Archive for April 9th, 2014


Controlling pet allergens in your home

Many of us face a dilemma every day. We may be a dog or cat lover, but also have allergies. This can make people miserable.

Pet dander is a combination of dead skin cells and hair that can trigger allergic reaction and even asthma attacks in people sensitive to the allergens. The highest sensitivity is to cats, but dogs, rodents and even birds can trigger sensitivities in pet owners that may necessitate them finding a new home for their pets.

If you are facing that situation, there are some things you can do to minimize pet allergens in your home.

Keep pets out of the bedroom

If you or your children are allergic to dander, it is important to keep the pet out of the bedroom. Adults spend nearly 1/3 of their day in the bedroom; children spend almost half. It is essential to keep allergens out of the bedroom. Using allergen-resistant bedding will help minimize contact to any dander that makes its way into the bedroom.

Keep pets off the upholstery

This includes carpets, furniture and even your vehicles. Anything they do come in contact with should be vacuumed or washed frequently, including throw rugs, blankets, cushions, pillows and pet beds.

Clean often

Replacing wall-to-wall carpets with wood floors makes it easier to remove pet dander. If that’s not possible, vacuuming and dusting as often as possible will keep dander to a minimum. Vacuuming may not get all the allergens from the lower levels of a rug and may actually stir up dander as you clean. Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. It’s also a good idea to dust or vacuum when the person with allergies or asthma is not at home.

Close registers

Try replacing the filter in your furnace or air conditioner with a HEPA filter. You may also want to close the register, at least in the rooms where the person with allergies spends the most time, especially the bedroom.

Give your pet frequent baths

After a five-minute bath, dogs’ allergen levels were reduced by 85%. However, levels return to normal after three days, which suggests that dogs need to be washed at least twice a week.

Clean cages once a week

Because pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds are usually confined to cages, they tend to be less problematic. However, dander and urine can still provoke allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Bird and rodent cages should be cleaned at least once a week and, if possible, the cages should be moved outside to a garage or shed.

Minimize contact

You can reduce dander in your home by keeping pets outside as much as possible. Children with allergies, in particular, should also avoid petting or touching them.

Finally, you have to weigh the pros and cons of having pets if you or a family member have allergic reactions to dander produced by the pet. If the problem persists or becomes too severe, it may be necessary to find the pet a new home.