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Controlling Asthma Triggers: Animals

You may notice you have asthma and allergy problems when you are around certain animals. Having allergies to animals can trigger asthma flare-ups. Your health care provider may test you for allergies to several types of animals. The allergy is caused by an animal’s dander (dry skin flakes), feathers, droppings, and saliva.

Two goldfish swimming in a fish bowl with blue rocks and green grass.
Keep the fish tank clean and free of mold.

Staying Well Around Pets

If you decide to keep a pet you are allergic to, you need to keep your allergies and asthma under control. Here are some ideas:

  • Keep your pet outdoors if possible. If you can't do this, be sure to keep pets off your bed and out of your bedroom.

  • Ask your health care provider about using your quick-relief medication before handling your pet.

  • After handling a pet, wash your hands.

  • Have someone else clean pet cages and litter boxes.

  • Use an air cleaning unit with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.

Wise Pet Choices

Avoid pets with feathers or fur. Fish and reptiles are better choices and do not cause allergies.  Ask your health care provider which pets you can keep.

When You Are Away from Home

When you go out, try these tips:

  • Avoid visiting homes where a pet is allowed indoors. Such homes contain animal allergens, even after the pet is put outside.

  • When spending the night somewhere, ask to sleep in a room where pets are never allowed.

Online Medical Reviewer: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, Maura, MD
Last Review Date: 11/20/2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.