2001-Thu Apr 19 15:05:39 EDT 2018
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
I’m acquainted with a number of people who suffer from pet allergies, including many of my clients and colleagues — and even my wife, Teresa. But all of them love their pets so much that they’re willing to live with the itchy nose and throat; coughing, sneezing and wheezing; skin reactions; and watery, puffy, reddened eyes that come from contact with their animals.
Well, they're not really willing to live with those things — in fact, they all do their best not to experience the effects of allergies. Fortunately, there are some simple tips and tricks that allow people with mild to moderate allergies to happily and, for the most part, comfortably share their home with pets.
In our house, the mantra is “Reduce the risk. Keep the pets.” In that spirit, here are my best bits of advice for keeping allergies to pets at bay.
1. Wash your hands. It’s not pet fur that causes people to sniffle and sneeze. It’s the allergens carried by dander (dead skin flakes), saliva and urine. So even if you have a hairless pet or one with a coat that doesn’t shed much, you’re still going to be exposed to allergens when you pet him. And some people aren’t allergic to pets so much as to the pollen or mold that comes in on a pet’s coat after he’s been outside. Washing your hands thoroughly after petting your animal helps remove those allergens.
2. Wash your furniture.Well, not the actual furniture. If you cover chairs and sofas with washable throws or slipcovers, you can launder them frequently.The same goes for your floor: Put down washable throw rugs if you have hard floors, and dust, sweep, mop and vacuum regularly. Use a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter on larger rugs and carpet. A HEPA filter traps very small particles, so it’s especially useful for pet dander, which is lightweight, small and sticky. Bonus: It’s best if someone without allergies does the vacuuming, mopping, sweeping and dusting, so feel free to enlist the help of an allergy-free spouse or child. And while you're clearing allergens from the house, it's worth considering a HEPA air purifier for your home, if you have the budget. It’s expensive, but it's especially good at trapping pet allergens.
3. Wash your pet. Bathing pets weekly helps keep dander levels low, and it typically won’t harm your pet’s coat or skin, if you choose a gentle shampoo made for pets. Between baths, give your pet’s coat a gentle rub with fragrance-free, hypoallergenic baby wipes to remove dander or pollen. If possible, assign this task to a nonallergic spouse or child, and have that person do it outdoors to minimize the spread of dander and other allergens.
4. Clothe your pet. Nope, I’m not kidding. Putting a clean pet T-shirt on your clean dog or cat will reduce the spread of dander as well as limit the amount of pollen or mold he picks up on his coat when he's outdoors. It also allows you to pet him while limiting your contact with his dander-carrying fur. (But it’s still a good idea to wash your hands afterward.)
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.