I love my dog. I know my readers love their dogs. But what we don’t love is allergies. Whether they’re from friends, family, or even yourself, they can seriously compromise your health, and, just as important, your ability to spend time with your furry friends! If you’ve got houseguests who won’t visit because the dander is too much, never fear. There’s actually plenty you can do to cut down on pet dander, fur, and odor in your home. Follow these tips for a pleasant visit for everyone!
Get An Air Purifier
If you’re looking to cut down on dander and odors in the home, one of the best things you can do is to invest in a good air purifier for pets, with a HEPA air filter. Room air filters are actually a lot cheaper, and more effective than installing a system throughout your home. Keeping them in guest bedrooms, and rooms the dog spends the most time in can cut down on more than 98% of dander, dust, and hair. Just be sure to clean the filters regularly. Typically, every two months with one dog, and once a month for more than one.
Ironically, most people are more allergic to dander than pet hair. Regular grooming helps to rid your dog of dander, and grooming and brushing can help cut down on shedding. That means fewer hairs in your bed and your linen and less exposure to allergens! Depending on the dog breed, you should be brushing often, with a bath once a week, and a trip to the groomers to be professionally shampooed, brushed and treated every 4-8 weeks. Check with your vet to see what suits your breed best. Overgrooming can cause serious health problems to your dog’s skin, and even impact their immune system.
Wash Pet Bedding and Upholstery
The easiest way to remove the doggy smell, and plenty of dander, from your home? Throw your pet’s bed in the wash! You know the joy of clean sheets. Your dog sheds a lot more skin and hair than you do, and all of that can get into the air. So make sure to wash pet bedding as often as you would your own linens — and don’t forget the upholstery. Any couches and chairs that are a favorite of your four-legged friend are bound to be full of hair. Switching to leather furniture can help make cleaning easier, or you can buy or rent a steam cleaner.
Cut The Carpet Out
Not literally. But it is true that wood and vinyl flooring hold onto pet hair and other debris and grime a lot less than carpet does. Even steam cleaning, which can be expensive and time-consuming, won’t get everything. So get rid of carpets, and replace curtains with blinds and shades, to cut down on cloth surfaces in your home which can hold on to dust, dander, and hair.
Create Dog-Free Zones
If you have guests or regular visitors who are allergic to your furry best friend, the best thing to do is to keep them out of the way. This isn’t as tough as it sounds. Keeping your dogs’ food, bed and toys in one room is a good way to cut down on dander and odor throughout the house. It also makes it easier to train the dog on which spaces are his, and which are out of bounds. If you start training early, it’s easy to make it clear to the dog where there are spaces they shouldn’t go. Make it easier by marking off spaces with baby gates, or simply closing doors in guest bedrooms or formal rooms you don’t want the dog to visit in. Having dog-free zones not only helps guests and visitors with allergies, but it’ll give you peace of mind, especially during that mischievous puppy stage!
Get Some Fresh Air
Finally, if you’ve got guests or friends with allergies, make sure to spend some time with them outside the house. A cozy chat on the patio can mean all the difference to someone holding back their sniffles or runny eyes. Of course, this works best if you don’t also have an allergy to ragweed or other seasonal allergies! Alternatively, taking the dog outside for the duration of a short visit, (provided you have a fenced-in space, it’s safe, and adheres to your community bylines) can really lessen the exposure to allergies for allergic friends and family.
Getting allergic friends to visit your home without sending your dog to a doggy daycare can be tough. But it’s not impossible. With a little care and attention to detail (not to mention a strong air purifier!), you can be sure all your guests, two-legged and four, are comfortable in your home.