If you’re like many dog owners, you feel like your pet pooch is a part of the family. But what do you do when your furry family member makes you feel sick all the time?
Living with allergies is no fun, and it affects your life on a day to day basis. If you have a dog and a dog allergy, you need solutions to help you survive the sneezing, itching, and hives.
What do you do to take care of your dog allergies? You’ve come to the right place! Here are several tried-and-true methods for relieving your dog allergies.
Get Rid of the Dog
Wait! Don’t go—hear me out! This is probably the first thing your allergist recommended after she diagnosed your dog allergies, and it’s likely the last thing you plan to do.
While around a quarter of dog-owning allergy sufferers do bid farewell to Fido, the vast majority of people decide to keep their pet.
If you do decide to keep your pet, you’ll have to consider the impact your constant allergies will have on your life.
First, you’ll have to keep a strict regimen of dander-reducing practices in order to make your house livable.
You’ll also have to take medications, and perhaps even shots. Additionally, you’ll risk the development of asthma and the worsening of your allergies.
Even with all this, most dog owners find giving up their dogs unthinkable. However, for some, the daily misery of allergies is too much to handle.
Although giving your dog away is heartbreaking, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that you never see your dog again.
You don’t have to drop him at a shelter! If you find yourself in the position of giving up your dog, you may be able to find a friend or family member who can love him as much as you do, and give you visitation rights, as well.
Restrict the Dog’s Domain
Puppy snuggles on the couch are a wonderful thing, but they’re also a great way to exacerbate your allergies.
If you can’t bring yourself to part with your pet, you can make a big difference for your allergies if you simply restrict the dog’s access to your home.
The best way to do this is to keep the dog outside, but this isn’t realistic for a lot of people, particularly in bad weather or if you have an apartment.
There are, however, ways to keep your dog’s dander to a minimum while still keeping him indoors. Whether you have an older dog or a puppy, start training him to stay off the furniture.
No couch, no bed. Think of it this way: if your dog shares your bed, you’re essentially wrapping yourself in allergies every night.
You can also limit your dog to one floor of your home or to certain rooms. It’s entirely possible to train a dog to stay out of certain rooms, or to stay on the tile and off the carpet.
If you can keep your dog out of your bedroom, you’ll likely see a big difference in your allergy symptoms.
Don’t Touch the Dog Too Much
We all love squeezing our dogs, but if cuddling your pet sets your eyes watering, you may need to keep your distance.
Avoiding too much contact with your dog will keep you from getting pet hair or saliva on your body, which will reduce your chances of getting hives or the sniffles.
This is especially important if you have an allergic reaction to dog saliva. Even if you can’t stop scratching those cute little ears, refrain from kissing your dog—that’s a sure-fire way to set off your allergies!
Reduce the Pet Dander in Your Home
If you are allergic to dog dander, that means that your immune system sees the dander as a threat to your wellbeing.
Although your immune system is only supposed to attack and expel dangerous things that could make you sick (viruses and bacteria), some people suffer from immune systems that target pollen or pet dander.
This is why allergies feel so much like a common cold—your body is offering the same reaction to pet dander as it does to sinus infections.
Pet allergies are caused by dead skin cells, saliva, or urine that your pet leaves behind. While saliva and urine can be allergy triggers, most people are allergic to pet dander, or dead flakes of skin.
The idea of your dog’s dead skin sounds pretty nasty, but even worse is the news that you can’t escape it—ever.
Just about every household in America, as well as every store and public place, contains some level of pet dander. Dander floats in the air and sticks to surfaces, so it travels easily and is hard to remove.
That being said, there are ways you can reduce the pet dander in your home, thus lightening the strain on your poor sinuses.
First, you can purify the air. Pet dander is light, and it floats around your house. If you get an air purifier with a filter, you’ll be able to see just how much dander is in the air!
You’ll also notice a huge change in the air quality of your home.
Secondly, you can vacuum and dust. Be careful with this, because vacuuming does blow particles into the air, so you’ll be filling the air with dander even as you remove it from the carpet.
It’s best not to over-vacuum. If you can replace your carpet with hardwood or tile floors, this would make a world of difference.
Dusting is important, because a lot of the dust you see around your house is actually made of dead skin cells—both yours and your pet’s.
Minimize the curious and clutter around the house to keep dust from getting trapped. Dust also settles into fabric, so tossing your heavy curtains and stowing quilts will reduce the amount of dander you’re exposed to.
Minimize Dander Shedding
While you can’t keep your dog from sprinkling dander everywhere she goes, you can keep that dander to a minimum.
Special pet shampoos can be very effective at reducing dog allergens, although the effectiveness wears off after a couple of days.
Brushing your dog can work wonders, since it removes dander before it falls off on its own! Just remember to do it outside, and with gloves on.
It’s also best to use a dander-trapping brush, like the Furminator.
Another way to minimize dander—and help your pet feel happy and healthy—is to make a point of keeping her skin moisturized.
Using moisturizing products and high-quality dog food will prevent your pup’s skin from drying out, which will make both you more comfortable!
Treat Your Symptoms
Last but not least, you will almost certainly need to treat your allergy symptoms if you live with a both a dog and dog allergies.
There are many ways to do this, from simply dealing with congestion to allergy medications.
You’ll be miserable without the right treatments, so it’s important to see a primary care physician or allergist to help you manage your dog allergies.
The first thing an allergist will do is make sure that you do, indeed, have a dog allergy. Your doctor will perform a skin test to see what exactly is causing your symptoms.
Once your dog allergy is established, the doctor can recommend allergy medications. Many medications, like Benadryl, are available over the counter.
However, if you have severe allergies, your doctor may give you a prescription or even recommend allergy shots, which help your body become resistant to allergens.
In addition to allergy medications, you can deal with your congestion at home. Some allergy sufferers recommend using a Netti pot.
This simple tool looks like Aladdin’s lamp. You fill it with water, tip your head, and pour it into one nostril.
All your congestion will be quickly cleared away! In a pinch, chewing minty gum can make your clogged sinuses a little more bearable.
Finding out that you’re allergic to your dog can be disappointing, but there are many things you can do to help yourself survive pet allergies.
You don’t have to give your dog away to make living manageable. If you take care of your home, your dog, and yourself, you can reduce your allergy symptoms significantly!
Don’t let your dog allergies get in the way of how you want to live your life.