Allergies and Pets: What You Can Do

A few years ago I had an allergic reaction to something and upon talking to my doctor there were a few things that could have been affecting me, the higher than usual pollen count, an ingredient in a food that I may not know I’m allergic to, or my cats. It turned out it wasn’t my cats. I couldn’t believe that it would be my cats. I’ve had cats all my life and they have low dander. However, about 15 to 20% of us have some sort of allergic reaction to our pets and may experience sneezing, watery eyes, itchy skin, or other symptoms.

The most common reason people are allergic to their pet is due to the proteins found in their dander, saliva, urine, and sebaceous cells. Fur type or length does not affect allergic reactions and there is no guarantee that one breed of dog or cat has less dander than another. It’s subjective to the animal and the person.

But what if you do find out that you’re allergic to your pet? What can you do? Here are a few tips to help you and your pet live together and cut down on the sneezes.

1: Create a room that is pet free, don’t let your pet enter a room that you are in frequently. For many of this is the bedroom and will allow you to sleep peacefully and not have problems breathing.

2: If you have a lot of fabrics in your house like wall to wall carpeting and drapes, the dander may stick to them. If you can, change the drapes and some rugs to cotton, maybe even eliminate some carpeting from your house and vacuum frequently.

3: Dust and tidy the house regularly to eliminate the build up of pet dander. It will cut down on allergens.

4: Air purifiers will keep the air fresh and catch the allergens in the air.

5: Bathe your pet frequently to wash off the allergens on your pet. Your vet can recommend shampoos that are designed to not dry out your pet’s skin and also help reduce the allergens that build up in their fur.

6: Groom your pet regularly to remove loose fur, brush off dander, and cut down on the amount of fur and dander that is around your house on your couch, rugs, etc.

7: Always remember to wash your hands after handling your pet.

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