How to Live with Allergies and Your Pets

There is nothing worse than bringing your new pet home only to find out you or a family member is allergic to him or her.  If the symptoms are mild such as itchy eyes, stuffy or runny nose and not severe allergic reactions that are cause for immediate medical treatment, then don’t give up!  There may be some simple steps you can take for you and your pet to live together in harmony.

First you should consult a doctor to be sure your symptoms are caused by your pet. Sometimes pollen and other allergens may attach themselves to your pet’s fur when they are outside. About 15% of our population is allergic to animals. The cause of most pet allergies is from proteins found in your pet’s saliva, urine or flakes from the animal’s skin called dander.

Second reduce the allergens in your home by following these few simple steps:

  1. Create an “allergy free” zone in your home. If you have more than one story, limit your pet to one floor. Do not allow your pet in the bedroom and keep the door closed.
  2. Use HEPA air cleaners throughout your home. Avoid home furnishings such as cloth curtains, blinds and carpeted floors. Wash your pillows, curtains and couch covers often. Also wash your pets bed or crate and toys.
  3. Bathe your pet weekly. Be sure to use the recommended shampoo for your animal.

Third, you might want to try a treatment for allergies. Please consult an allergist first. It is important for you to find a doctor who understands your commitment and love for your pet.

While there are some dogs and cats that claim to be hypoallergenic, there is no breed that is truly hypoallergenic. They just might shed less.

With a little work you can learn to live with your pets and still be healthy and happy. In many cases, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies.