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Are Pet Allergies Triggering Your Eczema Symptoms?

By Dr. Diane Angela Fong, ND

As a naturopathic doctor specializing in eczema, I've observed a significant correlation between pet allergies and eczema symptoms in many of my patients. While pet ownership brings joy and companionship, it can also trigger allergic reactions that exacerbate eczema. Pet allergies are more common than one might think. About 10% of people experience allergic reactions to pets. Among those with allergies and eczema, 40% react to cats and dogs. In this article, we explore the relationship between pet allergies and eczema and provide practical strategies for managing both conditions effectively.

Understanding Pet Allergies and Eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed skin. While eczema has various triggers, including genetic factors and environmental irritants, pet allergies can significantly contribute to flare-ups and symptom exacerbation.

Research suggests that exposure to pet allergens, such as dander, saliva, and urine, can sensitize the immune system and trigger inflammatory responses in individuals predisposed to eczema. These allergens can circulate in the air and adhere to various surfaces, contributing to indoor environmental allergen exposure. For those with existing eczema, pet allergens can exacerbate skin inflammation, leading to itching, redness, and discomfort.

Types of Pet Allergens

Pet allergens are diverse and can originate from various sources, including:

  1. Dander: These are tiny dead skin scales shed by pets. Similar to human dandruff but much smaller, dander can circulate in the air and adhere to various surfaces such as furniture and drapes.

  2. Sebaceous Gland Secretions: Cats produce a glycoprotein known as fel d 1, primarily secreted by their sebaceous glands. These secretions can dry on the hair, flake off, and become airborne, posing a significant allergen risk.

  3. Saliva: Fel d 1, the primary cat allergen, is also present in saliva. Cats groom themselves by licking their fur, and when the saliva dries, it flakes off, contributing to airborne allergens.

  4. Urine: Urinary secretions, if not cleansed away, can dry on the hair of long-coated pets and flake off, circulating in the environment. Urine is a major allergen for small rodents such as gerbils, hamsters, rats, and mice.

  5. Feather Dust From Birds: Feathers are the primary allergen source for birds, with certain species like parrots, cockatiels, cockatoos, and African greys being particularly problematic.

Are there hypoallergenic animals?

While some animals may produce fewer allergens than others, no animal is entirely free of allergens. Occasionally, a litter of cats or dogs may have individuals that produce less dander, but this is rare and not reproducible through breeding. Certain breeds may release more dander than others, but the term "hypoallergenic" can be misleading.


While no breed is entirely hypoallergenic, some dog breeds are known to produce fewer allergens or shed less dander, making them potentially more suitable for individuals with allergies or sensitivities. Here are a few examples:

  1. Poodle: Poodles have hair rather than fur, which may reduce the amount of dander they shed. They are often considered hypoallergenic and are a popular choice for allergy sufferers.

  2. Bichon Frise: Bichon Frises have a curly coat that tends to trap dander, reducing its dispersion into the air. Regular grooming is essential to prevent matting and maintain their hypoallergenic properties.

  3. Maltese: Maltese dogs have a single-layered, silky coat that sheds minimally. Their hair-like fur may produce fewer allergens compared to breeds with double-layered coats.

  4. Portuguese Water Dog: Portuguese Water Dogs have a non-shedding coat that produces less dander, making them a potentially suitable choice for allergy sufferers. However, regular grooming is necessary to prevent matting.

  5. Schnauzer: Miniature Schnauzers have a wiry coat that sheds minimally. Their coat texture may reduce the spread of allergens, although regular grooming is required to maintain their hypoallergenic qualities.

  6. Yorkshire Terrier: Yorkshire Terriers have a long, silky coat that sheds less than some other breeds. While no dog is entirely hypoallergenic, Yorkshire Terriers may produce fewer allergens due to their coat type.


While no cat breed is entirely hypoallergenic, some breeds are known to shed less dander or produce lower levels of allergenic proteins. Here are a few examples of cat breeds that are commonly regarded as hypoallergenic or more suitable for individuals with allergies:

  1. Siberian: Siberian cats are believed to produce lower levels of the Fel d 1 protein, which is a common allergen found in cat saliva and dander. Some individuals with allergies may tolerate Siberian cats better than other breeds.

