Dog hair allergies are an increasingly common problem in America and the rest of the world. Recent studies have shown that dog allergies affect nearly 18 illiomn Americans. While dog hair doesn't directly cause infections, people suffering from pet allergies must be aware that dogs can carry a huge number of airborne contaminants. Read this article for more information about dog hair allergies and for some tips on handling hair and dog dander.
Keep your pet outside.
Dogs are just like any other member of the family — they're fun, loveable and full of life. Unfortunately, they can also cause problems for people with allergies.
Dog hair allergies are surprisingly common, but that doesn't mean you have to give up your furry friend. There are plenty of ways to coexist peacefully with your pooch, even if you have an allergy to dogs. Here are six simple tips for handling dog hair allergies:
Keep your pet outside. This might sound hard-hearted, but it's really the best way to avoid allergic reactions. If you have a backyard and a doghouse, keeping your pet outside is the easiest way to prevent allergic reactions.
Keep your dog out of certain rooms. If keeping your dog outside isn't an option, confine them to one or two rooms where you spend most of your time — such as the living room or bedroom. You can always close the doors to these rooms when you're not in them, too. Then bathe or groom your dog regularly (more on that below).
Brush and bathe your dog regularly. Brushing and bathing helps keep pet dander down, which is another major allergen for people with allergies.
Use an air purifier.
If your dog's hair or dander (dead skin) is causing you to have allergic reactions, there are several things you can do to minimize the effect it has on you.
Use an air purifier. An air purifier will help remove dust, pollen, and animal dander from the air. Putting one in your bedroom and running it at night will help you breathe easier while you sleep. In addition to an air purifier, use a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to keep all that hair and dander off the floor and out of the carpet.
Keep your dog off your bed and out of the bedroom when possible. Your bedroom should be a refuge where you can relax and not worry about allergies. If this is not possible, wash your bedding frequently in hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill dust mites that can aggravate allergies.
Vacuum regularly. Vacuuming often will help you stay ahead of the shedding problem. You'll need to vacuum your rugs and carpets, as well as your furniture and pet beds at least once a week. If you have hardwood floors or another type of hard surface flooring, you'll need to sweep them regularly as well. Consider using a wet mop to pick up pet hair from hardwood floors and other hard surfaces since this will help more hairs stick to the mop head.
Groom your pet regularly.
Pet allergies can develop at any time in a person's life. So if you're getting a new puppy or kitten, don't assume that you'll be immune to an allergic reaction. You might not experience symptoms when you first get your pet, but as it grows older and its fur becomes thicker, it could start causing problems.
The best way to prevent pet allergies is to keep your home as free of pet hair as possible. Here are some ways you can do this:
Groom your pet regularly. This helps remove dead hair that could otherwise get stuck on your furniture, clothes and carpets. Your pet will also shed less if you keep its fur short with regular trims and washes.
Keep your pet outside whenever possible. This is especially important during the warmer months when you have the doors and windows open. While it's nice to let your dog or cat roam the house freely, doing so increases the risk of dander spreading around the house. It's better to restrict them to one part of the house or keep them outdoors in a fenced-in yard or on a balcony.
Vacuum frequently — ideally once or twice per week. Make sure you use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter, which traps dust and dander.
Wash your pet often.
The main job of a dog's coat is to protect it from the elements. For example, a double-coated dog's top coat keeps water and dirt off, while its undercoat absorbs moisture and acts as insulation. Dog, cat and small pet skin is much like human skin — an organ that needs to be taken care of to avoid serious health problems.
You can help keep your pet's skin healthy by using the best pet shampoo for dry or itchy skin or by following these simple tips:
Wash your pet often. A dirty coat can irritate the skin and cause additional itching. It also might mask symptoms of other health issues. To keep your pet clean and healthy, you should bathe dogs at least once every three months and cats once every six to eight weeks.
Brush your pet daily. Brushing distributes your pet's natural oils throughout his coat, which helps keep his skin healthy and moisturized. Daily brushing also removes loose fur, dirt and debris from his coat before they irritate his delicate skin or cause mats and tangles that are hard to remove later on.
Try a pet conditioner or moisturizing rinse instead of soap, if necessary.
Use HEPA filters.
Dog allergies may not seem like a big deal, but for some of us, it's a huge problem we have to deal with. The fact that most people don't think about this at all is mind boggling.
While the causes of dog allergies are still unknown, the major allergens are believed to be dander (respiratory particles), saliva, urine and fur. Unfortunately, these particles can settle on almost anything, including your furniture and even your clothes. If you're smart about it, you can avoid pet allergens in most cases.
The best way to keep your home free of allergens is to use an air purifier equipped with HEPA filters. These are designed to reduce microscopic particles from being inhaled into the lungs. These filters can help protect you from inhaling pet dander, pollen and other solid particulates as well.
If you have allergies, work with your vet to find the best advice for dealing with dog hair allergies in your home.
You may need to have the dog bathed and groomed regularly, invest in a vacuum cleaner or air purifier that removes pet dander from the air, or wash your hands thoroughly after petting your furry friend.