For animal lovers with allergies, the decision to get a pet isn’t made lightly. On one hand, the benefits of bringing a furry friend into your home are incredible – a constant companion, a built-in lesson in responsibility and compassion for kids, a point of connection for every member of the family. On the other hand, the symptoms of an allergic reaction are no fun at all. No one wants to deal with swollen, itchy eyes, congestion and sneezing every day. But there’s good news: There are ways to get a handle on your allergen sensitivities so you don’t have to miss out on adding Fluffy or Snowball to the fam. Read on for tips and tricks on how to make it work.
Know what your sensitivities really are. Don’t assume it’s your pet.
Many people just assume that they’re allergic to certain animals or even certain animal breeds, based on the way their body reacts when in the presence of that species. But if you’ve never been tested by an allergist or immunologist—a physician who is trained to diagnose and treat allergies, asthma and other immunologic responses—you may actually have self-diagnosed the wrong allergy. Allergens can also be compounded, which means that, while you may have a sensitivity to pet hair and dander—the protein and other materials an animal sheds—knowing the other exacerbating triggers in your home will help you to fully address the issue. An allergist can also potentially prescribe medication that will help to manage your allergy issues.
Reduce other allergens in your home.
Once you’re sure of your allergen sensitivities, get to work on cutting down the allergen lode in your home. Look at all of the elements of your life and identify what is contributing to the environment. Do your research and figure out how to tweak your routines, and the routines of your animals. Purina® Pro Plan® LiveClear™ is a great example of how a small change can make a difference, specifically for cat owners. Purina® Pro Plan® LiveClear™ is a 100 per cent complete and balanced dry cat food that is shown to reduce allergens in cat hair and dander by an average of 47% starting in the third week of daily feeding. (This breakthrough product is the culmination of a decade of research dedicated to finding a safe, effective way to address a problem experienced by cat owners—and would-be cat owners—worldwide!) By making this change, and other changes to address whatever allergens you and your family face, you can make cat ownership that much easier. Purina® Pro Plan® LiveClear™ is sold across Canada in select pet speciality retail outlets, online and at veterinary clinics in Adult Chicken & Rice and Adult Salmon & Rice.
How Purina® Pro Plan® LiveClear™ works:
The key ingredient in this cat food is a protein sourced from eggs. When cats chew the LiveClear kibble, this protein binds to a feline protein called Fed d 1 largely secreted in cat saliva, and safely neutralizes it in the cat’s mouth. By reducing the Fel d 1, it reduces the allergen transferred to the cat’s hair and dander.
Create an allergy-free zone and keep your animals off the bed.
Designate an area of your home where your pets aren’t permitted to hang out. Your best bet is likely the bedroom, as having a space to sleep where you have taken extra precautions to control allergens is a great idea. If your animals are allowed in your bedroom, do your best to keep them off of the bed as bedding can be a dander and hair trap. You should also use a mattress cover in order to keep your sleep environment clear of animal allergens.
Stay on top of your pet’s grooming.
Bathing and brushing your animals often can go a long way to reducing the hair and dander shed. Just be sure to use only products designated for your pet—when it doubt, ask your vet for an appropriate recommendation.
Learn to love cleaning.
In addition to increased grooming for your pet, your home will need a consistent cleaning schedule, too. Sweep and vacuum often, and get in the habit of washing things like curtains, pet beds and soft textiles regularly. If you start to notice that you’re reacting more to your environment all of a sudden, book a block of time to give your home a thorough deep-clean. You can also try high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters in your home, which will help to catch pet dander as well as many other allergic materials.
With a little extra effort, allergens won’t get in the way of adding a pet to your family. Take stock of your home and routines, devise a plan and you’ll have a furry friend in your arms in no time.