Are you a dog owner who is allergic to dogs? If the mere thought of dogs makes you feel itchy, you are not alone. Many dog owners with allergies either own dogs or want to own dogs. Don't give up your loved pets or immediately write off ever having the chance to own a dog of your own. Here's how to live with dogs when you are allergic to dogs:
- Visit an allergist. If you do not yet own a dog, this should be your first step, before you even begin looking for one. Anti-histamine medications are available for minor pet allergies. Ask for help getting a handle on your pet allergies, if possible before bringing a pet into your home.
- Get air filters. Even if your allergies were not related to pets, air filters are essential to any household with allergic residents.
- Consider removing carpeting. This can be a big undertaking, so weigh the benefits against the effort. Carpeting contains one of the biggest allergen collections in your home. With a pet, this effect will be amplified.
- Choose any breed. Though some breeds are touted as "hypoallergenic," there is no true non-allergenic dog. People with allergies can actually live with any dog breed, as well as mixed breed dogs such as those from a shelter. You can be allergic to dog dander, dog saliva, or even dog urine; a different breed of dog will stop these allergies. Some dogs are said to produce less dander than others, but there are no guarantees that choosing a specific breed of dog will reduce your allergy symptoms. Consider borrowing a friend's dog for a week to see how your allergies will react to having a dog in your home.
- Create a dog-free zone. Train your dog to stay out of your room or off your bed, if possible, to allow you to get a good night of sleep without worrying about allergies. It's important to have one room in your house where you can breathe easier.
- Stay on top of pet hair. Brush your dog daily, especially during the shedding season. If possible, have a non-allergic family member do this task. If not, do it in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors. Vacuum regularly to catch fallen pet hair.
- Wash the dog regularly. Even rinsing the dog in plain water can reduce allergens. Dust, pollen, dirt, and dander all contribute to pet allergies, and can get trapped in your dog's coat.
- Clean blankets and bedding. Regularly wash in hot water all sheets and bedding that may have come in contact with your pet. If you have decided to keep the carpeting, steam clean them frequently. Washing the walls and floors of your house can also help remove dander that may have been deposited there. Thorough cleaning of your home is especially important when you have pets.
Thousands of animal lovers are allergic to their pets, but they won't let it stop them from owning dogs. Although you may still feel your allergies flare up from time to time, this method can keep your allergies under control so that you and your dog can both be happy.