We all love our pets like cats and dogs, but it can be hard to show it if you have allergies to them. Thankfully there are many ways to overcome pet allergies.
The goal with pet allergy management is to reduce the amount of cat and dog dander (dead skin cells) in your environment, and also to reduce the effects of allergens on your body. Pet saliva, urine and feces can also be allergy triggers.
Here is a list of 30 remedies that will help you to overcome any cat or dog allergies you may have.
1) Use Antihistamine Allergy Medication
Medicate your allergies with antihistamines, inhalers and/or nasal sprays. See your doctor for a medication recommendation . Histamines are a protection mechanism that the body releases when we come into contact with or breathe in allergens or dangerous bacteria/viruses. A normal body will release just enough histamine to protect the body from the invader. But a person who is allergic to something will have a body that overreacts to an allergen and releases too many histamines causing the allergy symptoms we all know. Antihistamines neutralize excess amounts of histamines in the body.
Remember that you can buy generic antihistamines online which have exactly the same ingredients as the brand names, but are much cheaper.
2) Do a Daily Sinus Rinse
Use a Neti Pot sinus rinse daily to clear your sinuses of any allergens. A Neti Pot is a small pot with a spout that is used for nasal irrigation. Nasal irrigation is the process of running saline water through your sinuses to wash out trapped dirt and allergens. This is one of the best natural ways to reduce the effects of sinus related allergies and after nasal irrigation you will feel clean and refreshed!
3) Take Vitamins C and E, Quercetin and Probiotics
Vitamins C and E
Vitamin C has been found to lower histamines in the body. Histamines are what cause allergies. Vitamin E works to reduce a chemical which causes histamines to be released. Together these vitamins work to significantly reduce the effects of allergens. Often we do not get enough of these vitamins and require supplements to keep us topped off.
Quercetin is a natural substance that can be found in high concentrations black tea and food such as black plums, sweet potato, cranberries, blueberries, red onion, kale, capers, dill, buckwheat and watercress. You can also buy supplements online.
Probiotics are ‘good bacteria’ which your body needs to stay healthy. Numerous studies show that probiotics can help reduce the effect of allergies. Probiotics can be supplemented by eating yoghurt and other supplements.
4) Use Herbal Remedies
For some people antihistamine medication can leave you tired, sleepy and groggy. An alternative to antihistamines are allergy reducing herbal remedies. Combined with vitamin supplements these herbal remedies can be powerful natural allergy remedies.
5) Consider Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
Immunotherapy (also known as allergy shots) is a method to reduce your bodies reaction to a particular allergen. It works by administering increasing amounts of an allergen via an injection into your body. Over time your body will slowly adapt to the increasing amounts of allergen, increasing your tolerance to the allergen.
Immunotherapy is an involved process, initially requiring allergy shots every week for several months. The time between shots will be slowly increased to about once a month, but you will be required to keep receiving the allergy shots for 3-5 years.
Recently there have been studies involving sub-lingual tablets (tablets you dissolve under your tongue) as an alternative to shots which may be the way of the future.
6) Clean with a HEPA Equipped Vacuum Often
A HEPA vacuum is a vacuum cleaner with a special kind of filter called a ‘HEPA filter’. To be able to use the word HEPA, the filter must be able to filter out at least 99.97% of all allergens larger than 0.3 microns.
Most people think that it is pet fur which causes allergies. However, this is not entirely true. It is actually pet dander which causes the greatest allergy trouble. Pet dander is essentially dead skin cells that flake off your cat or dog and fly around in the air.
Pet dander is extremely small – about 5 microns in size. Normal vacuum cleaners will not be able to trap dander, and it will be released back into the air where you will breathe it in! A vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter will be able to filter pet dander and stop it from entering the air.
Pet dander easily accumulates in carpets over time. With pet allergies, vacuuming should be done at least once a week and ideally twice a week or more.
7) Use a Roomba to Vacuum Daily
Your pets constantly shed allergy causing fur and dander every day. It would be great if you could vacuum up the allergens every day with your HEPA equipped vacuum, but most of us don’t have the time for that.
