Dealing with Pet Allergies

Happily Living With Pets Despite Allergies

Pets can add so much joy to our lives. Pets offer companionship and fun while encouraging people to live healthier lives. There’s even a lot of research that shows that pets can help decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. For those who live with pet allergies, though, the good things pets bring into our lives can be minimized by the stresses of allergy symptoms. Luckily, there are steps you can take to fully enjoy living with pets despite your pet allergies.

Dealing with Pet Allergies

Knowledge is Power

Gaining a better understanding of what pet allergies are can help you understand how best to deal with them. Many people believe that it is the hair of the pet that people are allergic to. In reality, is is the dander or flakes of dead skin that causes the reaction. People can also be allergic to pet saliva and urine.

It’s a good idea to get tested to find out what you are specifically allergic to. Often, you may be allergic to multiple things in addition to pet dander. Understanding your allergens will help you to minimize exposure. All too often, people will blame pets for their suffering when the pet is not the only cause. Minimizing exposure to other allergens will help reduce suffering.

If you are thinking of getting a new pet, you might want to choose carefully. No cats, including hairless varieties, have been shown to be hypoallergenic. However, some breeds of dogs can cause more allergic reactions than others. Choosing a dog breed with a non-shedding coat can reduce the irritation from allergies.

Cleaning Your Home

A thorough and regular cleaning of the home can go a long way towards minimizing suffering from pet allergies. This should include removing dust, dander, and hair frequently. Cloth items like furniture covers and curtains should be washed regularly. It’s a good idea to purchase a HEPA vacuum cleaner with a micro filter bag to catch as many allergens as possible.

Cleaning Your Pet

Bathing your pet weekly will drastically reduce the amount of allergy-causing dander in your home. Both dogs and cats should have a weekly bath. Cats may not like the practice at first but they will adjust. Always check with your vet to make sure the shampoo you use is safe and a good choice for your pet. You should also always wash your hands after touching the pet.

Keep Pets Out of the Bedroom

It’s very helpful to have an allergy-free room in the house, and the best option for this is the bedroom of the allergy sufferer. Keep the pets out of this room. You should ideally install a HEPA filter in this room. It’s also a good idea to purchase impermeable covers for your mattress and pillows to prevent any allergens you pick up on your body from building up in them.

Treatment

There are several treatment options available for the allergy sufferer. There are ways to treat the symptoms themselves, like antihistamine pills and decongestants as well as steroidal or antihistamine nose sprays. For those with asthma as well as allergies or those whose allergies make it somewhat difficult to breathe, bronchodilators can be helpful. There are also ways to try to treat the allergies directly, like allergy shots, a form of immunotherapy. Immunotherapy will only be able to minimize the allergic response and isn’t a total cure but it can significantly improve the allergy experience.