Of course we love our furry and feathered friends. Their dander? Not so much. Read on for the scoop on pet dander, and the best ways to keep it at bay.
More than 60 percent of U.S. households have pets, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology*. Living in those same pet-owning households? Millions of family members who are allergic to them.
Despite a popularly held belief, it’s not pet fur or hair that people are allergic to, but rather the dander, or proteins found in animals’ shed skin.
Let’s be clear: Their fur isn’t helping matters. When pets lick themselves, they coat their fur in saliva, which also contains potentially triggering proteins. Their urine does, too. After it dries, it flakes off into the air.
What’s more, animal coats tend to collect additional airborne irritants, such as dust and pollen.
Allergens are teeny-tiny, light and able to linger in the air for a very long time. They’re jagged, too, so they cling to fabrics, such as upholsteries additional questioned furniture, bedding and clothes, where they secretly piggyback into public spaces and even others’ homes. That’s why allergens can be present even when there’s no pet in sight.
Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce dog and cat dander in your home:
Make the bedroom of anyone who has asthma or allergies off-limits to pets. Also try to keep pets off furniture, especially if it’s upholstered, and away from carpets.
Install an HVAC air filter designed to trap microscopic particles including pet dander, such as the Filtrete™ Smart Air Filter. Our Smart technology monitors the life of your filter and sends a notification to your smartphone via the Filtrete™ Smart App when it needs to be changed.
Allergy sufferers should scrub their hands after playing with pets. Wash soft things your pet regularly comes into contact with, too, such as favorite toys, beds and pillows.
Bathe and brush pets often. Weekly, if possible. If the bather/brusher is also the allergy sufferer, he or she should wear a mask while doing so.
Deep-clean your home often. Vacuum regularly, and dust with a damp microfiber cloth to best snag those sticky dander particles.
If possible, it’s best to trade wall-to-wall carpeting for a low-pile option or, even better, hard-surface floors.
An allergist or immunologist can help troubleshoot the best ways to manage pet allergy symptoms.