Adopting a pet is an awesome way to save a life and bring joy to your home and your family. But sometimes that also means finding out the hard way that you have a pet allergy. Instead of sending your pet back to the shelter or rescue organization there are a few things you can do to manage your allergies and continue to give Fido or Fluffy a cozy home and enjoy the companionship of your furry family member.
Step 1: Don’t guess, get a solid answer.
What you might think is a pet allergy could actually be environmental allergies. Sometimes it’s not your actual dog or cat but whatever pollen they encountered outside and brought in the house on their fur. Ask your doctor for an allergy test to find out what you are really allergic to and then go from there. No need to break everyone’s hearts – kids, the pet’s, yours – by removing the pet from our family is the problem never really was Fred the Wonder Poodle to begin with.
Step 2: Make small changes for a big benefit.
If it’s environmental allergies and not pet allergies, regular baths for your pets can help reduce the allergens they’re bringing in. The Humane Society of the Unites States recommends using a HEPA air filter can be significantly improve the air quality of your home and help combat any environmental allergies you might be dealing with. This, of course, helps with pet allergies as well. It’s really overall a great idea for keeping your home as clean and healthy as possible.
If you come to find you are allergic to cats or dogs, then you have a few options to make make breathing easier and reduce pet allergy symptoms. Pet allergies aren’t an actually allergy to the pet hair, it’s really an allergy to the allergy proteins in cat and dog saliva that end up sticking to their skin and fur.
While regular baths can help reduce your exposure to the dander, you should wash yourself more too. Anytime you pet your dog or cat make sure you wash your hands and face to clear away any allergens you’ve come in contact with. You may want to keep your pet out of your bedroom to reduce your exposure to dander especially while you’re sleeping.
If all else fails, you can consult an allergy specialist about allergy treatments. Treatments range from daily prescriptions to manage allergy symptoms to allergy therapy shots to help your body build a tolerance to the offending allergen, and your doctor will know what’s right for you.
Step 3: Expand your possibilities
Let’s say you find your allergies are beyond help and you just can’t live with a furry family member but still want an animal companion in your life. The good news is there are more options for household pets than cats and dogs. Consider fish or reptiles as interesting and exotic pets. They can be just as personality filled and fun as your standard house pet but without the allergy symptoms that leave you miserable and uncomfortable.