How to Deal with Pet Allergies (and Keep Your Pet)

It might be time to ditch those rugs.

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An allergy to a pet can be devastating. Pets can be a member of the family, and you may not even consider giving away a pet that’s giving you allergy symptoms an option.

Allergy symptoms are triggered by the proteins found in the skin, saliva, urine, or feces of furry and feathered animals. These allergens can linger in the air for a long time, and humans can inhale them easily. They can also cling to your furniture and fabrics, so you can inhale them by lying down on your couch or your bed.

These allergens aren’t necessarily dangerous, but certain people are sensitive to them and experience respiratory symptoms like stuffy and runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, or eczema.

Obviously, not having a pet is the best way to keep pet allergens out of your home, but if you can reduce these pet allergens in your home—without giving away your furry family member—you might notice a big improvement in your symptoms.

Try these tips to reduce pet allergens at home and lessen your allergy symptoms:

1. Keep the bedroom pet-free

Keeping pet dander out of your bedroom assures that you’ll be able to breathe in cleaner air while you sleep—which is a solid third of your day.

2. Beware of carpet and rugs 

Since pet dander can easily cling to fabric, choose hard flooring if you can, and avoid rugs. If you’re stuck with carpet, try cleaning it regularly (such as with a steam vacuum), or ban your fur-baby from any carpeted rooms.

3. Keep your pet off upholstered furniture

If possible, choose furniture with leather, faux leather, wood, etc. Fabric-covered furniture offers another place for pet dander to cling. If you have upholstered furniture, try to offer your pet a special bed or blanket to lounge on instead, and launder them regularly.

4. Clean your home frequently

Vacuum, mop, and dust often. Try a vacuum with a micro-filter bag, which helps trap in the pet dander so it doesn’t escape back into the air.

5. Brush your pet regularly

Brushing helps clean dead hair from your pet’s coat. Have someone without allergies brush the pet outside, which can reduce the amount of hair that gets shed in your home.

6. Use a HEPA air filter in your home

These devices push air through a mesh that filters out things like pollen, pet dander, and other allergens. They often only work in a single room, so if you can only afford one, use it in your bedroom. Here are 8 more ways to have cleaner air in your home.

7. Talk to an allergist about medications

There are a couple medication options that are safe for long-term pet allergy relief, such as oral antihistamines and immunotherapy allergy shots. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you. Learn more about antihistamines to treat allergies here.

You know that your pet is not a pest—so don’t let them be a bug to your lungs.