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Animal and Pet Allergies

Allergies to Animals & Pets

What is a cat allergy? What is a dog allergy?

Patients who have allergic reactions to dogs and cats are actually having allergic reactions to their saliva.  When an animal grooms itself, it licks its skin and fur, thereby depositing its saliva.  The saliva dries, leaving behind the proteins that trigger your allergic reactions, causing symptoms of allergies which can include itchy eyes, watery eyes, red eyes, sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and allergy cough.  These saliva antigens that cause allergic reactions become airborne very easily because they are light-weight.  Therefore, they easily spread to clothing, carpeting, and other household items.

Dog allergies are usually not as problematic as a cat allergy for the following reasons:

  • Dogs are regularly washed (with water, not saliva!).
  • Dogs are often kept outdoors.
  • Owners are less likely to let dogs sleep on the owners’ bed.

The most natural and holistic way to cure your allergic reactions is to remove allergenic animals from your home - however heartbreaking that may be.  Unfortunately, even after removal of these allergy triggers, traces of the antigens will remain in the house.  To really rid the house of pet allergens, the carpeting, clothing, furniture, etc. must be cleaned or replaced.  

If removing the animal is not an option, allergy medications can be used to treat your symptoms. Another effective treatment is allergy immunotherapy ("allergy shots") which can be used to reduce a person’s sensitivity to the triggers that are causing their allergy symptoms. Your allergist at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers will use testing to confirm what is causing your allergy symptoms. This allergy testing will help your NYC doctor determine which allergy treatments would be best for you.


A horse allergy is an allergic reaction to horse dander and hair. Patients may mistake an allergy to horses as a typical outdoor allergy, a hay allergy, mold allergy, or seasonal pollen allergy. Treatment for allergy to horses would include horse avoidance, allergy medications, and/or allergy immunotherapy. Your allergy specialist at the NY Allergy & Sinus Centers can help determine what allergy treatment is right for you.

Rodents & Rabbits

Patients may have allergic reactions to rabbits and rodents (guinea pigs, mice, and rats) if they are exposed to these animals on a daily basis.  Those at highest risk are pet owners, veterinarians, and laboratory technicians.  People that live or work in rodent-infested buildings are also at a high risk. The actual cause of the allergic reaction may be the animal’s saliva, fur, or urine. Treatment starts with ridding the home of any rodent pests, or considering removing any rodent or rabbit pets.  If these measures are ineffective, your NYC dr may consider treating you with allergy meds or allergy shots (immunotherapy).


If you need help with your allergies to animals and pets, the allergy doctors & associates at the New York Allergy & Sinus Centers are here to help.  We can help you find relief for your respiratory allergies, nasal and sinus problems, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) symptoms, skin conditions, and asthma. We see adults and pediatric patients (children) from all over the NYC metropolitan area: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Call us today at 212-686-4448 for more information.


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