Pet Allergy

Find out more about the causes of a pet allergy, how it can affect people and ways to manage the symptoms. More Allergy UK resources that are relevant to pet allergies are also highlighted below.

Back to Indoor Allergies

What is a pet allergy? 

It is possible to develop an allergy to an animal or pet at any time, even where that animal has previously been a pet, or where a pet does not live in your home. It is commonly thought that animal hair is responsible for the allergic symptoms. However, pet allergy is caused by the protein in a pet’s saliva, urine or dander (shed skin particles). This protein is present in all animals – e.g.rabbits, rodents, birds – not just cats and dogs. 

Symptoms  of a pet allergy

Allergic symptoms of a pet allergy often start within minutes of exposure, but in some people, these can be delayed (late phase response). Symptoms include:  

  • Sneezing 
  • Coughing 
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Wheeze 
  • Watery, red, itchy eyes 
  • Skin rash/Hives 
  • Eczema flare 

Treatments and solutions   

  • Deploy allergen reduction measures in the home. More information on how to do this can be found on Allergy UK resources 
  • There is medication available to help alleviate the symptoms following advice from a Health professional (GP or Pharmacist).

Medicines include: 

  • Non-sedating antihistamines 
  • Antihistamine nasal sprays 
  • Eye drops 
  • Nasal sprays 
  • Asthma inhalers 
  • Allergen barrier balm 

In moderate to severe pet-induced allergy, other treatments may be available including allergen-specific immunotherapy may be appropriate. This requires initial GP assessment then referral to allergy/immunology specialist. It is unlikely to be NHS funded. 

Related Resources

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