Animal Allergy and Avoidance

cat-and-dog-allergy pictureWhether you love it or hate it, a pet or a pest, any animal with fur produces animal allergens. However, it is not the hair that is causing the problem. Allergens are mostly from the animal’s skin flakes (dander). There are no true “hypoallergenic” breeds of cats or dogs. However individual pets do vary substantially in how much dander they produce. These allergens are very small and airborne. They are very sticky and hard to clean. Cat allergens remain 4-6 months even after the cat is removed from the house. Animal allergens also exist in saliva, sweat and urine, especially in dog’s saliva, rabbit’s and rodent’s urine.

Animal allergen avoidance:

  • Remove the pet from the home. The question is How possible is that?
  • If removing the pet is not an option, try to minimize contact. Keep the pet out of the bedroom (and other areas where you spend a great deal of time) and do not sleep with it.  Wash hands after handling the pet. Do not let the pet lick you.
  • Encase pillows, mattress and box with allergen proof covers. Wash bedding in hot water and dry in hot dryer.
  • Keep pets off of upholstered furniture. Thoroughly clean carpeting, floors, walls, and upholstered furniture weekly. Use a HEPA air filter.
  • Wash dogs 2 times a week. If you can, cats need be washed at least weekly to have some effect.