Allergic to your pets? Here’s how to deal, according to two Charlotte ENTs

Allergic to your pets? Here’s how to deal, according to two Charlotte ENTs

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

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This content was produced in partnership with Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates. 


For most pet parents, allergies are not going to stand in the way between us and some cuddles and companionship.

Even though our pets make us sneeze and sniffle our way through life, it’s (probably) a fair tradeoff for the joy of their companionship.

The root cause of pet allergies is unknown, but they affect 20-30% of the U.S. population.

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Photo: Alivia McAtee/Axios


What are three things people living with pets *and* pet allergies can do to alleviate their symptoms?

Dr. Falcone:

  1. ​Keep the animals out of your bed and bedroom. If the pets sleep with you, wash your sheets frequently.
  2. Keep the animals off of your furniture (that way you are not putting your face in a pile of pet dander when laying on the couch).
  3. Wash your hands after petting/grooming your animals.

Dr. Harley:

  1. Keep it clean: Bathe and brush your pets regularly, clean their cage/litter box regularly, vacuum weekly and use a HEPA filtration system.
  2. Limit the pets’ access to bedroom.
  3. Consider hardwood floors or tiles in place of carpet.

Do pet allergies change with the season?

Dr. Harley: Indoor allergies are year-round. However, animal dander allergies tend to worsen during the colder months of winter as we spend more time indoors.

More info: Tips for managing seasonal allergies in Charlotte.

Can a pet truly be “hypoallergenic?”

Dr. Falcone: Since the primary allergic source from our pets is their saliva and skin (dander), there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat.

  • A small dog may be more hypoallergenic than a large dog, and cats are considered to be more allergenic than dogs.

How do allergy shots help with pet allergies?

Dr. Falcone: ​Allergy shots or drops can be very effective in treating pet allergies. Over the years, I have had patients achieve great allergy relief with allergy shots/drops.

  • Some patients could remain symptom-free even after sleeping with their pets.

Dr. Harley: The process lasts 3-5 years, but patients may begin at-home allergy shots after 6-12 months of in-office treatments.

More info: When to see a specialist for your allergies.

If you live with a pet and have severe allergies, is it that much worse if you let them sleep with you?

Dr. Falcone: Absolutely. But for complete transparency, I sleep with my dog (I am not allergic to her).

Our thought bubble: even the experts can’t resist nighttime cuddles.

Photo: Danielle Chemtob/Axios

Does grooming make any difference?

Dr. Falcone: ​To some extent. However, the benefit is temporary because pets routinely groom themselves, leading to new dander.

It’s important to remember to wash your hands after grooming your pet. And, depending on the amount of airborne debris while grooming, you may want to consider wearing a mask.

Lastly, don’t overdo it because some shampoos can be hard on their coats and skin if used too frequently.


Ready to get treatment for your allergies (pet-related or otherwise)? CEENTA offers convenient online scheduling at 18 locations.

This content was produced in partnership with Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates. 

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