One of the most common allergies in the United States is pet dander. These allergens can lead to uncomfortable symptoms and may be dangerous for some individuals, especially those with asthma, but which pets are the most likely to trigger allergy symptoms? Let’s learn more about pet dander allergies to find out.
Understanding Pet Dander
Pet dander is made up of the minuscule pieces of dead skin that pets shed. Cats, dogs, birds, rodents, and just about any pet with fur or feathers produce pet dander. Unfortunately, pet dander triggers allergic reactions in many people. The allergic reaction is to the proteins found in pets’ skin cells, urine, and/or saliva, which can find their way onto the lining of the eyes and nose, leading to various allergy symptoms.
Pet Dander Allergy Symptoms
While pet allergy symptoms can vary from person to person, the most common pet dander allergy symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Watery, red, itchy eyes
- Itchy nose, throat, and/or roof of the mouth
Individuals with both asthma and a pet dander allergy may also experience trouble breathing, pain or tightness in the chest, and wheezing.
Pets That Are Likely To Trigger Allergies
While, as mentioned above, any pet with fur or feathers can shed dander and potentially trigger an allergic reaction, cats and dogs are the main culprits of pet dander allergies. Between cats and dogs, cats are around twice as likely to trigger allergic reactions from dander.
Many people assume that allergies to pets with fur are triggered by the fur itself. This actually isn’t the case. Pet fur usually isn’t the cause of pet allergies. Instead, the fur may pick up and spread other allergens, like dust. This is why animals with fur, especially long-haired breeds, are more likely to cause allergy symptoms. However, hairless pets can also produce allergy-inducing dander. This is also why you can still be allergic to “hypoallergenic” cats and dogs.
Cat Dander Allergies
Female cats produce more of the potentially allergy-inducing protein, Fel d I, than male cats. This makes female cats more likely to trigger allergy symptoms due to dander.
Dog Dander Allergies
While dog dander allergies are less common than cat dander, they’re still prevalent among people today. Individuals who are allergic to dog dander may be more allergic to certain dogs or dog breeds than others, but this is difficult to determine unless exposed to the dog in question. It’s also possible to be allergic to all dog breeds.
To learn more about pet dander allergies and how to treat them, contact us today.