Dealing with Dog Allergies in People
By Arlo the Hound with help from Honor Tarpenning
Many people are allergic to dog dander, a combination of dead skin cells and hair. Others are allergic to dust mites who are too small to see without a microscope and feed on dead skin cells. The following advice will help allergy sufferers feel better and still be able to keep their pets.
No Dogs in the Bedroom
The bedroom is where humans spend one third to one half of their time. Bedding and mattresses are also a perfect trap for dust mites and dander. Keep bedroom doors closed during the day and teach your dog that he is not allowed in the allergy sufferer’s room
Allergy sufferers should wash their hands thoroughly immediately after petting a dog. They should avoid touching their faces until doing so.
Wood Floors Only
Teach your dog that the only places he can go in the house are the uncarpeted areas. This may seem difficult, but it is no harder than training your dog to Place
Dust, Dust, Dust
Dust as often as possible, but throw out that feather duster; all it does is move allergens around. Pick a duster that traps particles or just use a damp rag or paper towel so you’re actually collecting the dust.
Not all Vacuums are Created Equal
Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Vacuuming without one often just stirs up dust and dander that has settled deep in carpet fibers. Also, vacuum when the person with allergies is not home or, if you are the one with the allergies, wear a dust mask and take a hot shower after.
A study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology states that dogs had approximately 85% less dander after a five minute bath with an allergen-reducing shampoo. These results are shown to last on an average of about three days.
Wipe your dog down daily with allergen reducing wipes. These wipes, along with brushing, should keep dander under control between baths. It is also a nice time to bond with your dog.
Brush That Dog
Someone who does not suffer from allergies should brush the dog outdoors daily. A FURminator brush cuts down on shedding more than any other brush on the market and it should last for the life of your dog.
If You Insist on Carpeting
Choose a carpet with a low pile so less dander gets trapped in the fibers. Frequent steam cleaning reduces allergens considerably. Throw rugs are even better than carpeting because you can wash them in hot water.
A significant amount of dander and other allergens float through your ducting. According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, you can “cover bedroom vents with dense filtering material like cheesecloth” to help control the problem.
Also according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America “adding an air cleaner with a HEPA filter to central heating and air conditioning can help remove pet allergens from the air. The air cleaner should be used at least four hours per day. Another type of air cleaner that has an electrostatic filter will remove particles the size of animal allergens from the air. No air cleaner or filter will remove allergens stuck to surfaces, though.”
High humidity encourages dust mites which feed on animal dander and cause allergies. Keeping the humidity in your home low will help make your home less hospitable to these critters.