An allergy to pet dander does not necessarily mean you have to give up your favorite furry friend. There are ways to keep your pet's dander minimal so you can share the same space without an excess of sneezing, coughing or itching. Mild allergies to animal dander are easy to manage with a little extra cleaning; more severe allergies generally require a significant amount of time, energy and attention. Speak with your doctor or veterinarian if you have questions or concerns about your allergies.
Tip #1 - Bathe your pet as often as his temper and skin allow, and use a shampoo designed to minimize dander. You can find these in most pet stores. Bathing, of course, is an easier matter for dog owners than cat owners. If your cat is averse to water, wipe him down daily with cleansing wipes.
Tip #2 - Groom your pet often with a brush designed to catch and hold hair. Between brushings, wipe him off with a damp cloth to catch skin flakes and loose hair. A grooming glove also works well.
Tip #3 - Feed your pet a balanced diet designed to reduce dry skin. Dander is old, shed skin cells that are too tiny to see, and dry skin is shed more often than moist skin. Keeping your pet's skin properly hydrated through diet and adequate water intake will go a long way toward keeping his dander minimal.
Tip #4 - Keep your pet out of your bedroom and off your couch. Every time your pet jumps on the couch or climbs on your bed, he transfers dander onto these surfaces. Because you spend a lot of time in your bedroom and living room, it is important to minimize dander in these locations.
Tip #5 -
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and frequently vacuum rooms your pet spends time in. This is important even if you don't have carpeting. Sweeping stirs up dust, hair and dander. Don't forget to vacuum under furniture and along baseboards, two places where pet hair often collects.
Tip #6 - Replace carpets with tile or wood flooring to reduce dander levels inside your home. Vacuum runners and throw rugs frequently and shampoo them several times every year.
Tip #7 - Wherever possible, replace draperies and curtains with plastic or wooden blinds instead. Cloth draperies are difficult to clean and are big sources of environmental dander.
Tip #8 - Wash your pet's bedding at least once per week. Reward your pet for sleeping in the same location every night and for every nap to encourage this practice. This will help keep dander under control throughout the rest of the home.
Tip #9 - Install a filtration system on your indoor heating and cooling unit. This will keep the air in your home mostly free of dander. If you cannot afford to do this, at least consider using a HEPA air purifier in your bedroom at night.
By Sandra Ketcham
About the Author
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."