Can dog hair cause respiratory problems? A Step-by-Step Guide

What is pet dander?

The Mayo Clinic sums it up like this: “pet allergies are triggered by exposure to the dead flakes of skin (dander) a pet sheds. Any animal with fur can be a source of pet allergies. Pet allergies are most commonly associated with cats and dogs.” That means those dead flakes of skin are getting everywhere: the carpet, the bed, the couch, and even into the atmosphere.

Can dog hair cause respiratory problems?

What is Pet Dander?

Pet dander refers to the cast off skin particles from animals with fur or feathers. It’s a common misconception that only cats and dogs produce pet dander, but birds, hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs shed it too.

These skin particles are small and light. They waft into the air, ready to be inhaled by human pet owners, getting into their lungs, and onto the membranes of the eyes and the nose.

An overly-sensitive immune system react to harmless proteins in the pet dander and can cause blood vessels to expand, triggering an allergic reaction that sends you into fits of sneezing, or breaking out in itchy hives, or watery eyes and nose.

Sinus health is a common concern for people with allergies.

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What is pet groomer’s lung and why YOU should care about it

Hair shedding is normal when you have dogs and cats in the house. Typically, pet hair is nothing more than an annoyance, but occasionally it can lead to health issues. If you’re worried about how pet hair could impact your health, here are some of the most common issues:

Some people with pet hair allergies notice an immediate reaction, while others may develop an allergy over time. This can mean you go from playing with your puppy one day to waking up allergic to your pet’s hair the next.

Typical symptoms of pet hair allergy include wheezing, red eyes, runny nose, coughing, skin reactions, and sneezing. Depending on the severity, many people manage their allergies with medication after consulting their doctor. If your allergy is severe, you may need to consider other options, for example, keeping pets in specific rooms or using high-quality air filters.

Investing in a good quality vacuum can also help if you use it regularly to remove as much hair as possible.

If you suffer from asthma, you may notice pets can trigger an attack. Pet hair carries dander (animal protein) which is often the cause of the irritant. It can also collect things like dust mites, pollen, and mold, which are other common asthma triggers. Generally, it’s not recommended for people with asthma to own a cat or dog due to the risks of asthma attacks.

Animals are particularly susceptible to bacteria if they spend a lot of time outside. As a pet owner, it’s essential to realize that some bacteria can be transferred from animals to people and, depending on the severity, can make you very unwell.

Good pet hygiene is one way you can help to reduce bacteria in your pet. Regular baths and checkups with your vet, as well as constantly washing your hands after playing with your dog or cat, are some simple ways to help keep you and your family safe.

If your cat or dog spends a lot of time outdoors, then it’s essential to consider the risk of parasites. Parasites, including hookworms or tapeworms, can spread quickly to you and other people in your home from your pets if you don’t take proper precautions.

Making sure your pet is healthy is the best way to help reduce the risk of parasites. Regularly taking them to the vet for treatments and checkups can help. Always keep an eye out for fleas, ticks, or other signs of infections.

Unless you suffer from a compromised immune system or a specific trigger like the ones listed above, exposure to pet hair and the germs that come with it might actually be beneficial. Exposure to pet hair can help strengthen your immune system, meaning you recover quicker than non-pet owners.

By following the recommendations outlined above, you can help keep you and your pet safe, clean, and healthy.

At TriStar Vet, we offer a range of fully customizable vet kennels and veterinary exam tables that are innovative, reliable, and highly ergonomic. Contact us today for affordable, easy-to-clean animal care products that will last for the life of your business.