You’re an allergy sufferer, or someone in your home is.
But your love for that four-legged, puppy-eyed ball of fluff far outweighs your irritation when your eyes are swollen, and your nose is running.
So, what do you do?
You try your best and thankfully, aside from taking an antihistamine every day, and having a hypoallergenic dog, there are some top tips which can help you to live with a pet when you suffer with pet allergies.
Please be mindful though, if you have very severe allergies, you must weigh up whether it is safe for you to adopt a pet.
Keep Them Out Of The Bedroom!
Whilst some owners like the idea of their dog sleeping with them, if you suffer with allergies it could be worth making the bedroom off-limits.
If they are lying next to you, or have been on your bed all day, you are being exposed to the allergen whilst you sleep.
You’ll get irritated, get watery eyes, have a runny nose, start itching, start sneezing.
No-one is going to get any sleep. A dog free bedroom at least means you’ll get a decent night’s sleep!
Keep Your House Clean… ALWAYS!
We’re not saying you don’t have a clean house, but for allergy sufferers, it pays to spend a little more time getting into every crease and fold of fabric and upholstery.
Dog hair can get everywhere!
Whilst a quick vacuum would usually be enough, for allergy sufferers, spending that extra time in the edges and under sofas or beds will really help keep dander at bay.
Use the dusting accessory on your vacuum as opposed to a duster or microfibre cloth – they just move the hair and dander around; the vacuum accessory will get rid of it.
Invest In A Pet Vacuum
Whilst they are often more expensive, they are worth it. They often come with pet hair accessories which makes it even easier to rid your home of hair and dander.
Most pet vacuums will have specific SEPA filters or seals which trap dust and allergens inside; this is crucial as you don’t want them being thrown straight back into the air that you breathe.
Daily vacuuming can help keep your allergies at bay.
Regularly Wash Everything
Get into the habit of washing your dog’s bed at least once a week. Use standard detergent and let it air dry outside where possible.
Vacuum beds in between washes. If your dog sleeps on human sofas or beds, place throws or blankets over them that you can easily wash (double up so you can still cover the spots whilst the usual blankets are being washed).
Try to keep rugs to a minimum, along with carpeted areas. Hard flooring is much easier to keep clean; you can simply vacuum and mop the allergens away. It takes a little more organisation to regularly clean your carpets and rugs!
If you have a less mobile dog, place easy to wash mats around the home as opposed to thick carpet rugs.
Do They Need Their Own Room?
If your allergies are becoming unmanageable, is it worth limiting your dog’s access to certain parts of the house?
Perhaps you have a lounge with hard-flooring, leather sofas which can all be easily wiped down and cleaned?
Could you spend time with your dog in this room, but other rooms with fabric and upholstery are off-limits to him?
Kitchens, halls and well-planned lounges are usually easy to keep clean, and this would probably be ample space for him to explore?
Use baby-gates to partition areas and you can somewhat limit your exposure to allergens.
Having allergies to dogs whilst living with them can be difficult but not impossible.
The most important thing is to keep your home clean. Regularly wash bedding and blankets and limit your dog’s access to certain rooms if necessary. If you suffer with severe allergies and are struggling to manage them, please seek the advice of a Doctor.
About the Author
John is the founder of All Things Dogs and a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.