Getting a Puppy or Kitty for the New Year? Get Allergy Tested First!

Dog in front of Christmas lightsBefore adopting a new pet for your family, ensure a smooth transition by getting everyone allergy tested.

Introducing a pet to the home can bring joy to a family! If you are concerned allergies may be an issue, an allergy test can help put your mind at ease. Typically, this is a skin allergy test, where a small amount of a common allergen is put onto the skin. Your doctor can test for many different types of allergens at one time, including pet dander, pollen, ragweed, and others. In addition to skin prick tests, allergy doctors can also run a blood test.

Know the Symptoms of Pet Allergies

Before you adopt a pet, do a self-check for any symptoms of a potential allergy. Many people who have other types of allergies, such as pollen or dust allergies, also react to pet dander. Cat and dog allergies can cause nasal congestion, runny nose or sneezing, coughing or tightness in the chest, skin rash, hives, and itchy or watery eyes. If you have experienced any of these while petting your neighbor’s kitty, you may want to schedule a cat allergy test.

Spend Time Around Animals

You can do an informal pet allergy test by hanging out with an animal similar to the kind you intend to adopt. Look after a friend’s dog or visit a local rescue to see the cats. If you are allergic, it may take extended exposure for symptoms to appear. If it is possible for you to borrow a friend’s pet for a longer stay, you will have a more accurate indication of whether or not you need a formal dog allergy test.

Get Medical Pet Allergy Testing

One of the most reliable indicators of a pet allergy is a test done by a doctor. Any warm-blooded pet can cause problems, but the most common allergies are to cats and dogs. When tested for allergies using a skin prick test, our staff will lightly scratch your back with different allergens. If you are positive, then a small itchy red bump will appear on the skin within about 20 minutes. A positive allergy test doesn’t mean all is lost, though.

Our physicians can provide treatment options to manage your symptoms, including medications or immunotherapy, to desensitize you to your allergy. While there are no hypoallergenic breeds, there are ways to learn and minimize the pet dander in your home. This may include keeping pets out of bedrooms and washing or grooming the animal regularly.

Allergy and Asthma Doctors

The Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic serves patients in Little Rock and Conway. If you want to know more about pet allergy testing or wish to schedule an appointment, give us a call at (501) 227-5210 or contact us online.