makes You Allergic to Pets, Anyway?

Many people think it’s a pet’s fur or dander that makes you allergic.

That isn’t entirely the truth.

Someone who is allergic to a dog or cat is actually allergic to a protein that’s found in the saliva, urine, and feces of these pets. This protein gets on your pet’s fur and skin, and then becomes attached to your clothes, furniture, and carpets as your pet sheds fur and dander.

Because of this, even hypoallergenic dogs and cats aren’t going to help you completely avoid an allergic reaction. They still will shed the sneeze-inducing protein, just not in as high a volume as a non-hypoallergenic pet.

What Can You Do If You Want a Pet But You’re Allergic?

The only way you can really avoid allergic reactions if you’ve got pets is to choose something that doesn’t have fur at all, such as a reptile or fish.

However, that may not be a realistic choice for some people. That doesn’t mean you can’t still own a cat or dog!

One way to help you control your allergies around a cat or dog is to limit their access to some areas of your home. For example, keeping your dog or cat out of your bedroom limits the amount of protein that can be shed in your house and at least allows you to get a good night’s rest.

If possible, limit them to spaces where there are hard floors, such as the kitchen or living room if you have hardwood floors. This makes them easier to clean up after and helps you limit your exposure to the protein they shed.

Additionally, work with your allergy doctor to ensure that you’re on the right dose of allergy medication to help you control the symptoms of your allergy.

Cleaning Is Key

When you decide to get a pet even though you have an allergy, you need to commit to maintaining a strict routine of cleaning to help limit the amount of protein in your space.

Vacuum soft surfaces frequently, and mop or wipe down hard surfaces often. Whenever possible, vacuum hard floors instead of sweeping them, as sweeping can agitate dander and fur and release it into the air.

Installing air filters - and changing them often - can also help trap fur and dander that may cause you to cough and sneeze.

The cleaning routine should also extend to your pets. Bathing them often helps limit the amount of proteins left on their skin and fur, decreasing what they can shed in your house.

When weather allows, brush your pet outdoors so the fur and dander you loosen doesn’t linger in your home.

Treatment for Pet Allergies in Mississippi

At MSAAC, we want to help you feel better all the time, not just when your allergies aren’t acting up. Our team of experienced allergy doctors can help diagnose your allergies and develop a care plan that lets you live your life with minimal interruption. Schedule an appointment at one of our 5 locations today!