Minimize Pet Allergens In Your House
It is well known that pets improve your overall quality of life, but unfortunately for me and many others, they don’t improve our allergy situation. The pet dander has gotten so bad in my house that the animals themselves were having allergies. This certainly doesn’t stop me from keeping a zoo inside my home, and lucky for me there are plenty of things I can do to keep the pet dander to a minimum.
If you are having issues with allergies because of shedding animals scurrying about the house, then consider trying these steps to help give you some allergy relief.
Here are eight ways to minimize pet allergens at home:
Put an Air Purifier In Your Room
Air purifiers won’t cure your allergies or completely eliminate dander that has settled. But, they are useful in reducing pet dander and other allergens that commonly pollute your indoor air. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends having them indoors to aid in the improvement of indoor air pollution.
Place Indoor Plants Throughout Your Home
Not only do plants add a nice aesthetic to any room, but there are also many types of plants that help to improve air quality. In 1989, NASA concluded that houseplants help to remove pollutants from the air, thus improving indoor air quality. The Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, Spider Plants, Bamboo, and the Monstera plant are all known to have benefits to indoor air quality. But you will want to be careful when choosing plants because many plants can be toxic to pets.
Brush and Bathe Pets Often
Animals that shed heavily come with a bit of maintenance. But, the more hair your brush off, the less hair that will be floating around your house.
Switch to Hard Flooring
There has been much debate about whether or not carpet is better or worse for allergies. Many believe that carpet traps allergens so that they aren’t as likely to be inhaled. However, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health conducted several studies on the effects of carpet on air quality and health symptoms. Their results suggest that carpet is linked to more dust and allergens in the air and an increase in health symptoms like asthma.
I really don’t like vacuuming ... at all. My husband does, though, thankfully. He vacuums once or twice a week to keep up on the pet hair from our two shedding dogs and two shedding cats. Even with vacuuming that much, there is still so much hair throughout our house. That’s why my favorite household item thus far is our new Roomba. We run it about every other day, and it is so nice to come home to a clean, hair-free floor!
Keep the Pets Off the Furniture
This was a hard one for us. Our dogs, who are 75 pounds each, are really great cuddlers. It doesn’t help that we are pushovers when they give us “the look.” We finally put our foot down though and they no longer get on the bed or couch. It is a relief to not have bed sheets that are constantly covered in hair, and while the cats still get on the couch, the hair is not nearly as aggressive as it was when all of the animals were making themselves comfortable. Not only does it improve the pet dander, but it is one less thing we have to clean every other day. We also set up a gate upstairs, trapping the dogs in the upstairs loft so that they cannot jump on the bed or couch while we aren’t home. They may be well behaved when we are around, but they aren’t to be trusted left alone!
Change Your Air Filters
We moved into our new house about 5 months ago and haven’t changed the air filters yet. I had no idea until researching for this article that homes with animals need their air filters changed MUCH more frequently, according to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. Most houses without pets can go about 90 days before their filters need changing. Homes with one dog or cat - 60 days, but homes with more than one pet need air filters changed every 20-45 days! When you don’t change your air filter, not only is the air quality poor, but it can cause inefficiency and failure in your air system. Homeowners know how expensive it can be to repair or replace AC units! No, thank you.
Cat Owners: Use a Dust-Free Cat Litter
It took me so long to figure this one out. I absolutely despised changing the litter and inhaling that dirty dust cloud that forms as you sift. Yuck. When I finally switched to a dust-free litter, it was like a breath of fresh air... well, besides the cat waste that I was cleaning up. It made a big difference, and now changing the litter isn’t nearly as horrible of an experience.
Those of us who choose to improve our quality of life by keeping happy animals in our homes will no doubt have to sacrifice the quality of our air. But these steps can help greatly in reducing the amount of pet allergens and allergy symptoms that you experience every day.