Alex loves animals and is an experienced licensed veterinary technician with a BS in Biology and an AS in Veterinary Technology.
Allergies are frustrating. Trust me, I know. My own dog suffers from environmental allergies. Pet can have allergies that are contact, inhaled, or food-based. Of course, your pet could be super special and have all three types.
- Inhaled allergies are allergies that are inhaled, shocking I know. Examples of these can include mold spores, pollen, and dust.
- Contact allergies are caused by direct contact with the allergen.
- Food allergies are fun. There is a lot of misinformation circulating around on the internet about food allergies. Essentially, the pet is allergic to any ingredient in something and the body reacts in different ways. As this article is mainly about helping supplement vet-guided treatment, I will not go any further on food allergies, I'll save that for another article so I can do the topic full justice.
If your dog has been diagnosed with environmental allergies, either inhaled or contact, your veterinarian will help you to come up with a treatment plan.
The first step is to get control of the situation, this will likely include treating any secondary infections that have manifested as a result of the allergies.
Once these secondary infections are under control you can fully focus on keeping the exposure to allergens to a minimum and treating the allergies according to the veterinarian's game plan.
Since it is not possible to remove all the offending plants outside, this often means cleaning the home. Depending on how severe your pet's allergies are you may want to tailor this plan more or less frequently. Remember, this is just a suggestion to help supplement allergy treatment.
- Home foundation: Check for gaps, cracks, and leaks and address with a waterproofing seal.
- Carpets: Have carpets professionally cleaned and sanitized to remove allergens. Consider replacing with wood, tile, or linoleum if possible as allergens can get stuck in carpet fibers and remain in the environment for long periods of time.
- Extermination: Consider having your home services by a professional exterminator, particularly if your pet has a flea, roach, or another insect allergy.
- Air ducts: Have the air ducts professionally cleaned.
- Mold inspection: Inspect the interior and exterior of the home for visible mold growth. If necessary, consult a professional mold removal service.
- Windows and doors: Check and seal all gaps and leaks. Ensure screens are properly installed. Keep windows closed on windy days.
- Plumbing: Check faucets and pipes for leaks and repair if found.
- Home exterior: Treat foundation with a fungicidal spray.
- Bedding: Clean mattresses and place allergy cover if possible.
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- Air filters: Inspect air conditioning and heating filters for cleanliness and to ensure proper installation. Remember to check filters on air purifiers as well.
- Landscaping: Prune trees and shrubs near the house and inspect for signs of mold growth.
- Dust control: Use a static cloth or dust spray. Allow dust at least 20 minutes to settle prior to vacuuming. Store items that gather dust in sealed boxes or display items in a glass case.
- Vacuum: Thoroughly vacuum. Use a vacuum with a filter size of 5 microns or smaller to trap dust mites, mold spores, and pollen. Change, or clean, the filter regularly.
- Dehumidifier maintenance: Clean filter and collection chamber with 10% bleach solution.
- Laundry: Wash all bedding and stuffed toys in hot water. If possible, run an exhaust fan while laundry running. Always dry washed items in the dryer and not line-dried outside. Store washed items immediately after washing.
- Garbage: Remove garbage bag removed at least weekly. Wash garbage collection containers and spray with insecticide if need be.
- Bathroom and kitchen: Clean any visible mold with 10% bleach solution.
- Dogs: Bathe dog weekly to remove dust and pollens.
- Dehumidifier maintenance: Remove water from the collection chamber.
- Dogs: Wash paws when returning from outside to remove dust and pollen.
My Carpet Shampooer
Now, in a perfect world with an unlimited budget, this is what is recommended to help prevent allergens from accumulating in your home. However, we live in the real world and not all these things are possible.
I always use my dog as an example, mainly because like a true pet of any person in the veterinary industry, she has her fair share of issues. We live in an apartment that is carpeted. We cannot remove the carpet. We also have no control over the maintenance and upkeep of the building and the grounds.
During seasons she has allergies, which coincide with my seasonal allergies, we wipe down her paws with a damp rag when she comes in from walks. She gets a bath once weekly, during her allergy seasons. She also takes her daily allergy medication. Around the house, we vacuum the carpets weekly and then shampoo them every other week.
Staying on top of all this has helped to reduce the symptoms her allergies cause, and she has not had any issues with secondary infections. I've also noticed that my seasonal allergies are not nearly as bad after we started vacuuming and shampooing the carpets more regularly. I actually used her allergies as an excuse to get a new carpet shampooer since the one I had was super old.
I also keep on hand medicated wipes just in case she has some breakthrough licking. I can spot treat the area before she can cause a secondary infection.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
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