Animal Allergens and Health

One of the most common triggers of asthma symptoms is the dander (skin cells) shed by pets such as cats, dogs, budgies and hamsters. The good news is that having asthma should not prevent you from having a family pet.

Studies have shown that children, who have pets growing up, are less likely to develop allergies. Aside from helping you build up your immune system against allergies, they have been shown to have a profound effect on the social and mental wellbeing of many individuals.

The infographic below shows the associated health benefits that our favourite pets can give us! Do you think your pet boosts your health? Whether you believe in the power of pooches or the magic of moggies, the below may sway you.


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Advice on dealing with pet allergens

As well as providing great companionship, both cats and dogs can unfortunately causes allergic reactions or asthma attacks although unintentionally. There are a few methods that can be adopted to control and manage these pets in order to lessen the chance of allergic reactions in the home.

  • Washing and grooming your pets regularly reduce the amount of dust and bacteria that can be trapped in their furs
  • Remove carpets from the rooms where the pets usually reside. This ensures that the fur is not trapped in the carpet fibres.
  • Clean all upholstery and surfaces regularly
  • Allergen solutions can be sprayed on fabrics and surfaces to reduce the reactiveness of the animal allergens
  • Limiting your pets from licking your hands or face
  • Hoover the house regularly

Although not a fullproof plan, following these steps can help in reducing the allergic effects that some may suffer when around pets, but allow them to benefit from the health benefits that either cat or dog can provide.

Below is a list of cat and dog breeds touted to be 'hypoallergenic' (not proven or discredited) and allergen friendly pets. Although pricey, they are said to be better for those with allergies.

  1. Bichon Frise (dog)
  2. Devon rex (cat)
  3. Irish Water Spaniel (dog)
  4. Bedlington Terrier (dog)
  5. Labradoodle (dog)
  6. Sphynx (cat)
  7. Maltese (dog)
  8. Schnauzers (dog)

Millions of households have pets in particularly cats and dogs, but can these furry companions have a beneficial or adverse effect on your health?