One in every two families in the United States has pets. Majority of the pets are dogs and cats. Interestingly 10% of all allergies are associated with pets and almost 30% are associated with concomitant asthma.
A common misconception is that pet hair is very allergenic. Interestingly the allergic component usually involves the dander or skin flakes, saliva, urine, and bird droppings. Even though the hair is not very allergenic they can collect pollen, dust and mold which can all trigger asthma or allergies.
The best way to treat pet allergies is to remove the pet from the household. This is in theory ideal but not very practical. In situations where the pet cannot be removed, they should be restricted from the bedroom and kept outdoors. Litter boxes should be placed in areas that are not exposed to the same air conditioning or heating ducts as air drafts exposes the allergens to the entire house. HEPA filters are very important in filtering out some of the allergens but in severe allergies these might not be very helpful.
In situations where constant contact is present (veterinarian) the role of allergy shots come into play. Allergy shots do decrease the allergic and asthma symptoms overtime.