pet allergies:
Living with pets you're allergic to

Woman combing dog with flea comb.

Despite the allergy symptoms they sometimes give us - like coughing and sneezing - we still want our pets around.

With a few basic ground rules in place - and a commitment to regular preventative house cleaning - we can successfully cohabitate with pets we're allergic to.

Here's how to minimize pet allergies in your home so you can breathe easier.

Make the Bedroom a Pet-Free Zone

Keeping pets out of the bedroom - the room you spend the most time in - will go a long way toward reducing your exposure to pet allergens - and your symptoms of pet allergies

After all, your cozy bed is a snug spot for animal dander to settle in, too. 

To peacefully coexist, you'll need to wash your bed linens at least once a week in the hottest water safe for your sheets. Your comforter, blanket, and pillows should be washed at least monthly.

Damp-wipe or vacuum your blinds regularly - they're a virtual magnet for animal dander, dust, and more. Dust all the rooms in your home carefully, being sure to hit every nook and corner cranny.

If You Have Pet Allergies, Have Someone Else Groom Your Pet

Have a non-allergic friend or family member bathe Fido or Fluffy once a week in a tub filled with lukewarm water and a pet shampoo or your own (mild) hair shampoo to remove excess dander.

Daily brushing of your cat or dog will help cut down on dander in your home, too.

Keep Pets Off Living Room Furniture

Train your pet to stay off the furniture to prevent the flare-up of your pet allergies. If your cat or dog is accustomed to taking a nap there, cover upholstered chairs and couches with a sheet or towel that will serve to trap animal dander.

Wash these covers regularly.

Clean Carpets and Rugs Regularly

Heard the saying "Snug as a bug in a rug"? 'Nuff said. Keep pet dander far from your breathing space by regularly cleaning (at least once a month), and vacuuming (at least weekly) your carpets and rugs. 

This alone will dramatically reduce allergy symptoms. If possible, remove carpets and rugs altogether and replace them with wood, tile, or linoleum floors.

Keep the air in your home clean with a HEPA air cleaner. Pet dander can become airborne, but it can also easily be removed with an air filter. Run the filter at least three hours daily.

Consider Fish, a Turtle, or  Lizard Instead of a Furry Pet

Choose a turtle, fish, or lizard instead of a furry pet if you're looking for a new pet and have pet allergies. You're less likely to be allergic to fish, turtles, and lizards than to cats or dogs.

Finally, don't get sucked in by those "hypoallergenic" pet claims. There's no such thing as a 100 percent hypoallergenic dog or cat.

So if you have pet allergies, the best way to co-exist with a pet is to be diligent with your home cleaning and pet care routine.

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