Dealing with Allergies and Pets
Many pet owners know people who stay away from animals like the plague because of allergies. This is also a concern among many parents of children with asthma. You may even be one of those people! Studies in America have shown that 10 percent of the population are allergic to pets (this includes dogs, cats, birds, gerbils, rodents, hamsters, etc.) and the number is quickly rising – especially in children. Not only is asthma on the rise all over the world but more and more people are taking in animals as house pets. Unfortunately, there are many who love animals but fear the risk of allergic reactions that bonding with these furry friends may cause.
People often believe that allergic reactions to animals are a result of the animal’s hair or fur. But the truth is they are really reacting to pieces of shed skin called dander and saliva from the animal. It is also good to remember that other factors may also be contributing to allergies so taking care of those may also help when dealing with reactions to animals.
Here are a few healthy tips to consider if you have allergies, your child has asthma or you know someone who does and you can’t bring yourself to let your pet go.
What To Look For
- A place to keep your pet that is not in a high-traffic area of those who may be allergic or asthmatic.
- Dust build-up in your pet’s high-traffic areas (especially where they sleep).
- Hypo-allergenic mattress and pillow covers to keep dust and dander down.
- Carpeting that may contain dust-mites and/or dander from your animal.
- Allergic reactions such as runny noses, sneezing, difficulty breathing, itchy skin, etc. after petting or playing with an animal.
- Other asthma/allergy triggers in the home that may contribute to allergic reactions such as carpets, bedding, dusty furniture, air humidity, etc.
- Do not allow your pet in the bedrooms if he/she causes allergic reactions. In fact, you may want to keep your pet outside as much as possible.
- For dogs: bathe weekly and groom often (outdoors if possible). Even rinsing your dog down with water will help remove dander.
- Remove carpeting wherever possible since it can harbor dust mites and dander.
- Keep your pet’s environment clean and take extra care to remove dust and dirty bedding around their sleeping areas.
- Wash bedding, curtains, pillows and covers regularly with hot water. This also kills dust mites and any dander that may be present.
- Vacuum carpeting frequently.
- Damp-mop hard surface floors weekly.
- Wash your hands after petting or playing with your pet.
- Look for other allergen “triggers” around your home that may contribute to your allergies or asthma symptoms.