How to Reduce Pet Dander and Allergens in Your Home: An Expert's Guide

If you or your family suffer from allergies or asthma, you can reduce the symptoms and triggers by controlling pet dander in your home. Many coarse-haired pets shed their protective undercoat of fur, which releases dander into the air. This can cause contact dermatitis, skin rash, hives, or even asthma in a person. Even if there are no pets in the house, animal dander can still be present due to how quickly allergens spread.

The best way to manage pet allergies is to minimize exposure and avoid contact. If that's not possible, make sure to clean furniture, rugs, and clothing immediately after contact. Washing your hands or even taking a bath after direct contact with the animal is also recommended. To reduce the buildup of pet dander in the house, there are several tips you can follow:

  • Clean your house regularly and tidy up your home.
  • Bathe and brush your pet regularly.
  • Use a HEPA filter.
  • Change HVAC filters regularly.
  • Use hard flooring material.
  • Restrict pet entry to certain areas.
Brush your pet in an enclosed area, away from the person with asthma.

You can also create a pet-free zone and use air filters to reduce the amount of allergens in the air. Pet dander is microscopic and can remain suspended in the air for a long period of time, easily adhering to furniture, bedding, fabrics, and many other household items. To capture these particles, you'll need an air filter with a high MERV rating. Wash sofa covers, pillows, curtains, and pet beds frequently and keep pets away from carpets and furniture.

Focus on areas where your pet stays regularly and make sure that they are vacuumed and free of pet hair or dander. The term “hypoallergenic” is often misinterpreted to mean that these pets are guaranteed to be “safe” for people with pet allergies. In addition to dandruff, people with pet allergies can also be allergic to proteins found in pet saliva, urine, and feces. These pets produce fewer allergens than other pets, making them better options for people with pet allergies.