Is there such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat? Unfortunately, there is not. In fact, for pet allergy sufferers, animal fur is not the issue. It’s a substance called dander that triggers symptoms. For pet allergy treatment and advice in DuPage County, we recommend you speak to the board-certified allergy doctors at Oak Brook Allergists. They can tell you the advantages and disadvantages of pets that do not shed.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies are the body’s overly sensitive reaction to ordinary substances in the environment. Dust, mold, pollen, foods, medications, and pet dander are common allergy triggers, causing a variety of symptoms in different severities.
For instance, if you experience a runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes when cutting your grass or cleaning the attic, you’re overreacting to pollen or household dust. Or, you may develop itchy hives when wearing a wool sweater or touching a surface cleaned with a household disinfectant.
Other people ingest certain foods, such as peanuts, and develop nausea and vomiting or worse, an anaphylactic reaction. Anaphylaxis exhibits shortness of breath, fainting, and other emergent symptoms and requires immediate medical treatment. Bee and other insect stings are notorious for causing anaphylactic reactions in adults and children across the United States.
Am I Allergic to My Pet?
If you are experiencing puzzling and uncomfortable symptoms when around a dog, cat, parakeet, hamster, guinea pig, or other feathery or furry friends, you may be allergic. While most people think the fur or feathers are the allergic triggers, the dander caught in the feathers, which molt, or the fur, which sheds, is truly to blame.
Dander is a combination of sloughed-off skin cells, saliva, and even urine, which every animal produces–some more than others. Because dander tends to collect on a cat or dog’s coat, people believe the coat is the actual allergen. This is not the case.
Advantages And Disadvantages of Pets That Do Not Shed
There are dog and cat breeds that shed far less than others. An example is this popular small dog: the Bichon Frise. Burmese and Siamese cats also are known for their low-shed coat. Regardless of the breed, however, dander still exists and can shed in your home, car, or wherever your pet is. These breeds simply create less dander.
So, no feathery or furry companion is 100 percent dander-free. Fish and reptiles are obvious no-allergy pet choices. To minimize your allergy symptoms, you may have to choose one of these animals to co-exist in your household. However, if you must select a cat or dog, choosing a pet that sheds less dander than others is a better choice.
How Can I Keep My Beloved Pet?
The alternative to surrendering pets to shelters or giving them to friends and family is allergy treatment from Oak Brook Allergists in Will and DuPage Counties.
If this is the case, consult with one of our board-certified physicians. They will review your medical history and symptoms and do specialized blood work and skin patch testing to determine your allergic triggers. From there, you can begin treatment in the form of oral medications, allergy shots, or other options.
In addition, you can use these sensible strategies to make your pet and your home as allergy-proof as possible:
- Create a pet-free space in your home. Typically, that’s the bedroom, but if you have a home office, you may wish to keep your pet out of that room, as well.
- Install a HEPA filter in your furnace and air-conditioning units, and have your air ducts cleaned to remove excess dander and fur.
- Vacuum daily if you have carpeting, or consider installing wood or tile floors in the areas you occupy most often.
- Shampoo your pet frequently, or better yet, have a groomer do it for you. Wipe down your pet’s legs and paws with a damp cloth or baby wipe each time they come in from outdoors.
Oak Brook Allergists Will Help You With Your Pet Allergies
Dr. Knysak, Dr. Pongonis, and Dr. Rubin are experts in all kinds of allergy treatments. They are the go-to physicians for pet allergies in Will and DuPage Counties, IL.