Approximately 10 to 20 percent of the world’s population suffers from allergies to dogs and cats, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). As the number of homes with pets keeps increasing, more people seek solutions to their sensitivity to pet allergens.
If you have slight allergies or have a guest staying over who is allergic to dogs, there are a few things you can to do ensure they are comfortable and not irritated during their stay.
Why Are Some People Allergic to Dogs?
According to Mayo Clinic, some people have an allergic reaction to proteins found in dogs’ dead skin cells (also known as dander), saliva, or urine. Dander causes the most problems because the tiny particles can remain in the air around you for long periods of time. It’s also somewhat sticky and will adhere to upholstered furniture, as well as your clothes.
A person’s allergy is usually triggered by exposure to the dander their dog sheds. The most familiar symptoms are sneezing and a runny nose. But people with the worst cases wheeze and have difficulty breathing, and people can develop allergies at any age.
Stopping Allergy Triggers
Allergists will tell you the best thing to do if you’re allergic to dogs is not to have one in your house. But when visiting someone who has a dog or if you develop allergies later in life, that is often not an option. But allergies can be managed under the right circumstances.
So, what about getting a so-called “hypoallergenic” breed? Unfortunately, although some individual dogs may stimulate fewer allergy symptoms in certain people than others, the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine warns that all dogs produce allergens, meaning there is no truly hypoallergenic dog.
Animal allergens can be carried on hair that is shed into the air or on home surfaces, so that may be why some people are less sensitive to non-shedding dogs.
For example, a study in 2012 compared allergen levels in hair and coat samples and in the home environment of various hypoallergenic (Poodle, Spanish Waterdog, and Airedale Terrier) and non-hypoallergenic dogs (Labrador Retriever). Results found that low-shedding dogs had some of the highest levels of allergens in their coat samples, while Labrador Retrievers’ levels were significantly lower.
There’s a theory that if you tough it out and live with a dog even though you are allergic, eventually you’ll build up resistance. Allergists say that you’re more likely to get used to living with nasal and chest congestion than besting the allergy.
A better bet is to purchase a proven pet air purifier to remove these sneeze-inducing debris from the air, such as the HR900 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier from Winix. The Cleveland Clinic agrees, recommending covering bedroom vents with a dense filtering material like cheesecloth and using a HEPA filter and pet air purifier.
Is there a way to keep your young children from developing pet allergies? One 2018 study found that the early introduction of pets into a home when children are young may reduce the likelihood that they’ll develop sensitivity to pet allergens. But that is not guaranteed.
How to Help Prevent Allergic Reactions
The AAFA developed suggestions to help control the impact of having dogs in the house on allergic family members and guests:
Use a pet-specific air purifier. Central heat and air conditioning spread dog dander into every room in your house — even those that the dog isn’t allowed in. A central air cleaner — as well as filters on the vents themselves — can help.
An air purifier, like the Winix HR900 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier, is one of the easiest solutions to make any allergen-sensitive family members more comfortable. This energy-efficient pet air purifier catches 99.99 percent of pet dander, pollen, dust, smoke, and other ultrafine particles that are airborne in your living space, plus it has the added benefit of absorbing odors, including that wet dog smell.
Clean regularly. Cleaning additional surfaces that may have dander trapped in them can be helpful. Remove dust on hard surfaces often with a damp or microfiber cloth and a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean fabric furniture and carpets weekly. If you’re sensitive to allergens and cleaning, wear a dust mask while you clean.
Reduce items that catch dander. Allergens adhere to carpets, rugs, drapes, and overstuffed furniture. Use carpet with low pile and steam clean it often or buy throw rugs you can wash weekly. If the kids are sensitive to dog allergens, put a yoga or play mat underneath them when they play on the floor.
Keep pets off upholstered furniture. If you can’t resist snuggling with your pooch on the couch, cover it with washable slipcovers or blankets.
Restrict your dog’s time in the bedroom. Rooms with dogs have higher levels of airborne allergens. So keeping them out of the space where your guest is sleeping can do wonders for their level of irritation.
Bathe your dog. Some studies have shown that baths reduce the amount of airborne dander, but that may depend on the individual dog. Giving them a good wash before any guest arrives can help everyone feel more comfortable during the visit.
For almost 50 years, Winix has been developing and producing Healthy Home Appliances to bring clean air and comfort to indoor environments. Winix owns and operates 5 factories in South Korea, China, and Thailand, maintains sales, marketing and support centers in South Korea, The USA, and The Netherlands. Winix America product lines include Air Cleaners, Air Filters, Humidifiers, and Humidifier Accessories. Winix customers include the worlds most recognized retailers and E-tailers as well as world-class brands for whom Winix is the manufacturer.