Dogs and cats are the most common cause of pet allergies. Furry little friends such as guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, mice and rats can also trigger asthma or allergies in some people.

While many people think that the pet’s fur or hair is the problem, it isn’t the source – although it can carry the allergens. The main source of allergen in dogs is saliva and in cats are the sebaceous glands in the cat’s skin. Dander (shed skin particles) is also a source of allergens.

If your pet lives indoors, keeping it out of the bedroom significantly reduces allergen levels in those areas.

You can also try to reduce exposure to allergens:

  • Always wash your hands after touching or feeding your pet
  • Don’t touch your face before washing your hands
  • Keep pets off chairs, sofas and other soft furnishings
  • Vacuum any carpets, curtains and upholstery regularly using a vacuum with a motorised brush and a HEPA filter
  • Clean hard floors with a damp cloth or a steam mop
  • Clean air-conditioning and heating ducts
  • Wash clothing, and pet and human bedding regularly in hot water
  • Groom (e.g. brush) your pet regularly.
  • Make sure the person with the allergy doesn’t do the vacuuming, dusting or pet grooming – ask them to stay out of the room while it’s happening and then for about 20 minutes afterwards while the air settles.


If you aren’t sure what your triggers are, our handy guide can help point you in the right direction.

Healthy home factsheets

For great tips and advice on managing your asthma and allergies as well as how to create a healthy home, visit our factsheet library that includes:

Approved products

Check out the approved products and services that may help you avoid pet allergens.


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