Animal Dander

Dander from animals may worsen your asthma. Pets produce dander that can put asthmatics at risk. These pets include dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and rodents.

Pet dander is the protein in skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva, and hair, and it can trigger asthma symptoms. These proteins are tiny, and they travel through the air and can land on a body part. They can then easily be transferred to the nose or the mouth and thus inhaled. Symptoms may occur immediately, or they may not develop until 8 to 12 hours later.

How can I decrease my exposure to animal dander?

Removing the pet from the home or avoiding contact with the pet is the most effective way to decrease exposure. If you do remove the pet from your home, make sure to wash all bedding, and clean all surfaces and floors where dander may exist.

Below are also a few solutions to minimizing dander in the home if you do not put your pet outside:

  • Keep your pet out of the bedrooms where your children or you spend a lot of time
  • Bathe your pet weekly to reduce exposure
  • Make sure the person who is allergic or has asthma does not clean the animal’s cage, living space, or litter box
  • Consider hardwood, tile, or linoleum flooring as these products do not retain allergens the way carpeting does
  • Use HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) clean air filters in your vacuum cleaners, and change filters frequently
  • Vacuum carpets two or more times a week
  • Keep your pets away from furniture covered in fabric, carpets, or stuffed animals or toys as much as possible
  • Consider animals that do not cause allergies such as turtles, hermit crabs, fish, or snakes
  • When your pet comes in from outside, towel them with a damp cloth

What are some pets that produce less allergens?

Hypoallergenic dogs can be a great option for dog lovers who suffer from allergies or asthma. They shed little to no hair, and thus shed less dander than typical dogs. Dogs without hair or with continuously growing hair tend to be the most hypoallergenic. However, many people are allergic to dog saliva, and there are no breeds of dogs that have hypoallergenic saliva.
The following are some hypoallergenic breeds of dogs:

  • Basenji
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Border Terrier
  • Chinese Crested
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Havanese
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Maltese
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Puli
  • Schnauzer
  • Shih Tzu
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

What are some of the symptoms of asthma from pet dander?

  • Wheezing
  • Long term shortness of breath with episodes of increased shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Chest Pain
  • Nasal Flaring
  • Tightness in the Chest
  • Eczema or rashes
  • Congestion
  • Itchy Eyes
  • Runny Nose
  • Scratchy Throat

Materials, which when combined with the use of high tech test equipment and laboratory testing are able to find the source of the problem and document it. Armed with the finished report you are then ready to talk with your doctor and a certified remediator (if remediation is needed).