A dog may be man’s best friend, but if you suffer from allergies, pets can be our worst enemy. According to studies published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, a scientific journal published by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAA&I) up to 10% of the general population and 40% of allergic individuals react to cats and dogs. Proteins found in skin flakes shed by household pets, as well as pets’ urine, feces, hair and saliva can trigger asthma. Dogs and cats can trigger asthma in individuals with an allergy to animal dander.
The most effective way to prevent animal allergens in the home is to not allow animals inside the home. If you remove an animal from the home, it is important to thoroughly clean the floors, walls, carpets and upholstered furniture and vacuum thoroughly, since dander is often not visible to the naked eye and can stick to clothing and furniture for a very long time.
Although many breeders have touted hypoallergenic dogs as an option for people suffering from serious allergies, a 2011 study compared dust samples from 173 homes and did not find any difference in the levels of allergens released by breeds deemed hypoallergenic vs. nonhypoallergenic.
Some individuals may find isolation measures to be sufficiently effective in reducing allergies and the potential for asthma. Isolation measures that have been suggested include keeping dogs and cats out of sleeping areas, keeping pets away from upholstered furniture, carpets, and stuffed toys, keeping the pet outdoors as much as possible and keeping sensitive individuals away from the pet as much as possible.
Allergists may suggest medications and other treatment options for those who want to try and live with a pet despite their sensitivities. Others have found success with indoor air purification technology which reduces or eliminates pet dander in the home, reduces those aggravating pet odors and has brought relief to thousands of pet owners who suffer from severe allergies.