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Living with Dog Allergies

Get an Allergy Test from the Doctor

Work with a doctor to come up with the best treatment for dog allergies. You may need to get a test to determine if pet dander is in fact the culprit, or if there are other allergens that may be affecting your body. Your doctor can recommend prescription or over the counter allergy medicines, depending on the severity of your allergies. Over time, your body may get used to the allergens and no longer need medications.

Create an Allergy Free Zone in Your Home

There should be at least one room in your house that is free of pet dander. This is a place you can go if your allergies get out of control. If your dog sleeps in a kennel in the laundry room or kitchen, you may use your bedroom as the allergy free zone. Make sure your dog does not get into this area, and clean it regularly to get rid of lingering dander.

Adopt a Hypoallergenic Dog (If You Don't Already Have a Pet)

If you do not already have a dog, you may want to adopt one that is considered “hypoallergenic.” In most cases, this will be a breed that does not shed often and thus does not produce a lot of dander. No dog is 100% allergy free, but there are plenty of breeds that pose a minimal threat to allergy sufferers. Check out the American Kennel Club's list of hypoallergenic dog breeds to learn more.

Wash Your Dog Regularly

Keeping your dog clean will greatly cut back on the amount of dander in your home. You should wash your dog at least once a week, but you may need to do it more if your dog is prone to shedding or scratching. Some dog shampoos work better for allergens than others, so you will need to explore your options to find the right shampoo for you. Your vet should be able to recommend a good product to try.

Note that there are also sprays on the market that you can use to keep dander levels low, but they do not work as well as regular bathing. You'll be better off spending a few extra minutes a week giving your dog a thorough cleaning.

Change and Upgrade Your Air Filters Regularly

The air filters in your home are designed to trap dust particles, pet hair, dander, and other allergens in the air. When you have a dog in the home, the filter gets clogged a lot faster than it normally would. Most people can go 3-6 months without having to change their air filters. Pet owners should do this every 30-60 days by comparison. It is especially important to change out your air filter in the summer months when your dog begins to shed his winter coat. Keep a couple extra filters on hand so you are ready to go.

Note that you may want to invest in a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter for your bedroom or living room to act as a supplement to your standard air filter. This device is able to pick up on finer particles that may pass straight through a standard filter. Clean your HEPA filter regularly, just like your other air filters, and you will be able to survive living with dog allergies.

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