A Guide to Living With Allergies and Your Fur Babies
Having pets is an enjoyable experience – they love you unconditionally, they are incredibly adorable, and they can add a lot of value to your life. However, what happens if you’re allergic to the animals that bring you so much joy?
Many people are allergic to common pets like dogs and cats, and if you’re one of them, it may seem like having a fur baby is out of the question. After all, won’t you be suffering nonstop while they’re in your house?
Although life with allergies and a pet can be challenging, it doesn’t have to mean that you can’t have an animal with you. It just means that you have to be more careful about your situation and plan accordingly.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can make life easier when your pets are the ones triggering your allergy symptoms.
Understanding Pet Allergies
Before we get into the various methods you might be inclined to use to cope with your allergies, let’s first understand what’s triggering them. Once you know why you’re reacting, it’s much easier to prevent the next one.
Dander is a Trigger, Fur Isn’t – most people assume that the more fur there is, the easier it will be to have a reaction. However, it’s usually skin flakes that will cause problems, meaning that you could have a bald pet and still get allergies. Other triggers can include saliva, urine, and yes, fur in some cases.
Some Breeds are Less Trigger-Happy – just because you’re allergic to cats doesn’t mean that all cats will cause you to start sneezing. Some breeds are naturally hypoallergenic, or they don’t shed as much skin, allowing you to live in relative peace. Simply put, finding a different breed may help resolve the issue as much as anything else.
Get Tested to Be Sure – you can visit an allergist to find out what specific pets will cause the most severe reactions. Having this information can help determine what steps you can take to minimize the effects.
Living With Pets and Allergies
For most pet owners, the benefits of having pets largely outweigh the inconvenience of suffering through allergies. However, because no one wants to be coughing, sneezing and stuffed up all the time, let’s go over some simple ways that you can live relatively allergy-free, even while your pet is shedding dander all over the place.
Keep Your Home Clean – Always
The first and best method to avoid coming into contact with dander is to remove as much of it from your home as possible. Whether it’s vacuuming every couple of days or wiping down surfaces whenever you get a chance, the less dander there is in the air, the fewer attacks you will experience.
Yes, most people hate cleaning almost as much as they hate getting an allergic reaction, but once you’ve gotten into the habit of it, you won’t even think about it as a chore.
Remove Allergen-Trapping Materials
Carpets and area rugs are breeding grounds for allergens. Dander, fur, and other particles can get trapped in the fibers easily, making it harder to remove them from the house. If you’re committed to your pet, you may consider replacing your carpets with something easier to clean, like hardwood or laminate.
Overall, anything fuzzy will attract allergen particles, so try to avoid keeping furniture or decor that may become a hotbed of dander flakes.
Maintain an Allergy-Free Room
Being exposed to allergens on a consistent basis can be a little overwhelming at times. However, you can give yourself some respite by having a room or section of the house in which your pet cannot go. This way, you can be sure to avoid any triggers whenever you’re in there, thus allowing you to get a break from the constant bombardment. Just be aware that you will track allergens on your clothes, so don’t think that you can avoid cleaning that space.
Bathe Your Pet Often
When we have dander and flakes on our scalps, what do we do to manage it? We wash and condition our hair. The same is true for your pets. The more frequently you clean them, the fewer allergens that will slough off into your home.
When washing your pet, you can look for specialized shampoos that may help reduce dander (a la Head and Shoulders). You should also make sure to clean as thoroughly as possible so that you can get some relief for at least a couple of days.
Use Air Purifiers and Filters
Despite your best efforts, allergens are going to continue to float in the air. However, you can eliminate the majority of them with an air purifier. These machines can be a godsend for allergy sufferers as they remove particles like dust, pet dander, and pollen from the air all day long. Put purifiers in rooms where allergens are likely to collect (i.e., those with carpets) and you should notice a significant decrease in attacks. Just make sure you’re changing or cleaning the filters regularly.
Contact Longview Animal Hospital
If you’re ready to live the allergy-free life without getting rid of your pet, we can help you find the solution that works best for you. We’re committed to both our patients and their owners having happy, healthy, exciting lives. Contact us today – we are happy to provide assistance.