How are allergic diseases caused by pet aeroallergens prevented?

Updated: Jul 07, 2019
  • Author: Bhumika Patel, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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One of the most important recommendations for the family—removal of the pet—may also be the most difficult to accept, since some pets are considered to be a part of the family. However, everyone must understand that continued exposure to a pet and its allergens occurs if the pet is kept in the home. Those who are allergic to a pet need to implement effective lifestyle modifications to reduce their exposure to animal dander. [16] Once the pet is removed, the time required for allergen levels to decrease to levels at which allergic problems no longer occur can be as long as 6 months. [26]

Restrict pet access

If the family decides to keep the offending pet, the pet should be kept outdoors. A less desirable option is to keep the pet in one area of the home and out of the bedroom.

Bathing the pet

The recommendation for a dog owner who is allergic to his or her pet is to bathe the pet at least weekly. [28]  However, the beneficial effects of reducing allergen levels by regular bathing are more likely to be successful for dogs because of the rapid buildup of the allergen burden in cats. Can f 1 levels may be reduced below baseline values after bathing, superior to vacuuming the fur of a dog, which results in minimal allergen decline. [27] Studies evaluating pet bathings have yielded conflicting results; however, in all cases, the effects are transient.


A study of the effects of vacuuming the carpet on cat allergen levels in the home fail to show any beneficial effects even when modern HEPA filters are used. In fact, the amount of cat allergen found increased, possibly because of the sweeping motion of the brushes on the carpeting and the air disturbance from the exhaust flow.{ref28]

Other measures

Impermeable coverings are recommended for the pillow, box spring, and mattress because animal allergens remain airborne much longer than dust mite allergens. Air purifiers may be helpful; however, data to support their efficacy are lacking. Elimination of the reservoirs for allergens is an important component of the avoidance strategy.

Chemical treatment with tannic acid or hypochlorite bleach (0.05% solution) modifies the allergens so that they are no longer allergenic. Such treatment represents a temporary measure, at best, given that allergens reaccumulate. There is no evidence that tannic acid treatment improves respiratory health, while hypochlorite bleach can increase respiratory symptoms. [28]

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