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I love my two cats.  They bring so much joy and happiness to my family every day.  They are my companions when my husband is working and the kids are out.  Our cats love us unconditionally, which is why I spoil them so much!  Even though I suffer from allergies, I could never give my cats away, which is why I make sure I reduce the allergens in my home as much as I can.

What exactly causes an allergic response when it comes to pets?

It is the animal dander, or the loose skin flakes that the animals shed.  Sometimes allergies can be caused the proteins in the pet’s hair.  Either way, when the allergens come in contact with your skin, an allergic reaction can occur.

Pet’s fur can collect allergens like dust, mold spores, and pollen from the outside environment just like people collect on their clothes, shoes, and hair when they come in from the outdoors.  Pet dander and other allergens can be found anywhere in the home, especially in carpets, drapery, upholstery and bedding.

How to get rid of the allergens:

For people with mild pet allergies, there are things you can do to reduce your exposure to animal dander and other pert allergens in your home:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after playing with your pet.
  • Keep pets off the furniture as much as possible.  For cats, buy a cat tree so they have a place to climb and sit.  For dogs, place a dog bed in a corner of the room.  Wash the pet bed at least once a month.
  • Clean your indoor air by setting up a HEPA filtered air purifier in the rooms most often used in your home, or in your bedroom.
  • Vacuum frequently with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner that traps and permanently removes airborne allergens.  I vacuum the kitchen floor every day and the bedrooms every other day since they are the rooms most often used in my home.  This helps lessen all types of allergens tremendously.
  • Cloth curtains, carpeted floors and blinds tend to trap and hide allergens.  If possible, placing laminate, vinyl, or hardwood flooring down instead of carpeting is a big step in reducing allergens in the home.  Hang sheer curtains and draperies that can be taken down and washed also helps to keep allergens at bay.  Place washable area rugs around your home.
  • Use an air conditioner during the summer and days calling for high pollen count.  Don’t forget to change the air filters on a monthly basis.
  • Wipe down baseboards and counter tops on a regular basis with a damp microfiber cloth and a mix of warm water and liquid dish soap.  Microfiber cloths are great to use because they trap the dirt instead of kicking it back up into the air.  Plus, when the cloth gets dirty, you can throw it in the washer and use it over and over again.
  • When cleaning, wear a face mask if your allergies are severe.  Use natural green cleaning ingredients and non-toxic cleaners to clean your home.  Microfiber cloths, microfiber mops and a HEPA filtered vacuum work wonders when it comes to allergens.
  • Be sure to wipe your pets coat and paws off after coming in from outside.  Leave all shoes at the door.
  • Cover all bedding, pillows, and mattresses in allergy-free cases.  Invest in cotton and polyester pillow and pillow cases which help reduce allergies.  Make sure you vacuum mattresses and bedroom floor often.
  • If possible, give your pet a weekly bath using anti-dander shampoo.
  • Vacuum all upholstered furniture.  For quick fixes on cleaning up pet hair, take a lint roller brush or a yellow rubber glove and wipe along the furniture.  To clean pet hair off area rugs quickly, spray a little vodka on the rug, and, with a yellow rubber glove, swipe over the pet hair.  The hair comes up easy!
  • Use a low-dust, scent-free kitty litter.  Sprinkle a little baking soda on the top of it to keep the odor away.

Educating yourself on how to lessen pet dander and other allergy-triggers in your home is an important step in keeping  your allergy symptoms at bay. Follow these tips to stay healthy and happy, even with your beloved pets around.