Allergic to Fido

Pet lovers love their pets completely: the late night cuddles, the enthusiastic greetings after a long day of work, the ever loyal walking companion. But sometimes, all those loving, furry perks come with a catch: allergies.

Living with pet allergies is not always easy, but you’re not alone. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that 60 million people in the U.S. battle asthma and allergies. Many of those people undoubtedly love their pets and want to share their home with their furry friends. But don’t worry, this is possible. Even if it means having to have a central vacuum installed into your home, (Click here for more info) and cleaning up your pet’s fur, you should do this if you want to share your home with man’s best friend. This isn’t the only thing that you can do though.

So what is an itchy-eyed, runny nosed, pet lover to do?

  • Talk to your doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor if you’re dedicated to keeping your pet in your home. Many doctors may recommend rehoming, but many of us adopt pets for life. Your doctor can suggest over-the-counter remedies, or prescriptions to alleviate your symptoms. Allergy shots, which work to decrease your allergic symptoms over time, are another option to discuss with your doctor.
  • Keep your pet groomed (or cage cleaned if you have the rodent variety). Frequent brushing and bathing will help keep dander down and loose fur off your floor.
  • In the spirit of keeping down on loose fur floating through the house, vacuum frequently with a specialised vacuum built for the task, every 24-72 hours preferably. You can buy the best vacuum for dog hair here if you’re not sure where to source one from. If your pets are allowed on the furniture, vacuum the couch too. Some vacuums don’t clean pet hair that well, it is best to get a carpet cleaner specifically for your pets, making sure that the hair is completely gone so your allergies won’t flare up again. It can take a while to find the best pet carpet cleaner if you don’t know where to look, but checking out sites such as Steam Clean Reviews can help you make your decision.
  • Train dogs and cats to stay off the furniture, so you can have an allergen-free zone to sit. It may sound impossible to train a cat to stay off the couch, but it can be done with some dedicated work. They’ll be just as comfortable with a dog bed or a cat tree.
  • Make the bedroom a pet-free zone. Considering how much time we spend around the house versus sleeping for eight hours every night, we spend a significant amount of time in the bedroom. And since cats seem to love sleeping right on our pillows, consider not allowing them in the bedroom at all. You’ll sleep better and won’t wake up stuffy, and your cat can have the house to himself to chase toy mice all night.
  • Wash blankets, towels, and bed linens (if your pet is allowed in the bedroom) once a week to cut down on dander throughout the house.
  • Consider adding a good HEPA air purifier for dog hair, dander and allergies. For those who don’t know, a HEPA stand for “high efficiency particulate air” and they are purifiers for your vacuum, central air systems, or air filter units throughout your house. Using this filter, you can ensure maximum security of your family as it blocks out the harmful microorganisms while at the same time providing fresh and healthy air throughout the house.
  • Don’t pet your furry best friends with your hands and then touch your face. Wash your hands after petting, use a grooming glove, or just don’t use your hands. I know a number of cats who love being pet with feet (and actually snuggle empty shoes now).

Living with pets and allergies isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it to be able to share our lives with man’s best friend. It might not always be easy, but with some cleaning, training, and a little bit of planning you’ll be able to better keep your sneezing under control.

By Rachel Leisemann Immel