Can allergies cause a cough

person sneezing

Consider the unmistakable and seemingly benign sound of a cough – a common and often underestimated symptom that can leave you reaching for tissues. Could allergies be the masked villain behind this persistent coughing? More specifically, could it be due to your pets? Let’s find out.

Can Allergies Cause a Cough?

The affectionate gestures and playful antics of our feline and canine friends can bring immense joy. However, their presence can also trigger an overreaction of the immune system. This can, indeed, lead to a range of allergic reactions, including a cough. These coughs are one of many symptoms that can occur after exposure to various airborne allergens, such as: pollen, pet dander, mold, or dust mites.

When an allergen makes its way through your nasal passages, it is likely to cause irritation or inflammation in the airways. This often leads to coughing.

Understanding the Allergy-Cough Connection

An allergy is essentially the body's way of saying: "I spy with my immune system, an intruder!" When you are exposed to allergens, like dust, pollen, or pet dander, your immune system misidentifies these harmless substances as threats. As a result, your immune system goes into overdrive. This triggers the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals, which ultimately causes symptoms such as coughing.

For humans, allergies can certainly manifest as a cough. When does this occur? It happens when allergens irritate the airways, which leads to inflammation and excess mucus production. This often results in that persistent, nagging cough that seems to have no end!

How do Allergies Cause a Cough?

Allergies, such as reactions to our own pets, can induce a cough through the following mechanisms:

Postnasal Drip

You’re probably aware of the fact that allergens can trigger an excessive flow of mucus. This can drip down the back of the throat, causing inflammation and irritation. In many cases, this irritation manifests as a persistent cough.


Allergies can also inflame the airways directly, including the trachea and bronchial tubes. This inflammation can constrict the airways, making it harder to breathe. This, in turn, triggers coughs.

What Causes Allergies to Pets?

Did you know that about 7 out of 10 US households have a pet? As it turns out, the world is filled with pet lovers! Unfortunately, however, many people turn out to be allergic to their own pets. This is especially true for individuals who have asthma or other allergies. In fact, research shows that allergies to dogs and cats affect 10% to 20% of the world’s population.

In terms of our allergies to pets, there are many factors that can cause such unpleasant reactions:

  • Saliva from your feline and canine friends contains proteins that can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. When your pet grooms themselves, they spread their allergen-filled saliva onto their skin (read more about how pets cause allergies)
  • Dander, composed of tiny flakes of shed skin cells, is a common facilitator of the allergens produced by both cats and dogs – especially if they often groom themselves. If you have an allergy, inhaling this dander can easily trigger an immune response.
  • Urinary proteins from pets can also contribute to allergies. This is particularly true if the proteins become airborne through dried urine particles.

How to Identify Allergy-Induced Coughs

Usually, the first step in finding relief is to determine whether your coughs are a part of a set of allergic reactions. Allergy-related coughs are typically accompanied by other telltale signs, such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and more! If you notice these symptoms, allergies could be the puppeteer behind the scenes.

Managing Allergy-Induced Coughs

Fortunately, there are many ways to manage allergy-induced coughs. For instance, you can try allergy medications, decongestants, or antihistamines to address your allergies. Take a look at our other article for more information about the best types of antihistamines you can take, especially if you find yourself having symptoms in the presence of your own pets.

If you’re allergic to your own pets, consider creating an allergy-friendly environment at home by using air purifiers and Pacagen's specialized products, such as our Cat and Dog Allergen Neutralizing Sprays (Coming Soon!). This will help promote a cough-free environment.

Here are some other measures:

  • Regularly vacuuming, maintaining air filters, and cleaning furniture can help minimize airborne allergens. 
  • Your furry pals deserve a spa day, too! Regular bathing and grooming can help remove allergens from pet fur and skin.
  • Switching to allergen-free bedding can also be very helpful. It can reduce exposure to allergens during sleep.
  • When allergies hit hard, over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as antihistamines, can help relieve allergy symptoms, including coughing.

Final Thoughts  

No doubt, allergies can present health challenges and issues. However, understanding the connection between allergies and coughing can empower you to take control of your symptoms. A vigilant and proactive approach to managing allergies can lead to a cough-free, serene atmosphere.

So, implement a comprehensive management plan, including Pacagen's innovative products, so you can continue to enjoy the companionship of your furry friends!