Life with pets is never easy – especially if you’re allergic. But, trust me when I say that the rewards of providing an animal with a loving home, far outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies! Pet lovers throughout the U.S. have successfully reduced their allergy symptoms so that their furry friend doesn’t have to be re-homed, or worse, sent to animal control where they won’t get much or any chance at finding a loving home.
Recent research has shown that approximately six to eight million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters each year. 30 percent of these animals were surrendered by the only family they ever knew; their owners. Roughly half of all healthy animals don’t make it out of the shelter system alive. Many are euthanized due to fear; which if you ask me is unfair; especially since they’re scared and don’t understand why their family abandoned them.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no reason to remove your pet from your home, should you be diagnosed with pet allergies that are not life threatening. Both my son and daughter suffer from pet allergies, yet, we have seven combined. You see, there is hope for your allergies, which I assume is why you’re here. If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with pet allergies here’s a few ways you can reduce them:
Tip 1: Create an “allergy free” zone in the home. Preferably the bedroom. Strictly prohibit pet’s accessing this area. Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner (available at any big box store) in the bedroom. Consider using impermeable mattress and pillow covers as well.
Tip 2: Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the rest of the home. Avoid dust and dander catching furnishings. Have your carpets professionally steam cleaned every six months. Use a “microfilter” bag in the vacuum cleaner, or frequently empty its canister, to effectively catch all allergens.
Tip 3: Bathe your pet weekly. This simple act can drastically reduce the level of allergens on fur. Even cats can learn to love bath time! When looking for a quality shampoo, it pays to check with your veterinarian, or consult a pet care book. Follow directions precisely.
Tip 4: Groom your pets every 6 to 8 weeks. The benefits of pet grooming extend far beyond just making them look and smell better. Grooming is important to both their health and yours. It’s important to carefully research any groomer you’re considering taking Fido to.
Tip 5: Don’t be quick to place blame. Ask your allergist to specifically test for allergies to pet dander, rather than making an assumption, as your pet’s life may be at stake. Are you sensitive to more than one allergen? Then you’ll need to reduce the overall allergen level in your home.
Tip 6: Try immunotherapy (allergy shots). Immunotherapy works by gradually desensitizing a person’s immune system to all of their allergens. Allergists inject allergy-causing proteins under the person’s skin so that the body learns to produce antibodies.
Of course, if you’re considering adopting a pet, knowing full well you suffer from pet allergies then you will definitely want to do your due diligence when picking out your new family member. Low-allergen breeds do exist; typically smaller breeds of dogs. They include
- Bedlington Terriers
- Bichon Frise
- Irish Water Spaniels
- Kerry Blue Terriers
- Poodles (all sizes)
- Portuguese Water Dogs
- Soft-Coated Wheaton Terries
- Hairless Dogs
Many mixed breeds that involve one of these low-allergen breeds can be just as appropriate. If you want a low-allergen dog or cat, make sure to check your local shelters first, as you could be saving a life. You’d be surprised at just how many purebreds are turned into shelters each year!
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