It’s official – pet dander gets everywhere: According to the National Institutes of Health, detectable levels of pet dander are in every home in the U.S – even if no pets live in the home!!
So what it pet dander?
It’s not the pet’s hair or fur or feathers that’s the real problem. Instead, people are usually allergic to the dander as well as the saliva and urine. Pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers.
Additional allergy triggers or allergens come from sources other than the animal’s skin. Proteins found in saliva, urine and feces from cats, dogs and other pets can cause allergic reactions in some people. The most common allergies are caused by the Fel d I protein from cats and the Can f I and Can f II proteins from dogs. Dried saliva containing allergens may flake off from an animal’s fur and become airborne, where it is inhaled by the allergic person. Dust from dried feces can be suspended in the same way.
So, irrespective of the breed, no matter how long or short the hair, any dog can potentially cause an allergic reaction.
How does the body react to pet dander?
People with allergies have oversensitive immune systems. Their bodies overreact to harmless substances — like dog dander — and attack it as they would bacteria or viruses.
Pet dander causes the following delightful symptoms:
• coughing and wheezing
• red, itchy eyes
• runny, itchy, stuffy nose
• Trigger for Asthma problems
• Some people with dog allergies also have skin reactions.
Symptoms often occur quickly within minutes after exposure to allergens. For some people, the bodily reactions may build up over several hours and be most severe 12 hours after they have discontinued contact with the animal. The sneezing and watery eyesare just the side effects of the body’s attempt to destroy or flush out the allergen.
Individuals who are allergic to animals can suffer symptoms whether or not an animal is present. In fact, even when the pet no longer resides in the home, his or her allergens remain as particles, often at levels that can continue to trigger allergic symptoms.
Are there pets who don’t cause all of these nasty side-effect?
Contrary to popular belief, there are no “non-allergenic” breeds of dogs or cats. While some people believe that the tightly woven fur of breeds such as poodles and bichon frises limits the shedding of allergen-laden dander, other people have had allergic reactions even to fur-less breeds. In fact, one dog or cat of a particular breed may be more irritating to an individual allergy sufferer than another animal of that same breed. Size can be a factor, since a large dog would logically shed more dander than a toy breed.
Typically, allergic folks are more sensitive to and display more severe reactions to cats than to dogs.
Whats the plan?
Very often doctors suggest getting rid of pets in order to alleviate the complaint…BUT it’s not all bad news for you pet lovers……in our next blog we will discuss how to develop an effective plan, enabling an allergic person to live with pets.
It is worth noting that most anti-allergy pillows do not provide barriers to microscopic pet dander. SleepAngel is the only anti-allergy pillow that is proven to be a 100% barrier so you can Sleep Where the Air Is Pure.
Thankfully, SleepAngel bedding which has no stitched seams or zips, blocks out any pet dander from the inside of pillows. SleepAngel, the Pillow with a Filter, is now available countrywide in the USA from
Bed, Bath & Beyond.
In the meantime, after all that pet talk we can resist adding a photo of a cute puppy……..