How many times have we heard or said, “I love cats (or dogs), but I’m allergic to them!” Or, even worse, “I just got the cutest puppy (or kitten), but it turns out I’m allergic to it. I’ll have to get rid of it!“
Here are ten great ideas for helping you or someone you love control allergies, so you can get a companion animal, or keep the one you have.
People who are allergic to pets usually are reacting to dander (pieces of skin that have been shed) and saliva.
Keep in mind that people who have allergies usually react to more than one allergen. Allergy to dust mites, for instance, is even more common than allergy to dogs and cats. Sometimes pets take all the blame, when in fact there are other things in the house contributing to allergic symptoms.
Some of these tips are primarily for dogs, while others will apply to either dogs or cats.
1. Keep your pet out of the bedroom.
2. Bathe your dog more frequently. Between baths, try rinsing the dog in plain water, which can keep the dander down. Some people believe that using distilled water is better than regular tap water.
3. Groom your pet more often outdoors or perhaps in the basement, away from the main living areas.
4. Eliminate allergens from the bedroom. In addition to forbidding your pet from the bedroom, remove any carpet from the room (and elsewhere in the house if necessary), as well as curtains and other dust- and dander-catchers.
5. Keep the bedroom meticulously clean and as free of dust as possible.
6. Invest in covers for the mattress and pillows, since they harbor dust mires. Get rid of feather pillows and buy the washable, hypoallergenic kind.
7. Wash bedclothes and pillows frequently in hot water, which will kill dust mites and get rid of any pet dander that might be present.
8. Keep humidity in the house low, which helps control the dust mite population.
9. You might also invest in an air-cleaner for the bedroom; be sure to buy the kind with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. There are also more expensive air-cleaning devices that will filter air throughout the house.
10. Invest in a vacuum cleaner that keeps dust from blowing back out all over the house, which is what happens when you use a regular vacuum cleaner! These newer vacuum cleaners are more widely available than before through stores and catalogs.
Adapted from The Puppy Owner’s Manual, by Diana Delmar (Storey Books, 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Diana Delmar. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from The Puppy Owner’s Manual, by Diana Delmar (Storey Books, 2001).