Consider running a robotic Roomba vacuum every day while you are out at work. A Roomba is a robotic vacuum that will automatically vacuum your house. Roomba’s work great in houses with large uncluttered floor spaces, but will struggle in houses with cluttered or multi-level floors.
Roomba’s can also be fitted with HEPA filters, which is ideal for pet allergy sufferers.
8) User a Pet Grooming Attachment on your Vacuum Cleaner
Every time you vacuum, you can also groom your cat and/or dog using a special pet vacuum attachment. This works like brushing your pet, removing loose fur, but also has the added effect of sucking up any loose dander on your pet as well.
Use a low suction setting, and if possible train your cat and/or dog from an early age to enjoy grooming time.
9) Brush your Pet Often
Weekly brushing of your pet can help remove excess fur, dirt and dander. If possible, get someone who does not have pet allergies to do this task as brushing your pet can stir up allergens into the air.
Brushing also helps prevent cats and dogs from getting skin disorders, which can increase the amount of dander that is being shed causing your allergies to worsen.
10) Steam Clean your Carpets Often
Steam cleaning your carpets will destroy pet dander and kill any dust mites present in the carpet. While dust mites are not strictly related to pet allergies, you need to remember that allergens are cumulative. This means that any dust mites in your environment will increase your pet allergy symptoms even more.
Dust mites also enjoy feasting on pet and human dander. So if you have lots of pet dander in your carpets, it is likely that your dust mite population is also high.
11) Wear an Allergy Dust Mask when Cleaning
When cleaning or vacuuming (especially with a non-HEPA equipped vacuum) dust and pet allergens can be disturbed from carpet and surfaces and put back into the air where you can easily breathe them in.
Use a good allergy proof dust mask when cleaning or vacuuming to prevent breathing in any pet allergens.
12) Replace your Carpets with Hard Floors
The best way to avoid pet allergens accumulating in your carpet is of course to remove the carpet entirely! Consider this as a course of action if you can.
Also, try to reduce the amount of fabric curtains in the house as well, instead opting for blinds where possible.
13) Use an Allergen Neutralizing Compound on your Carpet
Of course, not everyone is in a position to remove carpet from their housing. You may be renting, or may just prefer the warmth of a carpet over a cold floor.
There are several allergy remedy products that you can spray on the carpet which will kill any pet allergens on contact. Some products work with steam cleaners, and others such as the Allersearch X-Mite Carpet Cleaner are powders which can be sprinkled on and then vacuumed off after a few minutes.
14) Clean the Walls and Ceilings
Pet dander is known to be sticky and can easily attach itself to the walls and ceilings of a house. Give your walls and ceilings a good wipe down every few months to ensure that the dander surface accumulation doesn’t grow too large.
15) Wash your Bedding and Clothes with Allergen Neutralizing Detergent
Since pet dander is sticky, it can be hard to remove from your clothes and bedding. Recent studies show that hot water at temperatures at or greater than 140 F (60 C) is required to neutralize pet dander and kill dust mites. Washing with only warm water is ineffective at neutralizing allergy causing particles.
If you don’t want to wash at such high temperatures, you can use a special allergen neutralizing laundry powder, like the products from Allersearch. These washing powders are extremely effective at neutralizing all allergens from your clothes and bedding and will do a much better job compared with standard laundry detergents.
16) Make the Bedroom off Limits to your Cat or Dog
It is a good idea to make your bedroom an ‘allergy sanctuary’ by banning all pets from being allowed in. A bed is a great allergen collector and since you spend a large chunk of your life in bed, it is good to keep this area as allergen free as possible.
You can humanely train your pets to keep out of your room using a sonic trainer. This is a device that emits a high pitched noise that only cats and dogs can hear. Train your pet to stay out of your room by using the device every time they try to enter.
Another method is to use an automated spray system. Place this by the door when you are out, and a motion sensor will detect a pet trying to enter and give a quick noisy blast of compressed air.
17) Train your Pets to use a Pet Bed and not your Furniture
It is also good idea to train your pets to stay off upholstered furniture. Upholstery is great at collecting allergens, and sometimes just sitting down on an allergen infested couch can cause an attack in allergy sufferers. Be sure to give you pets a nice bed for them to use though!
