Tips for Dealing With Pet Allergies

Many people believe they cannot own a dog or cat if they have asthma or allergies, but not all people with these problems necessarily have a reaction to dogs or cats, and some people may be allergic to dogs and not cats, or vice versa.

Some believe that there are dog and cat breeds that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in their owners but this is not always the case. Most people who react to dogs and cats are allergic to the dander rather than the hair. Dander consists of dead skin cells shed by the animal. All breeds of dogs and cats shed dander.

Other people are allergic to a protein in the animal's saliva. This is more likely to cause problems to cat owners, as cats self-groom by licking their fur. A suggested remedy for this is to bathe the cat once a month. No soap is needed, merely soak the cat thoroughly. Done on a monthly basis, it may help to keep the saliva levels down to a tolerable level.

For those people who react to dog or cat hair, there are breeds which are non-shedding. Poodles, Bichon frise and Bedlington terriers have a wool-like coat which does not shed. Some of these non-shedding dogs however, have other requirements. These breeds need to be clipped on a regular basis and also require close human companionship. They are not suitable for owners who want a dog who will spend the majority of its time alone or outside.

Crossing the poodle, Bichon frise and Bedlington terrier with other breeds does not guarantee any puppies in the litter having a non-shedding coat. If you wish to be sure that the pup you purchase has the coat type you require, then it is best to buy a purebred.

The Cornish rex and Devon rex cat breeds also have a non-shedding coat but they need to be kept indoors.

There are some steps which you can take in order to minimize allergies to cats and dogs:

• Keep pets out of the bedroom

• Keep pets off the furniture

• Clean and vacuum often

• Groom and brush pets often and outside if possible

• Bathe pets regularly

Since some people are simply allergic to a new dog or cat, repeated exposure may diminish the allergic reaction. In other words, you may not be allergic to dogs or cats that you are exposed to regularly.

An allergy specialist can test you for allergies and then give you periodic injections to help you develop an appropriate immunity to them. Be sure to find a specialist familiar with dog and cat allergies as some doctors may simply recommend you get rid of pets.

The companionship of a dog or cat has many benefits for both children and adults, and it is sad to deny ourselves these benefits without considering all the options. However, if you suspect a family member may have an allergy to a pet, it is best to seek medical advice before bringing one home. It can be heartbreaking to have to part with a loved pet because of a family member's allergies.