petsMillions of allergy sufferers in the United States suffer from pet allergies. But what is it exactly that causes a person with pet allergies to sniffle and sneeze? Pet dander is the allergen that makes those with allergies feel a reaction. It is oftentimes believed that allergy symptoms related to pet dander are caused by a cat or dog’s fur. This is not the case. Pet dander is actually composed of extremely small, microscopic, flecks of skin that an animal sheds. Proteins found in pet’s saliva and urine can also cause allergy sufferers to feel symptoms. Many people also think that only dogs and cats produce pet dander, but rodents, birds and other animals also produce pet dander. Symptoms Associate With Pet Dander Allergy Symptoms of pet dander allergies are very similar to those felt from pollen and dust mites. Symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Itchy & Water Eyes

Pet allergies may even cause asthma symptoms for some allergy sufferers. It should be noted that animal fur can also carry pollen and dust mites. Some allergy sufferers who have not been tested  to know what exactly causes their symptoms , may think they are allergic to their pet, when in reality, they are only sneezing because of the pollen or dust mites being carried around in their pet’s fur. Controlling Pet Dander Many people that suffer from pet allergies don’t want to get rid of their furry friends. Luckily there are ways that allergy sufferers can still live relatively symptom-free even with pets. Here are a few tips for controlling pet dander and decreasing allergy symptoms:  

  • Make Your Bedroom a Safe Zone - Your bedroom is where you spend the most time. While it may seem like a good idea to let your pet lay on your bed with you or while you’re away for the day, this will only allow pet dander to infiltrate your room and your bed. Keeping your pet out of your room will help reduce the amount of dander you inhale while you’re in your room and while you sleep.
  • Cover Your Bed - Just in case your dog or cat does get in your room, you should use a zippered mattress protector and pillow encasements to keep your bed protected. These items will help create a protective shell around your bedding to keep any pet dander from getting in. If your pet has ever laid on your bed in the past when it was unprotected, the protective bedding will keep pet dander locked tightly inside to prevent your allergies from being triggers.
  • Use HEPA Air Cleaners - These air purifiers will help remove pet dander particles from the air in your home. Filters should be used for a least 4 hours a day to ensure the air is being cleaned effectively
  • Bathe & Wash Your Pet Regularly - You should bathe your cat or dog at least twice a week. This can help reduce allergens by as much as 84 percent. Use a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian. Also make sure you and other family members wash their hands after petting your dog or cat. This will help prevent pet dander from spreading throughout your house.