Dealing With Pet Allergies

At least one American in 20 sufferers from an allergy to a furry animal. This is usually a reaction to dander (particles from feathers, skin or hair) and saliva. Some of the symptoms include eye irritation, sneezing, and asthma. These allergies are sometimes specific, for instance, a person allergic to cats may not be allergic to dogs and vice versa. About one half of sufferers from cat allergies say they will keep their cats in spite of the problem. Even so, many pets end up in the pound or are abandoned because their owners are allergic to them. What’s good to know is that allergic children improve with age.

Note that the greater amount of dander the animal sheds, the greater the allergic person’s reaction. The secret to allergy control is to reduce the amount of dander. Some breeds of animals produce less dander: for example, all sizes of poodles, the bichon fries, and the Portuguese water dog are relatively dander-free.

Some Helpful Tips When Dealing with Allergies

  1. Talk to an allergist.
  2. Research allergy shots (desensitization or immunotherapy). It’s been proven that one-third of allergy sufferers improve greatly after this is done, as they have been successful in solving or alleviating the problem.
  3. Buy an air conditioner, air cleaner, or humidifier for the home. These help to purify the air and prevent at least 90% of dander. Be sure to do a thorough research on the best product for your home.
  4. Dust and vacuum at least once a week (more if possible). Use special filter in the vacuum (one with HEPA filtration preferably).
  5. Keep animals out of bedroom and in places with washable surfaces.
  6. Brush the animal once a day and put shed hair in a sealed bag. Wipe animal off with a damp towel. Bathe it at least once or twice a month.
  7. Ask vet to recommend product(s) that keep down allergens on the animal.
  8. Feed the animal a pet food with enough fat so that the skin does not dry. Add a teaspoon of oil in its food. [This also puts a shine on a dog’s fur!]
  9. Use unperfumed cat litter and change it as often as possible.
  10. Keep dogs outside in a fenced yard (at least part of the time). It is recommended that cats be kept inside.
  11. Minimize other allergy-causing materials in the house. Cover mattresses and pillows with non-allergenic covers. Avoid down and feathers.