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Pet Allergies: Your Dog or Cat Can Be a Trigger

Are Dogs or Cats with Less Fur Better for Allergy Sufferers?
Because it is the protein found in the pet’s saliva, dander and urine that can trigger an allergy, the amount of hair a pet has is irrelevant. Because all dogs and all cats have dander, saliva and urine, no specific type of dog or cat is better for people with a pet allergy.

The particles from a pet’s saliva, dander, or urine can travel through the air and land on the lining of the eyes or nose and sometimes be inhaled directly into the lungs. This contact with animal particles can cause a reaction in a person allergic to cats or dogs. It is a pet’s dander and saliva, rather than the urine that most often trigger and allergy attack.

Pet Exposure May Reduce Allergies
A study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association in August 2002 indicates that children raised in a house with two or more dogs or cats during the first year of life may be less likely to develop allergic diseases as compared with children raised without pets. The study revealed that high pet exposure early in life appears to protect against not only pet allergy but also other types of common allergies, such as dust mite allergy, allergy to ragweed, and allergy to grass.

After adjusting for factors including dust mite allergen levels, parental smoking, and current dog or cat ownership, the researchers found that children exposed to tow or more dogs or cats during the first year of life were on average 66 to 77 percent less likely to have any allergic antibodies to common allergens, as compared with children exposed to only

Controlling Dog Allergies
For some pet owners, a dog can truly be man’s best friend and a cat can be an amazing companion. While getting rid of a pet that is triggering allergy attacks is the best way to reduce allergic symptoms, it is not often easy to give up something that has become a true part of your family. If giving your dog or cat to a loving home is not an option, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the amount of pet dander in the home that can cause a potential reaction.

Five Tips on Reducing Pet Allergens
Below are five tips on keeping the pet allergen count in your home to a minimum:

1. Keep the pet outdoors
While households that have outside dogs and cats still have a greater amount of pet dander in the home than households that do not have pets, keeping your dog or cat outside as much as possible will help reduce the dander amount.

2. Keep the Pet Off the Bed
Do not allow your pet to sleep in your bedroom and try to avoid allowing the pet in any room where an allergic person spends a large amount of time.

3. Wash your Pet Weekly
Some research has shown that bathing your pet once a week may help to reduce the amount of allergens that are shed in the home.

4. Vacuum with a HEPA Filter
Regular vacuuming does not usually help in reducing pet allergens because it cannot reach the bottom part of the rug and can often stir up dander, causing an allergic reaction. In order to avoid excess dander in the air during vacuuming, try cleaning with a HEPA filtered vacuum or using double bags during vacuuming.

5. Keep the Pet Away from Your Face
Petting a dog or cat can sometimes be irresistible. Make sure that, when making contact with your dog or cat, you keep the pet away from your face to help avoid contact with allergy inducing particles. Also, wash your hands after petting your pet.

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