If you suffer from allergies and are considering a first-time pet, there are some breeds of dogs and cats that are less apt to irritate allergies. Among dogs they are: poodles, terriers, Portuguese water dogs, Irish water spaniels and American water spaniels. Among cats, the Rex and many of the shorthair breeds tend to be less allergenic.
WHAT YOU CAN DO IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A PET.
Recently a study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that kids who spend the first year of their lives with a dog have a marked reduction in allergy risk. The study team believes that dogs somehow “pump up” the immune system.
But what if you already have one or more furballs in your household, and you or some other family member suffers from the discomforts caused by pet-related allergies? Take heart — there are steps you can take in your home to minimize or possibly eliminate the allergic effects:
1. Vacuum your home daily using a Hepa filter, particularly the areas where your pets spend a lot of time in order to remove the pet hair and dander.
2. Wash your bedding and the bedding of your pet frequently.
3. If possible, replace curtains and drapes with blinds or shades. Heavy cloth drapes tend to attract and hold dander and pet hair.
4. The same holds true for carpets. Tile and wood floors are a good alternative.
5. Same for cloth or upholstered furniture. Leather or synthetic-leather look sofas and chairs are good alternatives.
I know what you’re thinking,”Warren, I love my pet but I can’t afford to redecorate my home!” Well, there are other steps you can take with your pet that can make a difference, too:
1. Using the proper coat conditioner and shampoo can help reduce the shedding and dander. Do not, however, over-bathe your pet. Contrary to popular belief, bathing your pet too often can actually dry out his skin and coat – actually increasing the dander your pet produces.
2. Have other non-allergic members of the family brush your pet regularly. This will remove loose hair and dander. Recently, ‘pet wipes’ have appeared on the market to help remove loose hair and dander.
3. Proper diet can go a long way towards reducing shedding and dander — especially if your pet’s coat and skin are dry. There are dietary supplements made specifically for pet that can help put natural oils back into your pet’s coat.
In addition to hair and dander, many people who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to the cat’s saliva and the way cats constantly groom themselves could create a major problem.
In the past, many allergy suffers were advised or forced to give up their beloved pets. But by following the steps I outline along with your physician’s advice, your & your loved ones won’t have to miss out on the joys and rewards of being owned by a pet.