Finding out about an allergy after adopting a new friend is one of the worst feelings a pet parent can experience. However, an allergy might not spell the end of this treasured relationship. Though a doctor may advise that you find a new home for your companion, understanding the root of your allergy may significantly improve your situation. There are many ways to increase the chances that you can coexist with your allergen-producing friend.
Allergy-causing substances are found in animals’ hair, dander, urine, saliva, and feces. Additionally, these substances are carried on clothes and can be embedded in carpets and furniture for months—a study conducted by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that dog and cat allergens are detectable in 100% of United States homes.
Medication is one of the best and most-advised solutions. New medication can make living with your allergies more comfortable, and a wide range of nasal sprays, decongestants, and antihistamines can be used to target your symptoms. Pet parents may also want to consider immunotherapy, which consists of a series of shots given over time. These work to desensitize the individual to allergens, providing a long-term solution. Consulting an allergist is the best way to figure out what works for you.
Additionally, you can work to decrease the number of allergens that stick around your house. Inexpensive vinyl casing for mattresses and box springs can minimize allergens in the bedroom, and minimizing your upholstered furniture is a great way to ensure dander doesn’t stick around. If you have the will and resources, replacing your carpeted floors with hardwood or linoleum is another great step toward an allergen-reduced home.
Smaller, daily actions can also help your situation. Always wash our hands after petting your animal, groom and bathe the pet weekly, and clean the litterbox as often as possible. Finally, investing in a good vacuum (high-efficiency particulate air is best) will help capture the small particles of allergens that conventional vacuums cannot.