But what if you could live with pets, all without the daily irritation of allergies?
What if you could keep your pets and get rid of allergy medication?
By making strategic choices on what pets you own and how you maintain your home, you can live with a cat or dog and not suffer from pet allergies.
Why are Dogs and Cats Allergenic?To fully understand pet allergies, you have to understand why pets cause allergies in the first place, and it might not be exactly what you thought. Most people assume that dogs and cats cause pet allergies because of their fur, but this is not the case. Most of the allergies are caused by dander, the tiny skin cells that animals shed.
Hair, however, plays a role, in that is acts like a carrier for pet dander. So, while high-shedding animals may cause dander to be distributed more through the home, it’s actually animals with the most dander that cause more allergies.
If someone is allergic to pet dander, their body’s immune system is essentially programmed to attack pet dander, even if it is not a threat. Allergies are caused by an immune system in overdrive, causing irritation, sneezing, coughing, breathing issues, and more, even when the substance in question is not a real threat.
While dander is the primary culprit, it’s not the only problem with pet allergies. Saliva or simple contact can also cause allergic reactions, making people breakout in rashes if they are licked or scratched by pet.
According to HealthLine, if you have cat or dog allergies, you may experience swelling or itching in the nose and eyes, as well as redness on the skin after being licked. Within 15 minutes of contact with pets, if you have coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing, it may be caused by allergies. A severe asthma attack could also occur if someone has allergies and asthma.
Are There Really Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds?To prevent pet allergies, many people turn to hypoallergenic dogs and cats. This term, however, is somewhat misunderstood. Hypoallergenic means something does not cause allergies or reduces the chances of allergies. Some people assume it means that a hypoallergenic product or animal does not cause any allergies whatsoever, but this is simply not the case. According to the American Kennel Club (ACK), no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic.
Hypoallergenic dog breeds are simply animals that generally shed less dander. This does not, however, guarantee that allergic individuals will have no troubles at all, it simply means that allergic reactions are less likely, and because there is less dander being shed, reactions can also be less severe.
Hypoallergenic dog breeds come in all shapes and sizes. For example, the AKC considers the Afghan hound, a tall, skinny breed with long straight hair, to be hypoallergenic, but they also place the American hairless terrier, a smaller breed which has almost no hair, on the list. They also include the Irish water spaniel, rugged dog that reaches almost 60 pounds, and the Maltese, which usually weighs under 7 pounds, as hypoallergenic breeds.
Other Pet Choices for Reducing AllergiesIf you can’t imagine life without pets but can’t stay in a home with dogs and cats, you can consider a few alternatives. You may not be able to take these pets for a walk in the park, but at least you’ll have a furry (or scaly) companion at home, as well as a unique conversation starter when guests arrive!
One of the most popular hypoallergenic pets is a guinea pig. These pets are easy to care for, great with children, and, quite frankly, darn cute! Because the animals are smaller, they shed less dander, and because they usually stay in a cage, as opposed to roaming about the house, the dander they do shed stays in one area.
Other small mammals that are great for homes with allergy sufferers include gerbils and hamsters. Rabbits are another animal that is cute, furry, and generally causes less allergies than many other pets.
Fish are a good choice because they do not release anything into the air, and birds can be less allergenic that our furry friends. Although, birds can give off feather dust which can trigger allergens.
If you really want to be outrageous, you could also consider bringing home a pig or a snake, both of which are interesting, clean, and less allergenic than most cats and dogs.
Tips for Keeping Your Pets While Reducing DanderIf you simply have to live with a dog or cat, then to control pet dander you need to make sure that the home is properly cared for and cleaned. Vacuuming is one of the most important parts of keeping dander levels low, but you should also dust regularly with a damp rag to ensure dander is trapped and removed. This will not only remove allergens, it will help you have a clean home that makes you proud.
If you or a family member have pet allergies, you need to limit the exposure to dander, so make sure that the allergy sufferer’s bedroom is off limits to the pets. This will create a haven for the allergic person, allowing them to reduce the amount of allergens they inhale on a regular basis.
Bathing can also be important for reducing the amount of dander that is released. By bathing the pet, you wash away many of the skin cells that create problems. Weekly washing is likely enough to reduce the overall amount of dander in the home.
The best air purifiers for allergies help remove many of the airborne dander particles from the air, creating a cleaner space for you and your family. With HEPA filters and activated carbon, air purifiers can trap many of the smallest particles found in the air, which means you and your family will have a space with less dander, dust, pollen, and other harmful allergens.