Having a fur allergy is something that can make you seem a bit like the Grinch. Everyone loves cats and dogs right? Well not if they make you start sniffling coughing and crying. If you wanted to have a pet yourself, or do have one, then this can be even worse and it means that you are unable to hug your critter and that a pet that’s meant to bring you nothing but happiness actually damages your health and makes you feel unwell.

So what causes this problem? How can you manage it and still enjoy a relationship with your dog? And is there a cure? Here we will look at the answers to all those questions.

What Causes a Fur Allergy?

Understanding a fur allergy can help you to avoid problems with it and to better understand your options, at the same time it can be reassuring to know that you are in fact not the Grinch and that your cat’s fur is not made from sulfur (there’s a pun there somewhere… ).

So what is it that causes something as innocent as cat fur to irritate you in this way? The answer is that it is actually a result of your immune system making a mistake. What happens here is that, for reasons currently not understood, your body has erroneously identified dander (a term for cat and dog fur) as a toxin. In other words it thinks that it is poisonous and dangerous even though it is harmless, and as a result it begins to try and eradicate the perceived threat through the allergic response which will see your body swell up, begin sweating profusely, start to struggle with breathing etc. The dander isn’t doing that, your own body is doing that thinking that it’s helping you avoid poison. Unfortunately that means that your eyes tear up and you start wheezing whenever you come near man’s best friend.

Fur Allergy Cure

What would be useful of course would be a cure for this problem that could prevent your body from doing this. Well fortunately for some there is a cure which can be successful and this is called ‘immunotherapy’ which works similarly to an immunization against a disease. Here what happens is that you are injected with the tiniest sample of the allergen – not enough to trigger your allergic response. This then means that your body won’t have the allergic reaction because it won’t register the substance as a threat. From there what will happen is that the specialist will gradually increase the amount of the allergen that they inject into your bloodstream more and more until you are getting full doses of it and the body still isn’t reacting. What you are doing then is gradually introducing the allergen (in this case dander) to the body so that it gets in under the radar and so that the body begins to recognize that this is not a threat.

Unfortunately though this won’t work for everyone, and there is a chance in some cases of triggering an allergic reaction during the process. If you consult with a specialist then they will be able to tell you whether or not you are likely to respond to the treatment and then you’ll be able to make an informed decision. Another thing that might put some people off is the fact that immunotherapy can be expensive, and as the problem is not usually life-threatening this means that they will often opt to just live with the problem.

Living With a Fur Allergy

If you have a fur allergy that you don’t want to cure, or that can’t be cured, then this leaves you with the slight irritation you can get from being around pets with that allergy. The question is of course how you go about living with the problem and how you avoid having reactions. There are some steps you can take which we will look at here.

If you have a fur allergy but still want a cat or a dog then follow the tips below. At the same time if you want a cat or a dog but are concerned about friends or family members with the allergy who may want to visit, then you can also use the below methods to avoid any problems.

Choose Well

If you have an allergy then choosing your pet carefully is even more important than usual. Not every dog and cat malts in copious amounts and by going for one of these animals you can share a space with them and not get aggravated. These pets have other benefits too, and most notably they help you to keep your home a lot cleaner with a lot less work put in on your part. Dogs that don’t malt include poodles and jack russles, while all species of hairless cats will be fine.

Get Them Cut

Cutting the hair of your cats is a good way to reduce the problem at least. Cats and dogs shed their fur when it gets too long and when they are getting too hot, so if you get it cut professionally you can preempt this to at least some extent.

Wooden Floors

Wooden floors can help because they don’t have fibers like carpets which can cling onto the fur. The same goes for stone flooring or laminate flooring and basically it means that you can just sweep up any hair right away rather than letting it build up.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is a great way to reduce the problem too as this will clear the air. It works for other problems too such as hay fever.


Vacuuming and dusting regularly can help to pick up lose bits of dander and avoid them getting into the atmosphere too.

If you are the one with the problem and you are concerned about visiting people who may have pets and not be ready for your requirements, then simply inform them before you arrive and ask them if they’d be so kind as to put the dog or cat in another room for the duration of your stay and to do a quick run around with a vacuum and a duster.

If you don’t feel like the dog should have to leave because of your immune system then just take some medication and be ready to sniffle. The good news is that by fighting through your allergy you will seem like a saint and by far the opposite of the Grinch.

1 Comment

  1. This article is terrible. As a person whose had severe allergies to any animal with fur all my life, I can tell you that vacuuming actually makes the symptoms exponentially worse, especially if you get asthma. It kicks all the dander up into the air. The same thing happens when you turn on the air conditioner, heater, or a fan. Furthermore, the length/type of an animal's fur does not help. The allergen comes from animal's skin, saliva and urine. So all those animals that people keep claiming to be 'hypoallergenic' really aren't at all.

    As for the cure, THERE IS NO CURE!!! The immunotherapy that you describe is extremely expensive and requires you to go in for shots at least weekly. Even with the shots though, the allergies do not go away, they only lessen. In addition you have to get the shots for years and years in order for them to make any difference on your symptoms without the shots.

    You really need to do your research and actually talk to people who have severe pet allergies. Articles like this make relatives and friends think that they are helping by vacuuming, turning on fans or having a hypoallergenic animal when it just makes the misery so much worse.

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