Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pet Allergies - Possible Solutions for You and Your Home

More animals are being put up for adoption not long after being brought into what was going to be their "fur-ever" home. The pet was supposed to be a family pet, a pal for a child, a companion for an elderly person - the reasons are valid and varied. But then, the sneezing starts. Allergies are one of the top reasons pets are re-homed or surrendered to shelters. If you are an animal lover like me, you could not bear to NOT have a pet of some sort in your home. There are the hairless varieties of dogs and cats - but not everyone appreciates the cuteness of a bald pet! Personally I adore the feel of soft fur - its so therapeutic and luxurious! If you or someone you love suffers from allergies, there are ways to manage to keep that pet and minimize the airborne allergens. It's not always about the fur - it’s sometimes about the protein found in the animal's dander (skin flakes), saliva or/or urine. Sometimes a natural resistance develops over time, but before you make the decision to send "Fluffy" to another home, put on your hardhat and join us for helpful hints to battle the evil War Lord called PET DANDER!

Keep your pet healthy. Dogs or other animals with nutritional deficiencies, depression or anxiety tend to shed more and increase the dander in the air. Tell your vet about the allergy situation in your home and see if your dog’s a candidate for dietary supplements or a switch to a different food.

Bathing pets once a week significantly reduces the amount of pet allergens in the air. Consider using a pet shampoo that helps neutralize the allergens. Limit bathing your pet to no more than once a week so you don’t dry out your pet's skin, which is counterproductive. Frequent, even daily, brushing is another important step - just remember to have a non-allergic person take the dog or other animal outside so the allergens don’t enter your home. You can also try spray-on solutions to reduce dander like Allerpet and Nature’s Miracle Dander and Odor Eliminator to see if these work for you. Read the label - be sure it is safe for the type of critter you are thinking of using it on, and follow the instructions.

Wash hands after petting. Discourage face licking or sharing a bed with the dog. Create a pet-free zone in your home that’s off limits to animals, whether that’s the bedroom or particular furniture.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help minimize pet allergy symptoms, but for persistent, tough-to-treat cases, a trip to a specialist may be in order. Allergy shots can improve symptoms and works like a vaccine by gradually desensitizing a person’s immune system to the pet allergens.

Carpets, drapes and fabric-covered sofas trap dander, dust and dirt and don’t let go – these are typically the greatest sources of allergens in the home. Consider swapping out the fabrics for leather or wood furniture, tile or hardwood floors, and plastic blinds.

High-performance vacuum cleaners with a high particulate HEPA filtration systems are currently available and can be found in most any store these days. Regularly vacuum floors, furniture, mattresses and pet areas to keep the allergens under control.

You can significantly reduce allergens in your home with HEPA or electrostatic air filters. Also, remember to change air filters in heating and cooling systems regularly to avoid forcing allergens back into your home.

If pet allergies are making you or your loved ones uncomfortable, I hope you find something of value in the hints I offered here today! Happy Petting!


Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Halloo -- we have sort of an opposite problem in our home -- my son just lives with his allergies to the cats -- but it's one of our DOGS that is allergic to US, among many other things -- right now we are trying a VEGAN diet the vet sells, and for the first time, seeing a bit of a result -- she's been getting shots and special diets for years to try to stop/reduce the allergies. Poor old girl...

The pet-free room is an EXCELLENT idea, by the way.

texasdaisey said...

What a cool post and blog! I just love critters of all kinds. Thank you so much for the follow and the kind encouragement. I so appreciate all that you ladies have done.

Cathy Santarsiero, "The Christmas Corgi" said...

What excellent ideas. Love the hard-hat photo! Happy Easter! Warmly, Cat ^..^ xo xo

Infrared Goggles said...

To paraphrase Cathy, I agree, love the tips, really love the Corgi topper! Your photos always give me the giggles... :)
Warmly, Christiane

Chatty Crone said...

Now that Scrappy Doo is here and I am allergic to him - we have to do what we can do to keep him. Thanks for the advice - although he's not to fond of baths (lol).