You’ve got horrible allergies to dogs or cats, but your kids are begging for a family pet. Truthfully, you’d like a furry friend to cuddle with, too. Your allergies deserve consideration, but they don’t have to prevent your family from enjoying a pet. Finding the right breed and taking steps to minimize the allergens in your home are part of the solution. You can also talk with your doctor about more ways to tackle your pet allergies. Let’s discuss how to get your child a pet when you have allergies.
Research “Hypoallergenic” Pet Breeds
No pet is truly hypoallergenic, but some are definitely easier on allergies. The reason you’re allergic to dogs or cats has to do with secretions and saliva. When the saliva or secretions stick to hair and dander, you end up breathing it in as the pet debris floats around the house. Some breeds don’t trigger allergies as much, though.
The only way to tell for sure is to do your research and contact a breeder. Spend some time with the animal you’re thinking of adopting to figure out how your allergies will react. If you have the option, foster an animal first so you’re not locked in if your allergies are unbearable. You simply can’t adopt a pet that makes your eyes itch and your nose run all the time.
Create “No-Pet Zones” Within the House
Establish a rule first thing: The pet is not allowed in your bedroom. If you have a two-story house, keep the pet off the second floor to preserve your sleeping space. These no-pet zones will accumulate far fewer allergens and will be easier to keep clean. You can escape there whenever you need some easy breathing time. Be firm about these rules, and teach the pet from the beginning that these areas are off-limits.
Make a List of Pet Responsibilities
Since the pet is for your children, make sure they understand which pet responsibilities belong to them. For a cat, it might be cleaning the litter box and lint rolling the couch once a day. For a dog, it might be taking it for a walk and sweeping up hair every other day. The goal here is to teach the kids that pets come with household maintenance, too. Plus, you want them to help out with the extra cleaning to spare your allergies.
Keep the Air Extra Clean
Image via Flickr by tinafranklindg
If you haven’t invested in indoor air quality initiatives, now is the time. Upgrade your furnace filter to a higher MERV rating to trap pet hair and dander before it enters the ducts. Get an air purifier with a HEPA filter for your bedroom. Have the ducts cleaned regularly to remove any pet debris that accidentally makes it inside. Be diligent about removing your other allergens from the house, too.
Pets are wonderful additions to your family, and many adults look back fondly on memories of growing up with cats and dogs. Monitor your allergy symptoms during the first weeks of having a pet to keep track of which solutions work best for you.