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Indoor Allergy Week: Does Your Pet Irritate Your Senses?

22 October 2014

UK - Between January and August this year, 185 pets needed Blue Cross help to find a new home because someone in their family was allergic to them.

If you’re thinking of getting a new pet, make sure everyone in your household spends lots of time with the particular animal or breed before you take on the pet to check whether anyone has a reaction.

Everyone is different and it’s likely you can find the right pet for you – even if you suffer from allergies.

How to cope with allergies to pets

  • Pet owners with allergies should vacuum regularly and keep pets out of bedrooms
  • Good ventilation is important. Open the windows for at least one hour a day.
  • Vacuum your home using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter at least twice a week
  • Consider replacing your carpet with hard flooring, curtains with blind, and cover soft furnishings with allergen-proof covers
  • Avoid wearing woollen clothing, as this tends to trap allergens
  • Groom your pet daily outside of the home
  • Wash your pet’s bedding weekly
  • Research suggests that you can reduce sensitivity to pets by introducing children to them at an early age

Are some types of pet hypoallergenic?

Some types of pets such as labradoodles and hairless cats are considered to be less likely to cause allergies than other pets, but it is not true to say that they are suitable for people with allergies.

People can be allergic to pets in different ways so it’s always best for everyone in the household to spend time with a pet before rehoming them rather than buying a ‘designer’ breed assuming it will be ok.

Am I definitely allergic to my pet?

Many people assume they are allergic to pets but haven’t been checked over by a doctor to find out what the true cause of their reaction is.

Make sure you pay your GP a visit so you can discover exactly what’s causing the problem before deciding to rehome your pet.

Common pet allergies include sensitivity to pet hair, dander (skin), saliva or even sweat - which means some types of pet will be more suitable than others depending on the type of allergy.

Some allergies can be temporary (eg during pregnancy or times of stress) so don't be too quick to give up a much loved pet.

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