Coping with Pet Allergies
- 5 September 2012
Sneezing fits and streaming eyes – allergies can make a pet-friendly home unbearable. If trading your furry friend in for a goldfish just isn’t an option, try some of these simple tips for making your house a more allergy-compatible zone.
Cats v. Dogs
Generally speaking, cats tend to produce more allergens than dogs – meaning the reaction-inclined will usually experience more severe symptoms around felines. Kittens are even more problematic than adult cats, with the amount of dander produced declining with age.
If you are allergic to dogs, you may find smaller, short-haired breeds less irritating than larger, shaggier breeds – although really this is determined by the amount of hair they shed rather than the amount they have.
Studies have shown that washing your pet with allergen-reducing shampoo can significantly lessen the dander they leave around the home, although this needs to be done up to twice a week for maximum effect.
Pets may need more frequent washing during summer or after spending time in grassy areas, as their hair can carry pollen and other allergens into the home. Lastly, perform all brushing and trimming outside to avoid excess shedding indoors.
Around the House
Carpet traps far more dander than tiled or wooden floors. Likewise, upholstery such as couches, curtains and rugs will cling onto allergens more so than other surfaces. Regularly washing soft furnishings and vacuuming carpet helps, but it is best to do so well in advance of an allergy sufferer entering the house to let dust and dander settle.
Keeping the cat or dog outdoors during the day is helpful for some, as is restricting pets to certain rooms. Remember that air pollution can increase the effect of allergens, as dander hitches on to the likes of cigarette smoke and circulates throughout the house more than it otherwise would.