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Does Your Pet Make You Wheeze?

What to do when you’re allergic to your pet.

Photo of family with Cincinnati allergies playing together.

Allergies are no fun. They affect over-all quality of life and for some animal lovers, they add something more to think about when deciding whether to own a pet. Among the millions of seasonal and food allergy sufferers, thirty-percent are more likely than non-sufferers to be symptomatic due to pets. Sneezing, runny nose, cough, itchy or watery eyes, difficulty breathing—as with most allergies, the signs are the same.

So what’s an animal-lover to do?

Fortunately, the news is good! Millions of allergy sufferers are healthy and happy pet owners. Here are some useful tips and tricks to make life with your faithful friend bearable.

1). Take it Outside

There’s no way to completely stop your pet from shedding and hypo-allergenic doesn’t mean no-allergenic. You can reduce the amount of hair shed and the dander your fur-baby produces by bathing and brushing your pet frequently. Professional groomers offer de-shedding options and there are tons of products on the market for the DIY’ers. Just keep in mind that grooming your pet inside the house may end in a “wash” of another kind. Brushing can leave dead skin cells and excess fur on your on furniture and in your carpet, making you no better off than you were before. If you can, it’s always better to be safe than sorry—brush outside.

Grooming your dog or cat outside is totally worthy of a high five.

2). Don’t Try This at Home

Here’s a fun fact. Neutering male dogs and cats reduces the amount of allergens they produce. Call your vet and make an appointment to find out about other health benefits your pet can expect to enjoy.

Surprise! Neutering dogs and cats can reduce the number of allergens they produce. (Your dog might not be as excited as you are.)

3). Keep it Clean

You don’t need a five-star weekly maid service, but you do need a microfiber cloth or two, a rubber broom and a few designated minutes a couple of times a week. Wipe down hard surfaces with microfiber cloth and sweep the baseboards and floor with a rubber broom. They trap more dust and dirt than other cleaning materials. Vacuuming carpet and rugs frequently is also a must. Use HEPA filters wherever filters are required, clean vents from time to time and finally, spray carpets, furniture and pets with an anti-allergen solution.

A regular cleaning routine can keep pet allergens to a minimum. (An adorable “helper” is always a plus.)

4. Get Purified

Low air quality can give fur-babies (and their people) dry, itchy and otherwise irritated skin. An air purifier can help. There are even pet-specific ones on the market. Prices for purifiers can range from sorta-cheap to ultra-pricey and can accommodate small to large rooms or whole homes entirely. Do your research and find the one that works best for your home.

An air purifier can keep your fur-baby’s skin (and yours!) comfortable.

5. Zone Out

Have a couple of pet-free zones in the house. Since we spend 33% of our lives sleeping, it might be smart to start with the bedroom. Rooms with hardwood or tile floors are good pet-friendly spaces.

Hardwood or tile floors are meow-velous for pet owners.

6. Consult Your Doctor

For some, over the counter medications can do the trick. In more severe cases, immunotherapy may be the fastest and easiest way to alleviate and even eliminate symptoms. To find the right treatment for you, make an appointment with one of our board-certified allergists at one of our five locations.