Even though you have an allergy to your dog, you can probably live comfortably with your pet if you follow some of these 15 tips. But first, let’s note the common symptoms of an allergy to a dog and what causes these troublesome reactions.
Allergies to dogs are triggered when your immune system overreacts to the proteins in the saliva, dander, or urine of your pet. Typical signs are a rash on your face, neck, or chest; skin that turns red after contact with a dog; and shortness of breath or coughing within 15 to 30 minutes after being around a dog.
Other signs are swelling or itching around the eyes and nose after such exposure, or a severe asthma attack if you have pre-existing asthma. Perhaps the reason you know that you have a dog allergy is that you’ve seen an allergist.
If you haven’t seen one, do so because, though your dog can be the cause of your allergy, remember that allergens from other sources can be responsible too. Your immune system can also be sensitive to mold, dust mites, and pollen. Ask an allergist for a pet-dander test, and take other tests the physician suggests after evaluating you.
- Keep your pet out of your bedroom. Do this so you can have a good night’s rest. You can choose other rooms that are off-limits to your dog too.
- Avoid drapes, curtains, and other furnishings made of heavy materials that can’t be washed or steam-cleaned regularly. Try not to use carpets. Blinds are a possible choice for windows. Wooden furniture or leather furniture is better than upholstered pieces. And, if furniture must be upholstered, select cotton over other fabrics.
- Vacuum frequently with a HEPA filter or a vacuum with an electrostatic bag that’s disposable. Other bags permit allergens to blow back out of the vacuum. Some vacuums are even specially made to handle pet hair.
- Dust regularly.
- Control dog dander with an air purifier with a HEPA filter because pet dander and other impurities can remain airborne for a long time.
- Play with your dog only when you’re wearing a special set of clothes that are just for that occasion.
- Cut down on and clean up pet-urine accidents. Even after the urine is dry, allergens in it can stick around for a while.
- Cover furniture with a piece of washable fabric before your dog gets on it.
- If you live where it’s warm, think about keeping your dog outside in a dog house.
- Have someone else bathe your pet weekly with a non-irritating shampoo that’s recommended by your vet.
- Ask your dog’s vet to suggest a product for wiping your dog’s coat to fight dander and prevent its buildup. Make sure it’s safe if your dog grooms by licking.
- Brush your dog or have it brushed regularly, preferably outdoors.
- Buy a dog bed with a removable, washable cover.
- Ask an allergist to recommend a room spray for allergens. Medical interventions your doctor may recommend for you include nose sprays, injections, or pills.
- Wash your hands after touching your dog, and do so before touching your face.
With a little planning, living at home with a dog allergy can get better. Physicians and veterinarians can offer good advice too. Go ahead. Get ready to enjoy a better life with your pet.