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Published On: Wed, May 3rd, 2017

5 Tips to Rapidly Relieve a Dog Allergy

Does your nose start running when you play with a dog? Or do your eyes get itchy after vacuuming your pet’s hair? If so, you could be suffering from a dog allergy.

Considering around 36% of homes in the United States own a dog – this isn’t good news! And if you own a dog yourself, it might seem impossible to escape the sneezing, itching and rashes.

But what causes a dog allergy? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not fur or hair. Instead, the reaction is a response to pet dander – which is a more pleasant name for dead skin. Some people are also allergic to a dog’s saliva.

Public domain image/C. E. Price

Fortunately, you probably don’t need to give up your beloved pet to relieve allergies. Instead, here are five tips you can use to minimize allergens in your home.

  1. 1. Install HEPA Air Filters

The air in your home might look empty, but it contains thousands of dust particles, flakes of skin and even dust mites. A regular air filter removes most of these, but most are unable to get rid of the smallest particles.

That’s why you should consider installing HEPA filters throughout your home. These are much more effective at removing small particles from the air.

Good ventilation is also important. In the summer months, keep your windows open (as long as you’re not allergic to pollen ). Also try to keep your dog outside whenever possible.

  1. 2. Get Rid of Rugs, Carpets and Heavy Curtains

Rugs and carpets can trap large amounts of pet dander. Whenever the fibers are agitated, such as when you walk on them, allergens are released into the air. So if your dog is kept in a room with a carpet, it’s a good idea to replace it with hard floors.

If you don’t want to remove your carpet, make sure you vacuum as often as possible – ideally on a daily basis. You can also use a steam cleaner to dig deeper into carpets.

  1. Buy a Vacuum With a HEPA Filter

Most vacuums are fitted with a standard filter. These trap larger allergens, but allow smaller particles to escape. This means many vacuums simply pick up pet dander from carpets and then pump it throughout your home – not good!

Vacuums with a HEPA filter, on the other hand, trap over 99.97% of particles with a size of 0.3 micro-meters. If you suffer from a dog allergy, a HEPA vacuum is an essential purchase. The exception is if you’re buying a cordless vacuum. In this case, you’ll probably need to settle for an effective whole-vacuum filter.

  1. Create “Dog-Free” Zones

As a dog lover, it might seem unfair to restrict your pet to certain areas of the house. This is an effective way of reducing allergy symptoms though. At the very least, keep your dog away from your bedroom. Mattresses and bedding are ideal traps for pet dander – and you spend more time in bed than almost anywhere else in the house.

  1. Give Your Dog Weekly Baths

By giving your dog a thorough bath each week, you may be able to reduce the number of dead skin cells that would otherwise be released in the home. This can be time consuming, but can get rid of up to 85% of pet dander. Make sure you use dog shampoo and aim to wash your pet for at least five minutes to achieve these results.

Bonus Tip: Are There Allergy-Free Dogs?

There are many breeds marketed as “hypoallergenic.” Common examples include certain types of terrier, maltese and poodles.

Unfortunately, while these dogs might shed less hair, they are not allergy-free. In fact, a study from 2011 showed that homes with supposedly hypoallergenic dogs contained the same amount of allergens as regular breeds. Hypoallergenic dogs are great if you don’t want pet hair covering your floors and furniture, but they probably don’t make much difference to allergies.

Summary

An allergy to pet dander can make living with a dog difficult – but you don’t need to give your pooch away. By filtering the air for allergens, removing carpets and rugs and restricting your dog to certain areas of the house, you can quickly relieve allergies and start enjoying your pet again.

Author: James Hall

Photo/Femke Jenkins Photography

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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