Who says that pets must be removed from your home when you have been diagnosed with pet allergies? Your allergic reactions, such as frequent sneezing, skin redness, and runny eyes, can be controlled even when you have a dog or a cat in your home. You just have to be more vigilant about certain things than pet owners without pet allergies.
Understand Your Pet Allergies
Your first step is to talk with your doctor about your allergies – what causes it, what can be done to reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of the symptoms, and what medications can be taken, among others. You may initially believe that your allergic reactions are due to pet hair and dander but, upon medical examination, it may be caused by other triggers (e.g., pollen). For example, you may not actually be allergic to your dog’s hair but to the pollen that sticks to its hair after a day of playing outside.
But when an allergy test proves that you are, indeed, allergic to your pet’s hair, dry skin, or saliva, don’t despair. For as long as your doctor declares that your pet allergy is not life-threatening, there’s no need to place your beloved dog in a shelter or in another home.
Reduce the Presence of Allergens
Allergens are the substances that can trigger allergic symptoms in susceptible individuals. Fortunately, the following steps can reduce the threats of allergens in your home.
Groom your pet on a regular basis.
Dogs and cats shed on a regular basis although the amount of shedding will vary between breeds, even between two dogs of the same breed depending on age, physical condition, and weather condition, among other factors. The shedding of hair and the build-up of dander (old skin cells) among dogs contribute to the increased frequency, intensity and duration of allergic symptoms among susceptible individuals.
You must then perform regular grooming procedures on your dog or cat, which will significantly reduce shedding of hair and build-up of dander. Depending on the breed, you should give your dog a weekly bath followed by brushing the coat to remove the excess hair and dry skin.
Use vet-recommended products on your pets from the cleansing shampoo to the combing implements, which can be bought at reputable online dog supplies shop like PetSmart. Follow the instructions on these products for best results.
Bring your pet to a professional groomer, too. The cost is well worth the benefits of a well-groomed pet.
Watch your pet’s diet.
Ask your pet’s veterinarian about the best diet for your dog or cat, which can include especially-formulated food as well as the occasional meat and treat. Getting your pet on a healthy diet has a two-fold purpose, namely: first, contribute to its optimum physical and mental health and; second, minimize shedding and dander accumulation. Ask your veterinarian about special dietary products that help in minimizing non-seasonal shedding, too.
Reduce physical contact with your pet.
While reducing your physical contact, such as licking and kissing from your pet, may seem like torture, keep in mind that it is a preferable option to giving it up for adoption. Your dog’s saliva is a common source for allergies so limiting your physical contacts makes perfect sense.
And when you enjoy physical contact with your pet, you should immediately wash your hands after cuddling or playing. Your hands can still have traces of saliva, dander and fur so washing them also makes sense. You may even want to change your clothes since these allergens will also stick to the fabric.
Designate an allergy free zone in your home.
You should also have a pet-free room in your home, preferably your bedroom so that you can sleep in peace instead of being woken up with sneezing fits. You should train your dog to stay out of your bedroom for this purpose.
Install a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner, which will remove most of the impurities in the air and lessen your allergic attacks. Use impermeable covers for your mattress and pillows, too, since these will prevent dander, fur and other allergens from penetrating into their recesses.
If possible, install a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner in all areas of the house, too, which will reduce the amount of possible allergens. Avoid using furnishings that catch more dust and dander, such as carpets on floors as well as cloth curtains and blinds on the windows.
Clean your home on a regular basis to remove dust and dander – vacuum at least once a week and wash cloth furnishings, such as pet beds, couch covers, and pillows, as often as necessary. Better yet, vacuum the areas where your pet spends the most time on a daily basis to avoid the accumulation of hair and dander.
You should also ask your allergist about additional treatments to keep your allergic symptoms under control. You may consider immunotherapy, antihistamine pills and nose sprays, and even steroidal sprays.
Ultimately, a combination of approaches involving good medications, housekeeping methods, and immunotherapy will make it possible for you and your pet to continue living together!