How to know if you’re allergic to your pet (and not something else)

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Allergy season is here and I’ve got the runny nose to prove it. If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms for the first time, you may wonder whether your pet has something to do with your sudden sniffles. But your pet may not be to blame. Here are some things to consider:

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You may have more than one allergy. “It is common to see other types of allergies in an individual with pet allergies,” says Deborah Pockross, M.D., an allergist and immunologist at Kenilworth Medical Associates in Illinois. “Common allergens include tree pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, dust mites and mold.”

If you experience a sudden increase in symptoms, or are experiencing symptoms for the first time, head to your doctor to get tested.

Small changes can help you feel a LOT better.
Even if you are allergic to your pet, if you are also allergic to other things, then reducing your exposure to any of them will help alleviate your symptoms.

“Patients will improve their allergy symptoms by reducing any exposure
to any of their particular triggers,” Dr. Pockross says. “Therefore, if a patient is allergic
to indoor allergens such as dust mites and mold, then reducing exposure
to those triggers will improve symptoms.” Some steps she suggests:

  • Put dust mite covers on your mattress and pillow.
  • Check for signs of water damage in your home (such as water spots on the ceiling), which can indicate that you’ve got mold.
  • Keep your pets out of your bedroom.

See more tips for controlling your pet-allergy symptoms.

After the jump: How to make your pet less allergenic.


You can make your pet less allergenic. If you reduce your exposure to allergens and you’re still reacting to your pet, try taking these simple steps:

  • Bathe your pet regularly.
  • If your cat isn’t interested in being bathed, try wiping her off regularly with a cleansing wipe designed to remove saliva and dander.
  • Brush your pet often to reduce airborne allergens.

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