More Than 1 In 10 Brits Are ALLERGIC To Their Pets

  • 04/04/2017
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New research has shown that Brits endure daily suffering for their pets, as one in 10 is allergic to their cats and dogs.

A survey of 2,000 UK pet owners revealed that a staggering 13% battle through symptoms such as sneezing, rashes, hives and even difficulty breathing to own a cat or a dog.

Out of the allergy sufferers who were surveyed, frighteningly 12% have needed hospital treatment in the past to stop their symptoms becoming life threatening.

Despite the concerning stats on hospital visits, the survey, commissioned by AnimalFriends.co.uk, discovered that a quarter of Brits stated their allergy symptoms had improved following exposure to their pets. However, 16% admitted that their condition had worsened.

The Pet Foods Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA)’s stats show there are 8.5 million dogs and 7.5 cats in the UK, which highlights the extent of allergy problems faced.

Those with animal allergies who still want to bring a pet into their lives sometimes choose to get “hypoallergenic” dogs and cats — breeds that allegedly produce fewer symptoms than other animals. The poll showed a rise in popularity of these breeds, such as the Bichon Frise and the Poodle.

Nearly one in five pet owners said they had specifically bought a dog believed to be hypoallergenic to combat their symptoms – at an average cost of £305 per pet. But despite shelling out, a staggering 40% reported to still be suffering with adverse symptoms.

The survey went on to reveal that almost half (44%) of Brits didn’t realise they had an allergy until they bought their pet, 30% live with someone who suffers from an allergy and 36% confessed that they avoid visiting friends and even family members with pets to avoid irritating their symptoms.

When it comes to treating their allergies, antihistamines are the most common way to alleviate symptoms (67%) followed by limiting physical contact with their pet (33%), restricting the animal to certain rooms of the house (20%) and using an air filter in the home (12%).

Westley Pearson, Managing Director from Animalfriends.co.uk, commented: “It’s a shame when allergies get in the way of people’s relationships with their pets. However, we would strongly advise spending time with your new furry friend before taking the plunge and moving them into your home, as this can make any allergies become apparent.

“Understanding your allergies before you adopt or buy a dog is extremely important, as it can help to avoid people having to give up their animals to a shelter. Who wouldn’t want to spend a little extra time with a new pet to protect both you and them?”

A spokesman for Allergy UK said: " Despite popular belief, all dogs possess the allergenic material known to produce allergic reactions in humans, and therefore reported differences of sensitivity to different breeds probably relates more to the level of exposure. 

"Even breeds that are described as 'hairless' still have allergens found in dander from skin sources. It is possible that longer hair may harbour other allergens such as dust mite, pollens and moulds, to which an individual may also be sensitive."

The charity publishes advice about pet allergies at www.allergyuk.org/about-allergy-menu/about-allergy

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