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You’ve recently started dating a new girl, and things are getting pretty serious. We’re talking “bring-her-home-to-meet-the-parents” serious. She’s a master of puns, she makes a mean quiche Lorraine, and she’s wicked smart to boot. There’s only one problem…she and her dog, a 60-pound Siberian husky named Bentley, are kind of a package deal—and you’re allergic to dogs. Before you know it, you’ve fallen head over heels for her and her pup. But have no fear—you’re not doomed to a life of sniffling and sneezing. In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips to help you manage your pet allergy symptoms so you can live happily ever after, dog and all.

Dogs aren’t the only pets that can cause allergies. Cats are another culprit. If you struggle with pet allergies, know you’re not alone. Approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population is allergic to dogs or cats. Pet allergies are caused by a reaction to a certain protein found in a pet’s dander, urine, or saliva. It can stick to furniture, walls, and clothing and can stay there for months.

Whether you’re team dog or team cat, these tips can help you enjoy life without having to give up your beloved Fido or Whiskers. Although, it’s important to note that these tips should only be applied if your allergies are not life-threatening and you should check with your doctor to make sure these tips are right for you.

Invest in a HEPA Filter

Pet dander can stay suspended in the air for long periods of time (not exactly a pleasant thought), and a HEPA filter can help filter and remove those tiny allergens from the air. Opt for a stand-alone filter for each area of your home rather than a whole-house system for the best results. This home adjustment should have you one step closer to breathing a little more easily—which means you can live with your pet more easily.

Say Sayonara to Carpet

Carpet is one surface that pet allergens love to cling to, so replacing your carpets with laminate or hardwood is a great option for reducing the likelihood of pet dander from lurking around even when your pet isn’t in the room. It’s a more drastic (and expensive) option, so if it isn’t right for you, try to vacuum and dust often and have your carpets professionally cleaned at least twice a year. While you’re at it, you might want to ditch the curtains and opt for a leather or vinyl couch because fabric surfaces can harbor pet allergens as well. If that’s not an option, try to select a couch with a tight weave to minimize the number of allergens that can get wedged in between the fibers.

Make Bath Time a Weekly Occurrence

Bathing your pet often is important for keeping allergy-causing dander at bay. Plus, it keeps your pet smelling nice and clean, which is a definite bonus. Be sure to use a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian to avoid drying out your pet’s skin, which could contribute to more pet dander on your floor.

Create a Pet-Free Sanctuary

Create a zone in the house, such as your bedroom, that is off-limits to your pet. This will give you a place where you can go when your allergy symptoms are flaring up so you can give your itchy eyes and runny nose a break. We recommend that you change your clothes when you enter into your pet-free room after spending time in other areas of your home, as those pesky allergens can cling to your clothing and penetrate your allergy-free sanctuary.

Opt for a More Allergy-Friendly Breed

Although there are no truly hypoallergenic pets, there are a few breeds that are better suited for allergy sufferers. If you’re looking for a dog, consider a Bichon Frise, an Italian greyhound, or a Portuguese water dog. If cats are your furry friend of choice, opt for a Balinese, a Sphynx, or a Javanese.

Choose a Different Kind of Pet

For those with severe or life-threatening allergies, your life doesn’t have to be pet-less. You may want to adopt a pet other than a cat or a dog, like a turtle, a fish, a snake, or even a Tamagotchi. (Hey, we won’t judge.)

If the tips above don’t give you any relief, try making an appointment with a doctor who specializes in allergies. You can get tested to see which allergens cause you to react, and you can talk to your doctor about immunotherapy, which can offer great relief from allergy symptoms.

When it comes to your pets, there’s little you wouldn’t do for them. And if making a few tweaks to your home and your lifestyle means you can keep your four-legged friend around, we’d bet you’d be willing to try anything. After all, a dog (or a cat) is man’s best friend, right?

Are you struggling with seasonal allergies? We’ve got plenty of options for you. Take back your sinuses (so you can adopt as many Siberian Huskies and chocolate labs as you want). Visit an ENT specialist to discuss how to live allergy free with your pets. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!

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