It is estimated that as much as 15% of the population are allergic to dogs. Yet, many still keep pets in their homes. If you are one of the thousands of pet owners that find living with your dog getting harder and harder to handle sue to chronic running nose, sneezing and other symptoms, then it’s time you learned how to better manage your dog allergies. The first step is learning how to groom your pet.
Here are a few basic tips to get you started:
-Wear a dust-filtering mask when bathing and brushing your dog. Wearing gloves can also help curb symptoms. And always wash your hands and arms immediately after contact (even if you’re just petting your dog).
-Comb or brush your pet outdoors whenever possible. Do it on a hard wooden or linoleum floor indoors. It’ll be easier to sweep afterwards.
-After close exposure to a pet in someone else’s home, shower as soon as possible and change your clothing.
-If you are also allergic to pollens found outside, always brush your dog after playing outdoors or going for a walk to help get rid of extra allergens your pet may bring in on its coat.
-Bathing pets weekly can reduce the level of allergens on fur by as much as 84%, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Use a mild soap so as not to irritate your dogs skin from so much cleaning.
-Between baths rub down the pet with a damp paper towel or special allergy wipes now available.
Keeping your dog clean may not be enough to keep your allergies at bay. If symptoms persist, you may have to add a few new household duties to your cleaning regiment:
-Dust frequently, using damp cloths.
-Vacuum using HEPA/micro filters or double bags.
-Operate the furnace or central air conditioning fan continuously for at least two hours after vacuuming.
-Clean areas where the pet sleeps, plays and eats twice a week.
-Wash pet bedding frequently in hot water.
-Clean pet toys often.
Some other tips that may help alleviate allergic reactions in people sensitive to dog dander:
-Keep all bedrooms pet free zones to eliminate dog dander where they sleep.
-Keep pets off of beds and furniture.
-Avoid heavy drapery – they trap allergens. Use lightweight curtains and shades instead.
-Install an air filtration system in your home. Even small portable units can be helpful.
-Change air filters regularly.
-Place filters on air ducts.
-Replace carpeting with tile, wood, vinyl or other hard flooring.
-Putting doggie sweaters and similar clothing on a dog can help control the release of dander, and reduce shedding.
It can be hard to give up a loving pet, especially one who has been a part of your family for a while. But, if after trying these tips (and those recommended by your physician), doesn’t help alleviate symptoms for you or someone in your household, it may be time to consider an alternative.