Pets Got Your Allergies Going Haywire? Here's the Best Allergy Medicines for Pet Allergies
When you bring a new pet home, the very last thing you want is to start sneezing shortly after you welcome the new addition to your family.
But, often, that first sneeze happens — and, before you know it, you’re searching for the best allergy medicine for pet allergies and hoping that your dog or cat allergy medicine will kick in quickly so you can play with your pet.
There are a lot of options for the best prescription and over-the-counter medicines for pet allergies, from Allegra to Zyrtec and beyond. Here, we’ll cut through the noise and recommend some good options so you can get over your symptoms quickly and get back to cuddling your feline or canine companion.
What’s Going On Here? Understanding Pet Allergies
What triggers an allergic reaction when you're around pets?
If you are allergic to your furry-legged best friend, your immune system will be the first to know. In response to allergens circulated through the air or left on common surfaces, your immune system will produce antibodies (immunoglobulin E, or IgE antibodies, to be specific).
The next time you encounter those same allergens, the IgE antibodies will start a cascade of reactions in your tissues. Among these reactions will be the release of histamine, a substance often associated with the itchy inflammation of allergic reactions.
There are a few different types of pet substances that could start this process. A few such substances include pet dander, saliva, and sweat.
What is Pet Dander?
Pet dander is a general term for the tiny flakes of skin the animals constantly shed.
These flakes are very light. They don’t necessarily fall to the ground the moment they are shed. Pet dander can stay airborne for a long time. It can also attach to clothing and other surfaces. If you are allergic to pet dander, it can be very difficult to avoid.
Pet dander can even find its way into homes without pets precisely because it’s light and can travel efficiently. If you’ve visited the home of someone who has a pet, there is an excellent chance you’ve brought some dander home with you.
Other Common Allergens in Pets
Dander isn’t the only common allergen that pet owners must contend with. Other pet allergens can include:
- Pet fur. Fur isn’t usually as potent as dander, but it can easily carry dander and other allergens.
- Pet saliva. Pet saliva can also trigger allergic reactions. You can be exposed to pet saliva if an animal licks you, of course—but you could also be exposed through contaminated surfaces.
- Pet sweat. When animals are hot or exercising, they release sweat (and allergens) into the air. If you breathe in this air or come onto surfaces slick with pet sweat, you may be contaminated.
You might be surprised at the range of surfaces that could harbor allergens. For example, pet dander, fur, sweat, or saliva can settle on furniture, clothing, bedding, and even hard surfaces such as light switches and doorknobs.
Ultimately, if you’re allergic to pets, you need a plan in place to relieve your symptoms, because out-cleaning or outrunning allergens will not be possible.
But first, How can you tell for sure if you’re allergic to your brand-new cat or dog?
Recognizing the Symptoms of Pet Allergies
Here’s how to identify if you're allergic to your furry friend. Don’t worry if you are—that doesn’t necessarily mean anything about your relationship with your pet! However, it’s good information to know if you and your pet hope to live together happily for years to come.
Common Symptoms of Pet Allergies
If you persistently experience the following symptoms, especially when close to your pet, you may suffer from pet allergies.
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes
- Skin rashes, including hives and eczema
- Difficulty breathing
While other things can cause these symptoms, if these symptoms start up shortly after you or someone in your life becomes a pet owner, there’s a good chance you can identify the source of those pesky allergens.
Cats vs. Dogs: Is There a Difference in Allergies?
Whether you’re a dog or a cat person, you can get allergies—and the symptoms you’ll experience will be much the same, no matter which animal you have. Both cats and dogs have skin flakes, fur, and saliva, after all, and these materials can irritate humans regardless of their source.
Fortunately, this means that managing your symptoms should center around the same strategies if you have a dog, cat, or even both.
Diagnosing Pet Allergies
Before you take pet allergy medication, getting formally diagnosed is a good idea. It may even be necessary, especially if you require prescription-strength pet allergy medication.
Self-diagnosis vs. Medical Tests
If at all possible, see a doctor or allergist to get an accurate diagnosis. It can be all too easy to confuse pet allergy symptoms with seasonal allergies or persistent, stubborn colds.
To diagnose you, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. They may also run tests, such as the skin-prick test (which involves exposing your pricked skin to a small amount of the allergen and seeing if you react) or a blood test to measure blood antibody levels.
If these tests show that you’re allergic to your pet, your allergist or doctor will help you develop a treatment plan. Some options include staying away from pets, which may not be an option if you or someone you live with is the pet in question’s owner, or medication.
Medication often represents an affordable, easy-to-manage way to reduce your symptoms – as long as you can find and afford the best medicine for your pet allergies.
Best Allergy Medicines for Pet Allergies
Best Allergy Medicines for Pet Allergies Wondering what’s out there? Here’s a comprehensive guide to the most effective treatments available.
