Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Allergic to Dogs Prevention | Practical Tips and Advice

Minimizing Contact With Dog

Aside from possibly keeping the dog outside, minimize direct contact with the animal through stroking, cuddling or hugging it. Prevention of dog allergies through avoidance is preferable than trying to control symptoms through other means, including medication. Do not allow the dog to lick you, in particular on the area around the face and mouth. Always wash hands after contact with the dog and especially before eating.

Aside from direct contact (See: How do Allergy Suffers Come into Contact With Allergens?), remember that indirect allergen contact can arise through clothing or touching other family members that have interacted with the dog. It is especially problematic with young children who just love to play and cuddle their beloved family pet. This can be a source of frustration and family arguments given that all members, not just the allergy sufferer, need to think about minimizing allergy dispersal and the way they interact with the person with the dog allergy.

Basic Brushing and Grooming Tips

  • Brush the dog outside daily and always wash your hands after handling the dog so as to minimize transference of any possible allergens.
  • Bathe the dog regularly in a shampoo designed specifically to remove dander and then dry it thoroughly. Certain studies have indicated that monthly baths decreases dog allergens in the home, whilst allergies can sometimes be eliminated if a dog is bathed more than once a week. For example, a twice weekly dog bath may reduce allergens by more than 80% (Hodson et al. 1999). Interestingly, the issue of water, dog behavior (Labrador breed in this study) and the main dog allergen Can f 1 was noted by Ramadour et al. 2005;Labradors may display lower levels of Can f 1 because they frequently jump into water.”  Some people suggest that even wiping down a dog with a damp microfiber cloth daily can be helpful.


    Allergic to Dogs Prevention - Dog Bathing

Hypoallergenic Covers

Hypoallergenic covers designed to encase pillows and mattresses help block microscopic allergen particles larger than 1 micron (0.001 mm, or approximately 0.000039 inches). These have a zipped side for easy use and are also effective for allergies caused by dust mites. Regular washing of pillow cases, sheets and blankets helps minimize the build-up of potential allergens, as does frequent wiping down of the hypoallergenic cover.

HEPA Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuuming on a frequent (ideally daily) basis is another way to manage a dog allergy; even if the dog is not allowed into the bedroom, one should still make a point of vacuuming this room, including the area underneath the beds and mattresses. Cross contamination of allergens can easily occur as they can be transferred into the bedroom area on one’s slippers, socks and clothing as well as through the air.

In addition, be sure to take a close look at the vacuum cleaner you are using. There are vacuum cleaners available that use HEPA filters which come highly rated and recommended for allergy sufferers. HEPA is an acronym that stands for ‘High Efficiency Particulate Air’ and describes the ability of the filter or air cleaner to capture particles. True HEPA filters remove at least 99.97% of the particles in the air down to three-tenths of a micron in size (1 micron = a millionth of a meter). In fact, there are even some vacuum cleaners that are targeted specifically for pet owners. If you do not to use a HEPA vacuum cleaner, consider using a dust mask when vacuuming.

Air Filters and Purifiers

Investing in an air filter and purifier is another possible way that you can seek relief from a dog allergy, without having to find a new home for your dog.

The efficiency of an air purifier depends on the make and model but in general they aim to reduce the volume of small airborne allergens that can include certain particles associated with dog allergies. Heavier dog dander particles and hair tend to remain airborne for shorter periods before settling on surfaces. Regular wiping down of surfaces with a damp cloth and vacuuming is still the most effective means of dealing with these particles.

Air purifiers that are designed to help allergy sufferers are readily available via the internet, and HEPA air filters and HEPA air purifiers are known for producing tangible results. High efficiency filters can be found in smaller standalone units and in larger central air cleaner devices for the home but also in a variety of heating, air conditioning systems and even home ventilation grids. The latter tend to have interchangeable filters that should be replaced on an ongoing basis.

Reduce Allergen Build-Up

  • Where possible, replace carpeted area with hardwood flooring; this is especially important in the bedroom. Sweeping a dry floor may stir up dust and allergens, therefore damp-mop any hard flooring and use a damp rag to dust. If you prefer to have carpeting, make sure to vacuum at least weekly. Wash any rugs on a regular basis with warm water.
  • Surfaces that can be wiped down help reduce the build-up of allergens and it is for this reason, that household areas with fabric tend to encourage the proliferation of allergens. Therefore, net curtains, curtains and fabric blinds would be best replaced with vinyl or wooden blinds and consider wiping down walls once a week.
  • Products that are designed to electrostatically attract dust, dander and hair may be useful and can be used on a variety of surfaces including walls and floors. Examples of electrostatic products available include air filters and purifiers, dusts cloths and dusters, furnace and fire filters, mops and those intended for vacuum cleaners.
  • Wash children’s soft-cloth toys regularly or if non-washable, give them a good ‘beating’ outside to rid them of the dust and allergy-laden debris they have collected. Where possible, keep soft and stuffed toys out of the sleeping area.
  • Wash both your own and your dog’s bedding in hot water once per week. However, never wash them together, otherwise you will transfer dander and dog hair to your bedding!! Your dog’s bedding should only be washed in a separate container and not the main washing machine. Also, do not attempt to tumble dry the washed dog’s bedding; even though washing reduces the allergen load of the dogs bedding, it may still remain high enough to cross contaminate the dryer. Furthermore, if the filters on the tumble dryer are ineffective, significant volumes of dander can then become airborne and transferred throughout the property.
  • Many people advocate the benefits of using a steam vapor cleaner for allergies. Not only are they effective at cleaning all around the home including soft furnishings, upholstery and rugs, but they can also remove stubborn stains and grime whilst the steam helps to sterilize surfaces and kill a variety of bugs e.g. dust mites.
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