Tips For Living With A Pet That Aggravates Your Allergy Symptoms
If you suspect you're allergic to the family pet, you may face the agonizing decision of whether or not you can keep the animal. This is a difficult choice if your kids are attached to the dog or cat. If the pet is considered part of the family, you may decide to put up with your allergy symptoms so he or she can stay with you for life. Even if you are allergic to pet dander, it may be possible to live in the same house with your fur baby. Here are some suggestions to try.
Get An Allergy Test
The first thing to try is testing. Visit an allergist to find out for sure what causes your symptoms. While you think it could be your dog or cat, it's possible the cause could be something else. There might be mold in the home that makes you sneeze every time you come home. Also, you might be allergic to pollen instead. If your dog or cat spends a lot of time outdoors, he or she might have pollen embedded in the fur that triggers your symptoms when you get close to your pet. Once you've been tested, you'll know for sure if your pet is the source of your problems. If so, you can discuss allergy treatments with your doctor and implement lifestyle changes that may help.
Make Your Bedroom A Pet Free Zone
You spend a lot of time in your bedroom, so you should make it an allergy-free zone. This may be hard at first if your pet is used to sleeping at the foot of your bed. However, with allergens out of the room, you'll breathe better and sleep better too. Keep the door shut so your pet can't wander into your room during the day or night. Run an air purifier to filter out dander and pet hair that might float in under the door. Keep the room free from clutter so it is quick and easy to clean. Dust and vacuum the room frequently so any hair and dander that gets inside the room don't have time to build up.
Keep Pet Hairs Off Upholstery And Carpet
If you have carpet in your whole house, you may want to think about pulling it up and putting in wood or vinyl floors instead. Carpet holds onto pet hairs and dander while other floors are easy to keep clean with a daily damp mop. If you just have carpet in the living room, you may want to put up a pet gate to keep your dog or cat out of the room and off the carpet. Use pet covers for your furniture to keep dander out of the upholstery on the couch and chairs. The pet covers can be vacuumed daily and washed weekly to keep them free from allergens. Also, consider your drapes. Cats and dogs like to hide behind them or snuggle in them if they touch the floor. Hang shorter curtains or pin them up so your pets can't reach them or they will collect pet hair like a magnet.
Keep Your Pet's Bedding Clean
Buy a dog or cat bed and teach your pet to sleep in it rather than lounge on your couch or chair. This helps keep hairs confined to one area. You can wash the bed and blankets regularly to get rid of dander, hair, pollen, and other allergens your pet may harbor. If your dog is still young, you may be able to train him or her to sleep in a crate. Whether you have a crate or a pet bed, you can train your pet to spend most of the time in his or her own special place, which makes your pet feel secure and also prevents the spread of allergens all throughout your home. This makes it much easier to clean your home to keep it free from allergens that aggravate your symptoms.
Unless your allergy is severe, you can probably co-exist with a beloved pet as long as you take steps to keep hair and dander under control. While you may miss snuggling with your fur baby when you sleep at night, it's worth the sacrifice if it means you won't have to get rid of your pet. If your allergy is bad enough, you may not have any choice but to find another home for your pet. However, you may want to work with your allergist first and try medications or allergy shots that will manage your symptoms well enough you can live in the same home with an animal that makes you sneeze.