Don’t Get Your Dander Up about Adult-Onset Pet Allergies

Pets are family members — even when you have allergies.

As a pet owner, you know all about the benefits of owning a pet. Whether it’s your companion’s unconditional love or the stress relief they bring, your pet has brought you joy over the years.

So, why do you suddenly feel itchy and irritated around your animal companion?

Sadly, it sounds like you’ve developed a pet allergy. Yes, allergies can develop in adulthood. But don’t fret! Take the time today to learn all about your newfound allergy and how you can keep it from coming between your animal companion and you.

Why would you develop an allergy now?

While you might not have had one before, allergies can develop at any point in life. This typically happens once your body starts to view certain allergens (i.e., substances that can cause allergic reactions) as a threat to your immune system. For pet allergies, this might mean your body ends up viewing substances like your pet’s dander, saliva, or skin flakes as a threat.

To defend your health, your body will produce large numbers of cells to fight off the substances. This defense will then cause a certain physical reaction, depending on the number of allergens encountered and how your body reacts to them. So, you could end up with the following symptoms or more:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hives

An allergy can be serious, but it doesn’t mean you need to let your pet go.

Your pet is like another family member. You’ve spent time caring for and playing with them, and in turn, they have given you their trust.

Don’t abandon that trust by letting your pet go just because you have mild or moderate allergies. There are ways to reduce your symptoms.

However, it is understandable and heartbreaking if your reaction is much more severe. If you’ve been dealing with anaphylaxis from your pet allergy, which is not one of the common anaphylactic triggers, you may actually have to think about rehoming your pet. One way to make this act less traumatic is to consider getting a close friend or family member to adopt.

For those with non-life-threatening allergic reactions, try to think of what’s best for you and your animal companion. You’re family members, and presumably, you’ve loved each other’s company, so do your best to reduce your allergic reactions so you two can stay together.

Give these allergen reduction methods a try.

If you are determined to stay with your pet, know that there’ll be a tough road ahead for you two. It’ll take time and testing to determine what reduces your allergic reactions. But for a start, consider following these suggestions.

Turn your bedroom into an allergen-free space.

A bed in blue and white is right next to a white geode lamp in a gray and white room.

You might have enjoyed having your bedroom as a space for both you and your pet to relax. But this lifestyle may have to change.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, your bedroom is usually the one area of your home with the highest amount of allergens. After all, on average, Americans spend a third of their lives in their bedrooms. So it doesn’t take long for allergens to build up.

To avoid this dilemma entirely, turn your bedroom into an allergen-free zone. It can be difficult training your pet to accept that they cannot enter your bedroom anymore, but training is a lot less painful compared to rehoming your pet.

Once you’ve gotten your pet accustomed to not entering your bedroom, you’ll have a space that will be almost completely free from pet allergens. But you’ll also need to get into a regular cleaning routine.

Clean your home regularly.

A vacuum rests near a pair of white shoes against a blue and white carpet.

Cleaning might feel like a chore, but it’s one of the best ways you can reduce the number of allergens your body encounters. After all, cleaning will help you remove any allergens or dirt particles that might be hanging around your home. So get better acquainted with vacuuming and doing the laundry regularly.

Purify the air in your home.

A number of blue-tinted windows from a gray building are facing forward.

Part of your routine cleaning might include directly purifying the air of your home.

To do this, look into getting an air purifier. It’s a cleaning machine designed to remove pollutants from the air. And for extra filtering, make sure the machine you choose is one that has a high efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter attached. This filter will help your purifier catch common allergens that like to collect around your home.

Sanitize your pet.

A person is holding a shower head to wash their dog.

Don’t forget to clean your pet frequently, too!

The ASPCA suggests you bathe your pet at least once weekly. Giving your pet a frequent wash will not only keep them clean, but it will also wash away any allergens that might bother your allergies. You can also wipe your pet with products that are designed to prevent dander. And remember: brush or comb your pet regularly.

All this grooming should give you a simple, effective way of reducing both your pet’s allergens and your allergy symptoms.

If you still have harsh enough allergic reactions, consider immunotherapy.

So, you’ve tried out all those suggestions before, and they didn’t work. You don’t feel like you’re having an anaphylactic reaction, but your allergies are still way too frustrating for you. Now, what?

It may be time to consider talking to your doctor about immunotherapy. This method involves injecting the pet allergen directly into your blood stream. While there are risks, this method is generally safe and ensures that your body gets used to being around the allergen. After enough time, your body will stop reacting so harshly whenever it encounters the allergen. And you should be able to enjoy spending time with your pet again without worry!

In short, you and your pet do not need to part ways because of your allergies. Just take the time and effort needed to see what you can do to reduce your symptoms.