A dog allergy is sadly quite common and many adults and children suffer from this when a new pet moves in to the family home. An allergy is, unfortunately, for life, although the symptoms can sometimes subside over time. Here are some useful tips on how to control and lessen the symptoms of a dog allergy, to allow you to continue to live with your four-legged friend.
Make the bedrooms ‘dog-free zones’ – it is best for anyone with an animal allergy to keep the bedroom free from allergens, animal hair and dander, and the only way to do this is to keep the door shut and keep all animals out. We spend a third of our lives asleep in bed, so it really does give your airways a good rest from those allergens overnight, giving your immune system a chance to recover.
Choose a low-allergenic dog – while no dog is completely non-allergenic, there are certain breeds that produce less dander and therefore less allergens, and these can reduce allergic reactions in some people. The hairless dog breeds (such as the American Hairless Terrier) are also better tolerated by some people.
Feed your dog a high-quality healthy diet – a high-quality diet will help keep your dog’s coat and skin in good condition and lessen the shedding of dry skin cells.
Buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter – this will greatly improve the cleaning-power of your vacuum cleaner as the special filter will reduce the amount of allergens left in a room after vacuuming.
Always wash your hands after petting your dog – make sure you wash your hands after stroking, playing with or grooming your dog and never touch your face, eyes, nose after touching your dog.
Air the house by opening the windows – be sure to open the windows every day to air all those allergens out of the house, bringing in fresh air and giving a lower concentration of dog allergens in your home. Hay fever sufferers will have to take into account seasonal pollen levels and decide if, on certain days, it is best to use an air filter instead.
Buy a HEPA air filter – a HEPA air filter is a high-efficiency particulate air filter and these help to clean the air in a room of dust, smoke and allergens.
Groom your dog outdoors – brush your dog regularly to remove dead skin cells and loose fur that would otherwise be shed inside the house. Wear a face mask to protect yourself from the allergens or, if possible, ask a non-allergic family member to brush your dog for you.
Bath your dog regularly – bathing or showering your dog will help to wash away dander, allergens and the proteins in the saliva that are left on the fur after licking. Use a specially formulated shampoo for dogs for frequent washing to avoiding drying the skin or coat.
Always get professional advice from an allergist to discuss treatment if your symptoms are serious.