Antihistamines are a common medication for treating pet allergies. As the name suggests, antihistamines block histamine, a key player in the inflammatory allergic response that’s often responsible for allergic symptoms.
Many histamines are available without a prescription, including:
Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is a type of fast-acting antihistamine that can help relieve sneezing, runny noses, and itchy eyes. It also causes dizziness and drowsiness.
You can buy Benadryl for about $0.20 per pill through NorthWestPharmacy.com. Buy generic Benadryl for even less!
Claritin (loratadine) and Allegra (fexofenadine) are longer-acting antihistamines that can provide relief from allergy symptoms for up to a full day. They typically don’t cause as much dizziness and drowsiness as Benadryl.
Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Xyzal (levocetirizine) are, like Claritin and Allegra, long-acting antihistamines. They don’t cause drowsiness, but may cause headache and dry mouth in some circumstances, for some people.
Nasal Sprays for Pet Allergy Relief
Antihistamines aren’t the only way to work toward allergy relief. These nasal sprays may also do the trick:
Flonase (fluticasone) and Nasacort (triamcinolone) are nasal sprays that leverage corticosteroid active ingredients. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that can help reduce nasal congestion, too. In some cases, these medications can cause headaches and nosebleeds.
If over-the-counter medications aren’t helping you effectively, it may be time for prescription treatments. Some common options may include:
You can buy Optivar for around $9.00 per mL through NorthWestPharmacy.com.
Singulair (montelukast), a medication that regulates your body’s release of leukotrienes, chemicals that are associated with allergic reactions. Taking Singulair can reduce allergic symptoms and provide relief from asthma.
You can buy Singulair for about $2.00 per pill through NorthWestPharmacy.com. And save much more on the generic.
Abilify (aripiprazole), an atypical antipsychotic that doctors sometimes prescribe to treat very severe allergic reactions, as Abilify has an effective (but not well-understood, yet) way of reducing histamine-related itchiness and inflammation.
You can buy Abilify for around $8.30 per pill through NorthWestPharmacy.com with the generic for much less.
Prednisone (prednisone), a corticosteroid medication that can help reduce the inflammation that comes with allergies. It’s effective, but can come with unwanted side effects, so partner with your doctor or allergist to use prednisone with care.
You can buy generic Prednisone for around $0.25 per pill through NorthWestPharmacy.com.
Medications For Your Pet’s Allergies
Thinking that maybe you’re not the only one in your household with seasonal or chronic allergies?
Pets can get allergies too, which can make your cat or dog miserable. Fortunately, as in humans, there can be a relatively simple fix. Many veterinarians recommend antihistamines like Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin for dog allergies, for example. But don’t simply give your dog or cat the medication you take yourself without talking to a vet; you may need a very specific product with dosages safe and appropriate for animals.
There are also medications that are formulated specifically for dogs. For example, Apoquel (oclacitinib) is a prescription medication that can help reduce itching for dogs with atopic dermatitis, a skin-based type of allergy. You can buy Apoquel for around $2.00 per tablet through NorthWestPharmacy.com.
If your dog or cat is experiencing allergy symptoms themselves, which can include scratching at their ears, chewing their paws, or having red eyes and a runny nose, talk to your veterinarian to learn about your options.
How to Choose the Best Allergy Medicines for Pet Allergies
Talk to your doctor or allergist when seeking the best allergy medicines for your symptoms. They’ll conduct tests, assess your condition, talk about your goals, and look at the other medications you’re taking to figure out an option for you that is both safe and effective.
Other factors that may help you determine which medicine to go with include:
- The severity of your symptoms. If you have milder symptoms or if they go away pretty quickly, an over-the-counter antihistamine like Claritin or Zyrtec may be sufficient. If your symptoms are more severe, a prescription option may help.
- Your lifestyle. Some allergy medications, like Benadryl, can cause drowsiness. It’s not advisable to take Benadryl and then operate a motor vehicle, or even tackle work or home tasks that require a lot of thought. If your lifestyle requires more alertness, a medication that doesn’t cause drowsiness or headaches (for you!) may be best.
Finding and Affording the Best Allergy Medicines for Pet Allergies
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At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we don't take your trust lightly. Your health and well-being are important. By collaborating with a select network of trusted international and Canadian pharmacies, we ensure every medication you receive is authentic and safe. We’re also committed to helping you preserve your financial health by providing steep savings on prescription and non-prescription products.
Here’s how it works: Start by finding your required medication in our easy-to-navigate system, select your dosage, and check out through our private, secure payment portal. Make sure you have a valid, updated prescription for the medication you need. Send our team a copy of that prescription.
If it sounds easy, that’s because it is. We go above and beyond to provide value wherever we can, too: Our extensive catalog is complemented by detailed guides, ensuring you're equipped to make informed decisions. And our dedicated team is always on standby, ready to assist, whether you're placing an order or seeking guidance.