My dog is a Jack Russell with short, straight hair. She doesn’t actually shed too much but since she has hair that means she has dander. This isn’t an issue most of the time, except when I have family to visit or go to visit family and want to take her along. Although she loves animals and adores Jack Russells, my mother is very allergic to dogs. She has a poodle-mix when she was a small girl and did pretty well with that dog. She once heard that that was due to the poodle in the dog. Supposedly, poodles have fur and not hair, so do not affect allergic people as much. Anyway, when she comes to visit me, I clean and vacuum like crazy and spray special stuff all over the upholstery. She takes antihistamine and brings an inhaler, but its a bummer for both of us.
I plan on visiting my folks at the end of the summer and I’m going to take my Jack with me. Mom says its fine but the dog will have to sleep in her crate on the screen porch. Not sure how I feel about that, so I’m looking into options.
First of all, there are treatments for the animal herself that might help. There is a spray called Allerpet and there are shampoos with salicylic acid that are supposed to neutralize the dander. These products get mixed reviews, certainly don’t do any harm and may even help to hydrate your pet’s skin so she scratches less. The American Humane Society advises that its probably best to just make sure the animal gets a good bath in lukewarm water and a good brushing at least once a week to remove excess dander.
Secondly, there is the environment around the animal. There are sprays to use in the air and on the carpets and upholstery. The two best ones I can find are ADMS Anti-Allergen Spray and Febreeze Allergen Reducer. You can buy both of them on Amazon. The ADMS product gets top reviews. I found some of the Febreeze product at a local grocery store and tried it. It smells good and it did not seem to bother my dog when I sprayed the couch and carpet with it. I understand these products are mostly de-ionized water which attracts the dander molecule to itself and neutralizes it. (Look at me getting all scientific!) I definitely plan to get several bottles for the trip and spray Mom’s house liberally with it.
Next, there are air filters. I’ve looked into the portable ones, and frankly, I got dizzy from the dollar signs swimming before my eyes. They can be expensive, and while they certainly can scrub the air, most claim it will take four to six weeks of continual use to see any difference with your allergies.
I also looked into other ways I can help with the air cleaning issues in my mother’s house as a result of having my pet there. I feel so bad about it but I know she really wants us to visit. When I looked into air purifiers, I also investigated the filters that can be used in a home’s HVAC system. This is the filter you buy at the local home store and place inside the uptake opening to your home’s air system. (It’s not usually something we renters worry about.) I’m thinking about buying a super high quality filter for my mom’s house. I’ve heard about HEPA filters, but I understand those are not useful for most home systems. Instead, buying a filter with pleats should be very effective. And, it will probably only cost me about $10-15. I plan on putting in a clean one when I’m there.
Another thing I found I can do is to have my parents air conditioning ducts cleaned after my dog and I leave. This shouldn’t be too expensive. I called a local company called Spring Hill ProAir and found that the cost is no more than the cost of a two nights in a hotel. Since I’m staying with them for this vacation and won’t have lodging costs for myself or the dog, I consider that very affordable.
It is important for me to visit family. I also consider my pet part of the family. My parents are not opposed to her visiting with me, but my mom’s allergies can be debilitating for her, so I must take them into consideration. Needless to say, I’m super glad I took after my dad’s side of the family in that regard…they have no allergies to animals!