Are you waking up with swollen eyes, and suffering sneezing attacks for no apparent reason? When the time for seasonal allergies has passed, and you certainly don’t have a common cold, sometimes the answer might be wagging its tail right in front of us. According to the Humane Society of the United States, roughly 15% of pet owners are allergic to their dogs or cats, yet 33% of those with allergies still insist on owning a pet in spite of the discomfort. This means that a decent percentage of pet owners have found ways to reduce the effects of the allergies, so that they can keep their animals. Learn some of the below steps you can take to decrease the amount of agitation in your home, so you can have your cake and eat it too!!
Reduce the Effects of Pet Allergies
- Have a clear space: Though it might not be easy to keep your cat or dog out of your bedroom, those that struggle with allergies may find this a necessary measure. Having a safe no-pets-allowed area in your home will not only give you a good place to retreat, but will also ensure that your hours of sleep will be unencumbered by allergy symptoms. Breathing fresh, pure air for 6-8 hours a night will help your body recharge, and any inflammation to subside.
- Get A Filter: One great way to keep the air clean in the no-pets-zone or in any area, for that matter, is to use a high-powered air filter. There are numerous products on the market designed to effectively strip the air of any dust, particles, and allergens that might be causing you agitation.
- Clean often: We don’t mean simply running a rag over the mantel. Get ready to scrub disinfectant on the floors, and use strong cleaning detergents to tackle those corners where the dog hair and dust bunnies like to collect. This might even include wiping down the walls where your puppy routinely rubs his back. Change bed sheets often, shampoo the carpet, and have curtains and blankets regularly washed. Consider limiting the amount of fabric-lined upholstery you own if your dog or cat usually likes to snooze there. Some pet-parents with particularly strong allergy sensitivities have even gone so far as to move to a new home with hardwood floors, or have remodeled their houses to be carpet free.
- Become a regiment hand washer: Something as simple as a quick cleansing of the hands after you have held, played with or cuddled your cat or dog will help remove the allergens from the greatest conductors we have. Our hands travel to our eyes, ears, mouth and nose so often that we can hardly keep track! Be militant with hand-washing to protect yourself from itchy, runny eyes and scratchy throats.
- Take allergy medication. Fortunately, over-the-counter anti-histamines are available for those who want to have a daily dose of support. Allergy vaccines are also an effective way of dealing with pet fur or saliva reactions. This method of treatment can result in an eventual cure, though it can be a taxing and lengthy process. Some shots require weekly injections for the first year, followed by monthly, and quarterly vaccinations. Be sure to consult with your doctor about the best (and safest) plan of attack for you!
- Take it outside: If you and your dog or cat enjoy wrestling, playing or rolling around indoors, take the fun out in the sun! By playing in the park or yard, your pet’s energy can be released outdoors without incurring any further allergens contaminating the home.
Brush your dog or cat while they are on a leash outside, where the breezes can blow the dandruff, loose hair and grime away, instead of right into the carpet or couch.
- Choose pets wisely. If you get congested even when you visit a house with a cat or dog, be careful what kind of animal you choose. It would be terrible to fall in love with a kitty or puppy only to find out that you’ve developed a severe reaction to them when they are older. Why not dodge the bullet and avoid the problem entirely by only considering breeds that have hypoallergenic coats? There are copious Poodle-hybrids that allow pet owners to select their ideal dog size and temperament while still benefitting from an intelligent dog breed with allergy-free fur. Cat lovers can also find several low-shedding shorthairs or hypoallergenic breeds to fit their preference. Alternatively, if dogs and cats may not be the right option, other pets such as birds, fish, lizards, and geckos also provide fur-free companionship and entertainment.