How to Live With a Pet Even if You’re Allergic
Cat allergies? Dog allergies?
Don’t worry – you can still live with your furry friends and keep your allergic reaction to cats and dogs to a minimum!
Living with allergies can be irritating especially if the root of the problem is your furry friend. If you find yourself sniffling and sneezing but still want to keep your pets around, these tips can help you maintain an allergen-friendly home even with animals indoors. Living together with your beloved pet even with cat or dog allergies can still be enjoyable if you take these preventative steps to make your living spaces as hypoallergenic as possible.
Allergy-triggering proteins called allergens are in your pet’s saliva and skin glands – these cling to the animal’s dry skin (dander) and fur. This dander and fur then attaches to the walls, carpets, clothing and many of the other surfaces in your home, which has the potential to trigger the allergic reaction to cats or dogs so many people suffer from.
While minimising contact and washing your hands after petting may sound like obvious techniques, they may take some of the enjoyment out of caring for your fur baby. The following list can make the approach a little less dismal and ensure you and your pet can live happily together.
- Create an “allergy-free” area in your house. Allocating a room or two in the home in which the pet is not permitted can provide a haven where there is minimal contact between allergens and you. The most logical place to choose is the bedroom of the person with dog/cat allergies – your pet should not be allowed access to this room.
- Make use of HEPA filters. Implementing high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners throughout the home can provide allergen relief by filtering certain pollutants and other harmful particles from the air you breathe. A HEPA filter is particularly important when vacuuming the house. Without it, it’s likely that more pet allergens will be expelled back into the air when you vacuum. These air filters can be placed in each room of the house to remove tiny (yet potentially harmful) particles and purify the air, improving the quality of what you inhale.
- Close air vents. If you have forced-air heating or air conditioning in the home, closing the air vent can limit the circulation of pet hair and dander throughout the home. If doing this is impractical, try doing so just in the bedrooms of those with the cat or dog allergies. Likewise, replace the filters in furnaces and air conditioners with a HEPA filter.
- Clean your home frequently and thoroughly. Bed sheets, pillow slips, curtains and furnishing covers (such as couches) should receive regular washing, as should pet beds and cages. These should be cleaned on at least a weekly basis, and ideally placed outside of living areas (i.e. a garage or verandah).
- Give Fluffy a wash! Cleaning your pet on a weekly basis can help in limiting the amount of dander and fur they leave behind. Be sure to use a mild, pet-safe shampoo or better still, one which is specifically intended to reduce allergens. Thoroughly lather your pets up and scrub them down, being prudent in areas which are prone to licking. Where grooming is concerned, using a professional pet groomer or someone else without cat or dog allergies is the best way to go.
- Avoid particular furnishings. In the home, allergy sufferers should refrain from buying things that catch dust and dander like cloth curtains or blinds, and carpets and rugs on the floor. If this is unrealistic, try limiting your pet’s dwelling to areas with solely wooden or tiled floors, as these are easiest to clean. While you may want to snuggle with your fluffy buddy, keeping them off the couch can be another useful measure to reduce any potential allergic reactions.
There are several ways to avoid pet-induced allergies, but medication or getting rid of the pet aren’t necessarily the best options. Using just a few techniques around the house, you and your furry friends can live together harmoniously under the same roof.