Aaachoo! Managing Pet Allergies In Your Family
Having any type of environmental allergy is no fun, but an allergic reaction to pets can put a real damper on things, especially when you consider that over half of U.S. households include at least one pet.
With an estimated 15% of the population suffering from pet allergies, it’s likely that you know someone who falls into this category. Keeping in mind the needs of pet allergy sufferers who visit our living spaces is important, and our tips aim to help you create a home environment that is friendly to both guests and pets.
What Are Pet Allergies?
Pet allergies are most often the result of an immune response to pet dander – tiny flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, and birds. Other common pet allergy triggers are particles released into the air from dried pet urine, feces, and saliva.
Symptoms of a pet allergy include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Stuffy, runny nose
- Wheezing/asthma symptoms
Hay fever or seasonal allergy sufferers may also find that their symptoms worsen in the presence of pets.
Grooming Makes A Difference
Regular grooming of both dogs and cats is essential in order to control dander. Consider the following:
- Pets should be brushed several times per week, outside or in the garage, to keep dander from building up on the fur
- Both dogs and cats should be bathed on a regular basis, either at home or with a professional groomer, using a pet safe shampoo and conditioner. Talk with your veterinarian about how frequently your pet should be bathed.
- Dry shampoos designed specifically for pets, such as John Paul Pet Waterless Shampoo, can be useful for in between regular bathing sessions to remove excess dirt and dander.
Managing Allergens In The Home
Besides keeping your pet clean, care should be taken to keep allergens in the home to a minimum:
- Clean your home frequently to remove dust and dander. Anything your pet comes into contact with, such as pillows, upholstery, area rugs, and pet beds should be vacuumed or laundered weekly.
- Don’t allow pets on the furniture or in the bedrooms.
- Use a HEPA air filter in your furnace or HEPA air cleaners throughout the home to trap and filter out pet hair and dander.
- Cut down on allergy-trapping materials in your homes by replacing heavy drapery with blinds, carpets with hard flooring, and removing other fabric surfaces such as tablecloths.