According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), roughly 15 to 30 percent of people are allergic to cats and dogs. For these individuals, having a pet in the home is not an option–which is fine if they are single.
Many people eventually go from being single to being in a relationship and living together in domestic bliss. What do you do if your significant other is allergic to your pet that you cannot imagine parting with?
The good news is that you do not have to choose between your partner or your pet. It is possible to keep both, and all of you can co-exist without making your partner miserable.
Understanding Pet Allergies
Pet hair attracts dust, pollen and mold, all of which are common allergens. Therefore, people who are allergic to pets think the culprit is pet hair, when in fact it is not. Pet allergies are a reaction caused by exposure to proteins in a pet’s saliva, skin cells or urine.
Symptoms of pet allergies typically include watery eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose and sometimes difficulty breathing or wheezing.
How to Help Your Partner and Your Pet Live Happily Under One Roof
Incorporating a few changes and habits in your home will allow to keep your pet without kicking your partner to the curb. A recent Huffington Post article offered some tips to keep the love flowing between pet owners, their pets and their significant others.
- Bathe your pet regularly. A1999 study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that regular baths reduced a dog’s allergen levels by 85 percent. The study also suggested bathing a dog at least two times a week minimizes the chances of triggering an allergy.
- Clean regularly. For a partner with pet allergies, you may need to clean more often to minimize allergic reactions. If you have carpets and do not want to remove them, vacuum them once a week with a machine that has a HEPA filter.
- Use air filters or air purifiers to keep indoor air clean. Be sure to change all filters on a regular basis.
- When shopping for new furniture, select pieces with smooth surfaces instead porous ones. Smooth surfaces are easier to clear of dust and pet hair.
- Wash your bedding regularly, especially bedding your pet sleeps on. Consider investing in hypoallergenic bedding that has an allergen-resistant barrier.
- Designate areas in your home that are off limits to your pets, such as bedrooms, home offices or other areas where your partner spends a lot of his or her time.
- Train your pets not to get on your furniture.
In addition to modifying your home, your partner may want to talk to his or her doctor about allergy medications and treatments. Over-the-counter medications, allergy shots or rush immunotherapy may relieve allergy symptoms.