Get a pet bed that is machine washable and wash it often with anti-allergen laundry detergent. You can also buy special pet beds such as Dog Gone products which use nanotechnology based material that reduce the amount of dirt and allergens that can collect in a pet bed.
18) Bathe your Pet Once a Week
Bathing your pet once a week will keep their skin clean and healthy, reducing the amount of dander shed. Use an allergen neutralizing shampoo if possible.
If possible get someone who is not allergic to your pet to do this job.
19) Clean your Cat or Dog Daily with Dander Removing Solutions
It would be great if we had the time to bathe our pets daily, but most often we do not. An alternative is to rub your cat and/or dog down with one of the allergy reducing solutions like Allerpet C. These are wash solutions that you rub onto your pet with a damp towel which neutralize any dander on your pet.
20) Clean your Cat or Dog Daily with Dander Removing Wipes
Slightly more convenient than the dander neutralizing liquids from the previous tip are pre-packaged dander reducing pet wipes. Use either this or the pet wash daily to destroy and remove pet dander. The liquids are more cost effective.
21) Use an Anti-Allergen Spray
Use ADMS based anti-allergen sprays on any furniture, curtains, walls and other surfaces that might collect pet allergens. These anti-allergen sprays contain an ingredient that is safe for your pets, but destroys allergens on contact. The spray will continue working to neutralize allergens for up to 3 months.
22) Use a HEPA Air Filter
Running a HEPA air filter will ensure that any allergens that make it into the air will be quickly removed.
When purchasing an air filter be sure to get one that has a HEPA filter, and also ensure you get one with a high CADR and one that is large enough for the room you are going to use it in.
CADR stands for clean air delivery rate and is a value used to compare air filters in terms of their ability to filter pollutants such as dust, smoke and pollen.
23) Cover Air Vents with a Fine Cloth
Whole house ventilation and heating/air conditioning systems can easily disperse pet allergens from one room to another via the ducting.
To stop allergens dispersing, stretch a fine cloth such as a cheesecloth or muslin cloth over vent openings in your house.
24) Wash your Hands
A simple but very important tip is to remember to wash your hands after playing with your animals. Be especially weary of touching your face with unwashed hands as the face is especially sensitive to pet dander.
25) Keep your Pets Skin Healthy with Vitamin Supplements
A cat or dog with healthy skin will shed less fur and dander. Give your pet daily vitamins to ensure their skin and fur coat remains healthy.
Also, certain skin disorders such as dermatitis can cause an abnormal amount of dander shedding in your pet. A healthy pet will be less likely to catch skin disorders. But do monitor your pet for signs of any abnormal skin conditions and take them to the vet should you find any.
26) Use Allergen Proof Bedding Covers
Bedding is a great accumulator of pet dander and fur. If you cannot keep your pets out of the bedroom, you need to take steps to ensure your bed remains as allergen free as possible.
Use allergen proof bed and pillow covers. These covers will prevent any pet dander from penetrating into the inside of your bed or pillows.
27) Keep the Litter Box Clean
Dog and cat urine and feces can also be an allergen to some people. If you use a litter box keep the it in an area that is not visited by humans often, and ensure it is kept clean.
28) Use a Nasal Passage Filter
Protect yourself from breathing in dog and cat allergens by using a nasal passage filter. These are small filters that fit over your nostrils and prevent any allergens from entering your body via breathing.
29) Use Allergen Blocking Nose Gels
Spread these allergen blocking gels around your nose. The gels can help prevent allergens from entering you nasal passage by creating a small positive charge around your nose which will attract negatively charged allergens towards the gel and not your nasal passage.
30) Get a Hypoallergenic Breed of Cat or Dog
Finally, a tip for next time your thinking about buying a pet. There are certain ‘hypoallergenic’ breeds of cats and dogs which shed less fur and dander than other breeds. These breeds are specially bred to help cat and dog lovers who have allergies.
No cat or dog breed is ever going to shed no dander at all, but these breeds can make it easier to manage the avoidance of pet dander.