Are you one of the millions of adults who suffer from pet allergies? You're not alone. In fact, studies show that approximately 10% of adults in the United States have pet allergies. These allergies can be triggered by a variety of animals, including cats, dogs, and even birds.

If you're not sure whether you have a pet allergy or not, it's important to be aware of the common symptoms. From sneezing and itchy eyes to runny nose and skin rashes, these symptoms can range from mild to severe.

In this article, we will explore seven common symptoms of pet allergies in adults so that you can better understand and manage your own allergies.


If you're experiencing sneezing, it could be a common symptom of pet allergies in adults. Sneezing is your body's way of trying to remove irritants from your nose. When you come into contact with pet dander, such as from cats or dogs, it can trigger an allergic reaction in your body. This can cause your nasal passages to become inflamed, leading to sneezing as a result. Along with sneezing, you may also experience other symptoms like nasal congestion and sinus pressure.

Nasal congestion occurs when the blood vessels in your nasal passages become swollen and inflamed. This can make it difficult to breathe through your nose, leading to a stuffy or blocked feeling. Sinus pressure, on the other hand, refers to the discomfort or pain you may feel in your sinuses, which are located behind your forehead, cheeks, and eyes. This pressure can cause headaches and a feeling of heaviness in your face.

If you're experiencing sneezing, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure, it's important to determine if you have pet allergies. This can be done through allergy testing, which can help identify the specific allergens causing your symptoms. Once you know what you're allergic to, you can take steps to manage your allergies, such as avoiding contact with pets or using medications to alleviate your symptoms.

Itchy Eyes

You may also experience itchy eyes, a common symptom of pet allergies in adults. When you come into contact with allergens from your pet, such as pet dander or saliva, your eyes may become red, watery, and irritated. The constant itching sensation may lead to a strong urge to rub your eyes, but this can actually worsen the symptoms.

Here are a few things you should know about itchy eyes and pet allergies:

  • Redness and Irritation: Allergens can cause the blood vessels in your eyes to dilate, resulting in redness and inflammation. This can make your eyes feel sore and itchy.
  • Watery Eyes: When exposed to pet allergens, your eyes may produce excessive tears as a defense mechanism. This excess tear production can cause your eyes to become watery and appear puffy.

Runny Nose

One common symptom that can continue alongside itchy eyes is a runny nose. If you find yourself constantly reaching for tissues to wipe away the never-ending flow of nasal discharge, it may be a sign that you have a pet allergy.

A runny nose occurs when the immune system overreacts to pet dander, causing the blood vessels in your nasal passages to swell and produce excess mucus. This excess mucus then drips out of your nose, leading to a runny nose.

Along with runny eyes, a runny nose can be one of the most bothersome symptoms of pet allergies in adults. The constant need to blow your nose and the feeling of congestion can be incredibly frustrating.

However, it's important to remember that these symptoms can be managed with proper treatment. Over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays can help alleviate the symptoms of a runny nose, providing you with some relief and allowing you to better enjoy your time with your furry friends.

Skin Rashes

Experiencing persistent skin rashes is another common manifestation of pet allergies in adults. If you notice red, itchy, or inflamed patches on your skin after being in contact with pets, it could be a sign of an allergic reaction.

Here are some important points to consider:

  • Potential Triggers: Pet dander, saliva, or urine are the primary culprits behind skin rashes in people with pet allergies. When these allergens come into contact with your skin, they can trigger an allergic response and cause a rash to develop. It's important to note that not all individuals will react to the same extent, and the severity of the rash can vary.
  • Treatment Options: If you suspect that your skin rashes are a result of pet allergies, there are several treatment options available to alleviate your symptoms. These include:
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines: Taking antihistamine medications can help reduce itching and inflammation associated with skin rashes.
  • Topical corticosteroids: Applying corticosteroid creams or ointments can help relieve redness, swelling, and itching.
  • Allergen avoidance: Minimizing exposure to pet allergens by keeping pets out of certain rooms or using air purifiers can help prevent skin rashes.
  • Immunotherapy: In some cases, allergen immunotherapy, such as allergy shots, may be recommended to desensitize your immune system to pet allergens and reduce symptoms over time.


If you notice wheezing after being around pets, it could be a sign of pet allergies in adults. Wheezing is a common symptom of pet allergies and occurs when the airways in your lungs become narrowed and constricted. This can make it difficult to breathe and may be accompanied by a whistling or squeaking sound when you exhale.

To manage wheezing symptoms during peak allergy seasons, there are several treatment options available. One option is to take over-the-counter antihistamines, such as cetirizine or loratadine, to help reduce inflammation and relieve wheezing. These medications work by blocking the release of histamines, which are responsible for the allergic reaction.

Another option is to use an inhaler that contains bronchodilators, such as albuterol, to help relax and open up the airways.

In addition to these treatments, it's important to minimize your exposure to pet allergens. This can be done by keeping pets out of certain areas in your home, such as your bedroom, and regularly cleaning and vacuuming to remove pet dander. Using air purifiers and wearing a mask while cleaning can also help reduce your exposure to allergens.


To manage coughing caused by pet allergies, you can take steps to reduce your exposure to allergens and consider using over-the-counter medications. Coughing is a common symptom of pet allergies in adults and can be quite bothersome. Here are some tips to help alleviate your coughing:

  • Reduce Exposure to Allergens:
  • Keep pets out of your bedroom and restrict them to certain areas of your home.
  • Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in your home to trap pet dander and other allergens.
  • Consider Over-the-Counter Medications:
  • Antihistamines can help relieve coughing caused by allergies. Look for non-drowsy options if you need to take them during the day.
  • Decongestants can provide temporary relief by reducing nasal congestion and post-nasal drip, which can trigger coughing.

It's important to note that if your cough persists or worsens, it may be a sign of a more serious condition. Chronic cough causes can include asthma, bronchitis, or even respiratory infections. If you have a persistent cough that lasts for more than a few weeks, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Shortness of Breath

You may experience a noticeable difficulty in breathing when you have a pet allergy. Shortness of breath is one of the common symptoms that adults with pet allergies may encounter. When you're exposed to pet dander, saliva, or urine, your immune system may overreact and trigger an allergic response. This can lead to inflammation in your airways, causing breathing difficulties and respiratory issues.

The allergens released by pets can irritate your respiratory system, making it harder for you to breathe properly. You may feel as though you aren't getting enough air or that your chest is tight. This shortness of breath can be mild, but it can also become severe in some cases.

If you have a pet allergy, it's important to take steps to manage your symptoms. Avoiding direct contact with pets, keeping your living space clean, and using air purifiers can help reduce the allergens in your environment. Additionally, wearing a mask while cleaning or grooming your pet can also minimize your exposure to allergens.

If you experience persistent shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms, it's crucial to seek medical attention. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms, diagnose your pet allergy, and recommend appropriate treatment options to help manage your breathing difficulties.


If you experience sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, skin rashes, wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath around pets, you may have pet allergies. These symptoms are common in adults and can be quite uncomfortable.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the cause of your symptoms and explore possible treatment options.

Remember, with the right approach, you can still enjoy the companionship of pets even if you have allergies.