  2. Balinese: Balinese cats, which are closely related to Siamese cats, are known for their long, silky coats and relatively low shedding. While no cat breed is entirely hypoallergenic, Balinese cats may produce fewer allergens compared to some other breeds.

  3. Russian Blue: Russian Blue cats have a dense, plush coat that sheds minimally. They are often considered hypoallergenic because they produce lower levels of dander and saliva compared to other breeds.

  4. Cornish Rex: Cornish Rex cats have a unique coat texture that consists of soft, curly fur. Their minimal shedding and less hair may result in reduced allergen exposure for some individuals.

  5. Devon Rex: Devon Rex cats have a similar coat texture to Cornish Rex cats, with soft, curly fur that sheds less than other breeds. While individual reactions vary, some people with allergies may tolerate Devon Rex cats better than breeds with denser coats.

It's important to note that individual cats and dogs within a breed may vary in their allergen production, and some individuals may still trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Additionally, regular grooming, bathing, and maintaining a clean living environment are essential practices for managing pet allergies regardless of the breed. If you have allergies or sensitivities, consider spending time with different breeds to determine which ones you tolerate best before committing to pet ownership.

What To Do

If you're experiencing eczema symptoms and have a cat, dog, or other pet, here are some practical steps you can take:

  1. Get Tested: Consult with the Cleanbody Team or order labs directly to identify specific allergies, toxins, and address gut and immune health.

  2. Address Toxin and Inflammatory Load: Adopt a holistic approach to cleanse the body, improve gut health, and boost immune function.

  3. Cleanse Animals Regularly: Bathe or wipe down your pets once or twice a week to remove allergens from their coat. Regular brushing can also help minimize shedding and dander.

  4. Use Allergen Neutralizing Products: Products like Allerpet and Ecology Works can help neutralize pet allergens in the environment, reducing allergic reactions.

  5. Opt for Allergy-Friendly Pet Products: Choose unscented, low-dust cat litter made from natural materials to minimize allergen exposure.

  6. Clean Home Regularly: Clean and vacuum your home at least once or twice a week to remove accumulated pet dander and other allergens from surfaces. Pay special attention to carpets, upholstery, and areas where pets spend the most time.

  7. Invest in an Air Filter: Consider installing a high-quality HEPA air filter in your home to capture airborne allergens effectively. This can significantly improve indoor air quality and reduce allergy symptoms.

  8. Optimize Skin Health: Focus on maintaining healthy skin barrier function to protect your exposure to pet allergens by using the CleanSKIN Kit. Avoid harsh chemicals and irritants that can exacerbate eczema symptoms.

  9. Temporary Removal of the Pet: In some cases, temporarily removing the pet from the home for 1-3 months may help decrease allergen exposure and provide relief from symptoms. This could involve having someone else care for the pet temporarily or moving the pet to a different location, such as the garage, while addressing underlying factors contributing to allergies and eczema.

  10. Holistic Approach: Adopt a holistic approach to eczema management, addressing underlying factors such as gut health, immune function, and stress management. Consider working the Cleanbody Team. We specialize in eczema to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

By taking proactive steps to manage pet allergies and eczema, you can minimize symptoms, improve skin health, and enhance overall well-being. Remember, you don't necessarily have to choose between your furry companions and clear, healthy skin. With the right approach, you may be able to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership while effectively addressing eczema symptoms. If you're struggling with eczema and pet allergies, don't hesitate to book a discovery consultation and explore holistic treatment options for long-term relief and improved quality of life. Learn more about working with us!

About the Author:

Dr. Diane Angela Fong, ND, is the CEO and founder of Cleanbody, a wellness company dedicated to treating and preventing chronic disease. She is the creator of the Cleanbody Method, which follows a three-step process: Evaluate (digging into the root causes of chronic disease using lab testing and other evaluation tools), Optimize (enhancing health foundations by addressing nutrition, lifestyle, and toxic exposures), and Support (optimizing organ functions through healing protocols).

Medical Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Affiliate & Product Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links and mentions of Cleanbody products. As an affiliate, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links. However, please note that the inclusion of affiliate links does not influence our editorial content or product recommendations. Our primary goal is to provide valuable information and resources to our readers to support their health and wellness journey. We only recommend products and services that we genuinely believe in and that align with our commitment to promoting holistic health. Thank you for your support!


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