Air Quality: Animal Dander
Images: UNC CEHS COEC
Big Idea: Animal dander can worsen asthma.
- While cats and dogs are among the most beloved pets, our furry friends can pose a threat to the health of people with asthma.
- Animal dander is a protein in warm-blooded animals’ hair, skin flakes, urine, feces, and dried saliva. Warm-blooded animals include cats, dogs, and rodents like hamsters and guinea pigs.
- Dander can get caught in the animal fur and can cling to walls, floors, furniture, bedding and clothing.
- Research has found that asthma is worsened when people who are particularly sensitive are exposed to cat and dog dander.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), online research, 2017. “Pet Allergy Overview”
Kanchongkittiphon et al, 2015. Indoor Environmental Exposures and Exacerbation of Asthma: An Update to the 2000 Review by the Institute of Medicine
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), “Pet Allergy: Are you allergic to dogs or cats?”, Medical review, October 2015.