If you're looking to bring some kind of furry (or feathered) friend into your life but you happen to have pet allergies, don't despair! Pet allergies don't necessarily mean the end of the road when it comes to having a companion for you and your family. There are plenty of things you can do to make life with a pet a possibility!
If you didn't already know, there are specific breeds of dogs and cats (and even some birds) that are considered hypoallergenic! Though, it is important to note that there is no dog, cat or bird that's going to be 100% allergy-proof, so though the ones listed in the links above will be much easier on your system, to truly go the extra mile and make sure you, your family and your pet live the happiest, healthiest lives you can together it's important to focus on how to "pet allergy-proof" your house too.
A little disclaimer here before we get into the tips and tricks! This article is meant to be educational and informative, but before you go making any serious decisions, it's worth checking with your doctor, since we really don't want you getting hurt trying to make your allergies behave.
Become a Neat Freak To Control Pet Allergies: Easy Things You Can DO
Get Rid Of Any Current Allergens In The House
This probably seems pretty obvious and I have no doubt that you're already very careful! But, when you are going to be bringing a known allergen into your home, one that's going to be around for years to come it's really best to start being extra proactive and remove anything else that could bother you.
First things first is one of the simplest and probably one of the easiest things to do... Making your bedroom a pet-free zone. Now, I know how much you might want you new fluffy friend snuggling up with you under the covers, but if you have allergies, you really need a space that is as free of pet allergens as possible.
So, wash your blankets, wash your pillows, vacuum, swiffer, dust the curtains and give it a good clean then make sure it's closed off from your pets. It'll make sleeping better in the long-run and give you a space to retreat to when your allergies act up.
Another simple thing you can do to make your quality of life better is to get rid of, or at least become very selective about, candles and things like potpurri! Plug-in air fresheners too, because all these things can really amp up your allergies. Plus, if you're wanting to introduce a bird to your home, it's important to note that the parrafin wax in a lot of readily available candles can kill your birds, the smoke is toxic to them. So, really you'd be tackling two potential problems at the same time.
The next step in this section is getting blinds instead of curtains. Fabric curtains really trap dust, dander and pet hair, which, if you have pet allergies (or allergies in general) really is a huge no-go. If you live in an apartment, or for some other reason simply can't make the switch, then making sure to wash your curtains, or carefully vacuum them off regularly is going to become very important.
Stage Two: Things To Buy That Will Make Dealing With Your Pet Allergies Bearable!
It's important to note that allergens aren't just going to be lingering on your furniture and floor, but they get into the air too! You can combat this with an air purifier that has a HEPA filter. HEPA filters really are the best for those of you with pet allergies, trust me. It really gets the job done and is currently the highest quality filter available. You don't need to go crazy, and get an entire whole house air system or anything, just one or two air purifiers in the main parts of your house should be enough to put a dent in the allergens floating around.
Almost nothing can replace a really good vacuum in situations like this. I'm not joking. If you have carpet and pets, you are going to want an extra strong vacuum with, you guessed it, a HEPA filter built in to catch all those nasty pet allergens. You don't want to be accidentally throwing dust and dirt back out into the air right? That's just not good for anyone, let alone someone with pet allergies. Here are some decent vacuums that you can get from Amazon, have them ship it right to your door!
Dyson Ball Allergy Upright VacuumPureClean Automatic Robot Vacuum Cleaner - Robotic Auto Home Cleaning for Clean Carpet Hardwood Floor - Bot Self Detects Stairs - HEPA Filter Pet Hair Allergies Friendly - PUCRC25 (White)Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away Upright Vacuum, Grape/White (NV501PR)
The next thing to look to is furniture. Sure, that overstuffed upholstered couch is comfy, but it might not be the best for allergies, even without a pet in the picture allergens can get trapped in the cushions. It's often recommended that allergy sufferers go for something made of pleather or vinyl, which are easy to clean as the dust and other particles don't settle into that kind of material.
If you really want something that isn't leather or leather-like, and I don't blame you, that isn't my first choice of material either and it can be quite expensive, go for some furniture that's got upholstery that's made of some kind of really tight weave, slick fabric. This will make it harder for dust to settle into the cushions, but you will still want to clean the couch regularly, vacuum off the cushions, ect.
Going The Extra Mile To Ensure Victory Over Your Pet Allergies
If you're the kind of person who's all about going that extra mile, then you might consider replacing your wall-to-wall carpeting (if you have it) with hardwood floors, or something similar. It's a lot easier to clean up the dust and dirt from a harder surface like that, where with carpet allergens and dust have a habit of lingering and getting ground deeper in.
If you don't want to replace your carpet or the project happens to be a bit big for the moment, then a slightly cheaper and helpful option is available. Getting yourself a really good vacuum with a HEPA filter built in, like the one's mentioned above will be something important to grab.
Now, if you already have hardwood or some kind of tile or are going to be making the switch you'll still need something to clean up with! It's a bit easier though, since you don't need any epic suction to pull all that yech out of the carpet. Getting something like a swiffer, maybe a little roomba with a HEPA filter and you should be golden.
There is something called immunotherapy that you can discuss with your doctor, if you see fit and it's just that important to you and your family. Essentially you take allergy shots over time, and by the end of it the idea is that it will reduce or eliminate your pet allergy. This all sounds pretty perfect in theory, and it can be great, but it is a long term investment and it is NOT an instant fix, as for the first few months you'll be going in between once and twice a week to get a shot, then you'll be going in every 2-4 weeks, then eventually it'll be a once a month thing for between 3 and 5 years. See what I mean? It's a commitment, and it can be worth it, and it is an option which is why I mention it.
It's a serious investment, and sadly it doesn't even work for everyone, but for those it does work for it makes things a lot better.
So those are some of the things you can do to combat your pet allergies. Everything from a simple spring-clean to completely replacing your carpet can be majorly beneficial to those suffering from allergies, but only you can decide which of these options will help you best. I wish you luck in your war and I'm sure that you, your family and your pets will come out on the other side much happier and healthier for the trouble.