Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dog Dander Blues.

If you suffer from dog allergies you should know that shaving your dog isn't the answer, neither is going the route of paying tons for a "hypoallergenic dog" just because you have allergies to dogs. Allergies are caused by dander, which is basically the dead skin that falls off of the dog. It's not the dog's hair that is the problem.

Dog dander exacerbates allergies and asthma due to the proteins, also called allergens, that are found in the dander. While less hair usually means less dander, don't be fooled that a dog can be completely hypoallergenic. Also, dander differs between breeds and animal species due to different mixes of proteins and cells found in the dander. People who suffer from dog allergies may be allergic to specific breeds of dogs, or they may be allergic to all dogs.

There are a few things you can do to reduce the dander in your home and on your dog . . .

1) Bathe your dog once a week or every other week. Use a soap-free, shampoo so you don't dry out skin and cause irritation. I like Earthbath Eucalyptus & Peppermint. It's all natural and safe for daily use and it doesn't wash off flea treatments!

2) Add Fish Oil to their diet, and feed a quality diet. Be sure you are feeding your dog a high quality diet as it can effect skin and coat conditions. Also add fish oil to your dog's diet. You add 1000mg per 10lbs/per meal. You can get fish oil capsules almost anywhere. My favorite is the liquid in the pump, called Grizzly Salmon Oil. (I've found it at City Pet Supply in Dallas.)

3) Vacuum your floors often. Vacuuming will remove any dander, dust, hair and any other things that can easily cause allergies or irritate them. It is recommended to vacuum daily if you can. Also get baseboards, under all furniture (dust bunnies love it there!) and in corners.

4) Filter the air. A portable high efficiency particle arresting air purifier will continuously filter dander from the air, and many are designed to run economically 24 hours a day. These air purifiers will not only remove dander, but odor, hair, dust, and many other household pollutants that may be present in your home. An excellent resource for a HEPA air purifier to remove dog dander is offered by Purer Air.

Nothing will completely rid your home or dog of dander but doing these things will reduce it such that you may possibly not have an issue at all. For those with more severe allergies using a daily Zyrtec or other daily OTC allergy medication may help as well (consult your physician first).

You shouldn't have to sacrifice the family pet due to allergies, just learn how to manage it!

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