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Animal and Pet Dander Allergies

Animal and pet dander allergies are common – cat and dog allergies alone affect 10 to 20 percent of the population worldwide.1 And if you’re an animal lover who thinks you have a pet allergy, you know the heartbreak is real.

But that may not be the end of the story.

That’s because allergies to pets like dogs, cats, and horses may be just one of the number of allergies you may have. And your pet allergies may be more complex than you realize.

The only way to know is to see your healthcare provider and ask for allergy testing. Along with your medical history and a physical examination, your test results will help you finally understand what you’re really allergic to and what you might be able to do about it.



A simple way to identify your allergic triggers is to request specific IgE blood testing. This, along with your pet allergy symptoms (such as itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath), can help pinpoint your allergic triggers.

What is an animal allergy?

If your eyes water or you start to sneeze after touching, or just being near an animal like a cat, dog, or horse, you may have an animal dander allergy.

Animal dander: A combination of skin, fur, and saliva, animal dander is extremely lightweight and can stay in the air for hours. Because of this, it can cause symptoms long after the animal has left the room. Dander can also land and stay on furniture, carpets, mattresses, upholstery, and clothing. In fact, people who have pets can unknowingly carry dander with them everywhere they go, including school or work.

An allergy to animals in general, and cats and dogs in particular, is a risk factor for developing asthma and allergic rhinitis.3

What are common pet allergy symptoms?

If you have one or more of these symptoms after being near an animal, you may be allergic.


Common symptoms of pet allergy include:6

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing, wheezing, or trouble breathing
  • Runny or stuffed nose
  • Itchy, watery, or red eyes
  • Facial pain (from nasal congestion)
  • Skin rash or hives
Do I need to rehome my pet to feel better?

The short answer is: NOT necessarily. Many people are allergic to more than one thing, so if you know what all your allergic triggers are, you may be able to manage your exposure to them to avoid reaching your Symptom Threshold (the point at which you start to experience symptoms).7

Exposure management may bring you below your symptom threshold so you can potentially keep your pet, and experience fewer symptoms.

To be sure, consult your healthcare provider to get to the root of the cause of your symptoms.

Allergen Season

Request specific IgE blood testing to help your healthcare provider determine your allergic triggers.

Do I have a pet allergy?

Specific IgE testing can help your healthcare provider determine if animals or other allergic triggers are behind the endless sneezing and sniffles.

A simple blood test, together with your symptoms and history, can help your healthcare provider identify any underlying allergen triggers you may have. And unlike skin-prick testing, a blood test can be done even when you are taking antihistamines.

Knowing if you’re allergic, and what you’re allergic to, can help you or a loved one reduce exposure to what’s causing your symptoms and improve how you feel.

Pet Allergy Testing

Ask Questions. Get Answers.

"Am I allergic to pets?" isn't a simple "yes" or "no" question. Animal allergy reactions can vary and depend on the specific animal and protein causing the reaction.

Specific IgE blood testing for pet allergen components, available for cat, dog, and horse, helps your healthcare provider identify the specific proteins that may trigger a reaction. So instead of knowing that you are allergic to certain animals in general, you can know exactly which protein within the animal may trigger the reaction, and also determine whether it’s a specific sensitization or cross-reactivity.

Meaning, you can get answers to questions such as:

"Can I keep my pet cat?"

"Could my cat or dog make my symptoms worse?"

"Can I be allergic to a male dog, but not a female dog?" 

Because it's not just knowledge you'll gain, but peace of mind, too. 


Create your personalized
symptom assessment.

My Symptom Profile

Make the most of your appointment
Talk to your healthcare provider about specific IgE blood testing.

Use these questions to help your healthcare provider understand what’s going on with your symptoms. Review your answers together during your office visit to decide if specific IgE blood testing is right for you.

Help your healthcare provider understand what’s been going on with your symptoms and decide if specific IgE blood testing is right for you!

Start Questionnaire

Here Is Your Recap. Now What?

What can your My Symptom Profile tell you about allergies? Nothing, by itself. So resist the temptation to self-diagnose. Treating allergy symptoms with over-the-counter medications or other remedies without determining the cause could lead to more issues in the long run. When paired with testing, such as specific IgE blood testing for food or respiratory allergies, your My Symptom Profile can guide your healthcare provider in creating a customized trigger-management plan to help reduce exposure to suspected allergens.

What symptoms are you experiencing or have you experienced?

Do your symptoms get worse during a particular time?

Do you notice your symptoms more in certain places?

How long have your symptoms been present?


Select all that apply
Runny nose
Itchy eyes
Chest tightness
Abdominal cramps
Itchy mouth
Difficulty breathing
Red, itchy patches of skin
Scratchy throat
Select all that apply
In the morning
At nighttime
In the fall
In the spring/summer
In winter or when temperatures drop
After eating certain foods
When sick
During or after exercise
Select all that apply
At home
At school/work
Around pets or animals
Select one
Since birth
Less than 1 week
More than 6 weeks
For several years

Download a PDF of your results to help guide your conversation and maximize your time with your healthcare provider.

Download Results
Am I Allergic?

Speak to your healthcare provider and request a specific IgE blood test for pet allergen components today.

  1. Chan SK, Leung DYM. Dog and Cat Allergies: Current State of Diagnostic Approaches and Challenges. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2018; 10(2):97-105.
  2. Schoos AM et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2017 Nov-Dec;5(6):1754-175.
  3. Perzanowski MS, et al. Effect of cat and dog ownership on sensitization and development of asthma among preteenage children. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2002;166:696-702.
  4. Patelis A, et al. Eur J of Allergy and Clin Immunol. 2014;DOI:10. 1111/all.12345
  5. Arbes SJ, et al. Asthma Cases Attributable to Atopy: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007; 1139-1145.
  6. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Pet Allergy. Available at: https://acaai.org/allergies/types/pet-allergy. Accessed November 2018.
  7. Ciprandi G, Alesina R, Ariano R, et al. Characteristics of patients with allergic polysensitization; the polismail study. Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;40(3)77-83.
  8. Mazan MR, Svatek J, Maranda L, et al. Questionnaire Assessment of Airway Symptoms in Equine Barn Personnel. Occup Med. 2009;59:220-5.
  9. Bjerg A et al. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2015;26:557-63.
  10. Konradsen W, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015;135:616-26.
  11. Uriarte S. A. et al. Allergy 2016;71:1066-1068.