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    Pet Allergies: Tips for a Comfortable and Healthy Living Environment

    Feel better faster with these smart strategies.

    Mar 14, 2024 6 Minute Read

    Love your furry friend but not your pet dander allergies? Follow these tips to control pet allergies at home and feel better.


    Pets promise companionship and unconditional love, but welcoming one or more into your home can be challenging if you have pet allergies. Many people are allergic to dander — skin cells that are shed by furry pets. If you're in that category but really want to care for a pet, you'll have to take some extra steps to avoid succumbing to the sniffles and sneezes.



    Opt for Hypoallergenic

    • Choose a pet without fur or feathers. Fish, reptiles and amphibians don't shed dander. Keep in mind that some people are allergic to the proteins in pet saliva, urine and feces, but dander is bothersome to the majority of people with pet allergies.
    • If your heart is set on a dog or cat, pick a breed that's less apt to cause pet allergies. There are no truly hypoallergenic dogs or cats, but some breeds may be less likely to cause a reaction. You might have luck with a Portuguese Water Dog or Siamese cat.

    Designate Pet-Free Zones

    • First things first, ban pets from the bedroom. Allergy symptoms are often worse at night, and pet dander can accumulate in pillows and bed linens. If you have allergies, it's best to have your furry friends snooze elsewhere.
    • Install baby gates or pet barriers, where needed. Use them to keep pets out of rooms with thick carpeting that's apt to trap allergens.

    Take Care When Handling & Grooming

    • Bathe your pet at least weekly. Research has shown that twice a week is even better for keeping dander allergies at bay.
    • If you can, put a non-allergic family member in charge of brushing and grooming. Even better, have them brush your pet outdoors.
    • We know it's hard, but if you have allergies, try to avoid snuggling or kissing your pet. If you can't resist petting them, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterward.

    Make Some Home Changes

    • Cover bedroom air-conditioning and heating vents with cheesecloth. It will serve as a filter and help keep out allergens from other parts of the house.
    • Remove wall-to-wall carpeting or have it steam cleaned frequently. Carpeting traps allergens, so hardwood floors and tiles are safer. Vacuum floors regularly with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
    • Use an air purifier. Make sure it has a HEPA filter and is designed for the room you plan to use it in. The square footage coverage should be noted on the box.

    Get Expert Help

    • Ask about medication. Your allergist may recommend taking allergy drugs, like cetirizine (Zyrtec) or fexofenadine (Allegra) daily, which can also be found OTC at your local Rite Aid.
    • Consider allergy shots (immunotherapy). They work by gradually decreasing your sensitivity to specific allergens like pet dander.
    • Consider seeing an allergist for a full panel. You can get allergy testing to confirm all your sensitivities.

    Sharing the Love — Not Dander


    Pets allergies are common, but having them doesn't necessarily mean you can't live with an animal companion. Choosing the right pet, tweaking your home setup and working with an allergist can keep you comfortable despite your pet dander allergy.

    These articles are intended for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in these articles. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise or medication regimen.