Allergies to dogs, cats, and other furry household critters are extremely common. While your allergist probably recommends that you get rid of your pets, many owners are unwilling to do so because of the close bond that they have with them. So, many pet owners are left asking if there’s any way to make a dog or cat less likely to trigger allergic symptoms. Thankfully, the answer to this question is yes.
First of all, while there is no truly hypoallergenic breed of dog or cat, there are a few things to be aware of if you are selecting a new pet:
- Avoid animals with known skin problems. The increased self-grooming, flaking, and shedding that are part of many canine and feline skin diseases will probably make your allergies worse.
- Test your reaction to a potential new pet. Within a particular group of dogs (regardless of breed) your reaction to different individuals will differ greatly. If after a brief snuggle you are a sneezy, sniffly, eye-watering mess–this is probably not the pet for you. But, a few days later (after you’ve recovered!) you might try again with a different dog or cat that is just as charming and doesn’t incite such a severe reaction.
Once a pet is in your home, regular baths are important to remove saliva and dandruff from the coat.
It’s best to bathe your pet weekly using a shampoo that will not cause dry out your pet’s skin and coat. Good products to try are gentle, hypoallergenic shampoos that contain omega 3 fatty acids, oatmeal, or other moisturizing agents.
Other recommendations include:
- Play with your pet outdoors as much as possible
- Wash your hands after playing or touching your pet
- Wash your pet’s bedding weekly
- Do not allow pets in your bedroom