What is Pet Dander? (And 5 Ways You Can Deal With It)

Cats and dogs lined up

Have you got a pet or did you have one as a child? Most people will answer yes to at least one of these questions. If you do answer yes, it is likely that you have heard the term ‘pet dander’; even if you do not know exactly what it is.

Having a pet is simply something that most families do. However, a pet is much more than just a status symbol.

Pets offer companionship; this can be perfect for a family with just one child, or the elderly person who has lost their spouse. A pet provides you with someone to talk to; they can often seem like they are ready to talk back to you!

In addition, a pet will provide you with the opportunity to meet and chat to others. It is the easiest ice-breaker for any situation. You can also be fairly confident that anyone who starts talking to you and your pet will have a soft spot for your type of pet!

Girl sneezing with catUnfortunately, despite the pleasure which can be had from keeping and looking after a pet; some people simply cannot.

There are a surprising number of people who suffer from allergies; in the most severe cases this will prevent you from keeping a pet.

These allergies are often triggered by pet dander.

What is Pet Dander?

Pet dander

Every living creature will shed skin; this is a natural process which eliminates the dead cells.

This process is important as it allows the skin to breathe; fresh and healthy skin cells will improve your health and give your skin a natural glow.

Although these flecks of skin are so small that you cannot see them with the naked eye; they can still have an effect on your body.

If you have an allergy to animal skin then you are likely to develop a rash and become itchy very quickly after being exposed to the pet skin.

The dead flecks of skin are known as pet dander.
It is, however, interesting to note that you can be allergic to the pet dander from a dog but not from a cat. Of course, it is also possible to be allergic to all animals!


Pet dander is often considered one of the worst forms of allergy as it is very easy to be exposed to them. Other common pet allergies are caused by protein in dried saliva or even dust from dried feces.

High Risk
pet dander mask Current statistics suggest that there are roughly the same amount of homes with cats as there are with dogs.

However, there are approximately twice as many reports of cat allergies than there are dogs.

This would suggest that you are more likely to be allergic to pet dander from cats then you will from canines.

You may also find it worthwhile to note that the hair is not usually a trigger for allergy sufferers. Reports of allergic reactions can just as easily stem from a household with a hairless cat as they can from one with a big, hairy dog!

Spotting the Pet Dander

Pet dander is so small that you cannot see it. However, each particle is very light with a jagged shape. Their lightness allows them to remain in the air at your home for an extended period of time.

As they eventually settle and come into contact with furniture; there jagged shapes allows them to stick to virtually anything; it can be difficult to get rid of them all!

Health Issues

Allergies can cause a wide range of reactions.

itchy red back Pet dander may simply cause redness and itching.

But, in more severe cases they can cause issues with breathing. The initial signs are usually a tightening of the respiratory tract, sneezing, watery eyes and even a runny nose.

Once the reaction becomes more serious you will find that you are struggling to breathe; this can be fatal if left untreated.

5 Ways You Can Deal With Pet Dander

One way to avoid the allergic reaction to pet dander is simply not to have a pet and never visit anyone who does!

Unfortunately, this is not a very practical way to approach life; especially if you already have a pet! After all; most pet owners could not dream of being parted from their animal.

The alternative is to make every effort you can to reduce the appearance of pet dander in your home

cats living outside in own homeThis is not an easy task as it is a natural product!

The following tips will help to reduce the pet dander and may assist you in keeping your pet:

• Keep your pet outside as much as is reasonably possible. Pet dander will still be produced but the fresh air and the wind should take it away from you.

• Ensure your pet never goes in your bedroom – this will help to make sure you get a good night’s sleep; without risk.

In fact you should also keep your pets off your furniture; particularly your couch; this will reduce your exposure to the pet dander.

• Wooden floors are easier to keep clean and remove any pet dander. If you have a wooden floor you will probably have less pet dander than an equivalent sized carpeted room. Pet dander can stick to carpets; it cannot stay on the wooden floor when you clean it!

washing the dog• Washing your pets has also been shown to reduce the amount of pet dander they have.  This is because the water will moisten and remove much of it.

You should also ensure that the pet beds are washed regularly to prevent any pet dander building up on them.

• Cleaning regularly can help. The more you wash your sheets, duvets and even floors; the less the pet dander is able to survive.

Removing it completely will take multiple vacuuming. You can read our guide on how to choose the best vacuum for pet hair to help you make the right purchase for you.

It will also prevent the particles from being thrown back into the air.


In the most severe allergic reaction cases you may need to remove the pet from your home.

This is the only way to eliminate pet dander from the home; although it can take several months for it to be fully cleared away.

However, if the allergy is milder; you may find that home life is perfectly acceptable providing you follow the above tips.

This will allow you to keep your beloved pet and your sanity!

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