What to Do If Friends or Family Are Allergic to Your Pet

A guide to helping those you love be more comfortable in your home.

You just brought home this little bundle of furry joy and you are obsessed with it. Whether a puppy, kitten, or a more senior new friend, this animal is now a major part of your life. So, there is absolutely nothing worse than finding out that a loved one is seriously affected by this pet. You don’t want to alienate a friend who enjoys spending time in your home, but you also don’t want to send away this pet that you have started to create a bond with. If this person with allergies is a member of your immediate family, this struggle can be even worse. Before you make any snap decisions, try out some of these steps to help make your loved ones more comfortable in your home. If you are willing to put a little extra effort in, you might just be able to make everyone happy, including your new furry friend.

Designate pet-free spaces.

If the person with allergies is a member of your immediate family, or someone who regularly stays in a guest room of your house, make their bedroom a pet-free zone. Keep the door closed to keep pet dander and fur from entering the space and ensure that your pet does not enter this room. This will give the person a sanctuary from the allergy symptoms and allow them to sleep comfortably. If you are more concerned about visiting company, keep pets out of the living room or other hang out space. This can be accomplished with baby gates, invisible fences, or some training. If you can close a door to this area, that might be the ideal solution, particularly if you have cats. Have the pets spend time outside right before your guests are over. For cats this can be accomplished with a window enclosure or an outdoor catio (cat patio). Spending time outside allows excess fur and dander to blow away in the wind, making them more bearable for your guests.

Keep your house clean.

Wiping and vacuuming away the excess fur and dander regularly will keep it from building up and make the air easier on your loved ones. This will also require investing in allergen proof vacuum bags, as only these special bags will trap all the allergens and keep them from just being blown around by the vacuum. If you have a cat, regular litter box maintenance is crucial to riding your house of allergens found in cat urine. Dust free cat litter will also help keep the air more breathable. Be sure to focus this cleaning on any surfaces your pets spent the most time on, including all fabric furniture and even window curtains that can collect dander. Remember to wash pet beds regularly as well. Keeping a couch cover on any couch or chair that your pet is allowed to sit on will help in this process as they are easy to remove and wash regularly.

Brush your pet.

Make a schedule for brushing your pet to keep the loose fur from shedding in your home. Always brush pets outside when possible, or at least away from fabric furniture and carpets. Most pet stores also sell wipes specifically designed to clean allergens off of your pet between baths. This can be a good solution for cats as most people do not bathe them as regularly as dogs. Be sure to always brush your pet really well before your loved one visits your home.

Remove allergen magnets.

If your loved one with an allergy is a member of your immediate family or spends much of their time in your house, this tip might be especially important for you. Pulling up carpets and removing thick heavy drapes from your house will not only improve pet allergens but also remove dust allergens from your home as well. Putting a plastic mattress cover on all mattresses will also help keep them from absorbing allergens.

Consider an air purifier.

Air purifiers can be a great option for keeping allergens from taking over your home. They can be found everywhere from Amazon to target and come in a variety of colors and prices. With the wide availability it isn’t hard to find one that will fit your home and budget. These fan-like devices work to keep pollutants, odors, and allergens out of the air in your house. They are highly recommended by allergy specialists and allergy sufferers alike. When paired with any of the tips above, an air purifier can boost your efforts to really make your home more comfortable for all those with allergies. These devices also work on a range of allergens, not just pet allergens, making spring time more bearable for anyone with seasonal allergies and winter easier for those bothered by dust.

Hopefully, these tips help reconcile the divide between man’s best friend and your best friends. Your friends and family can also help take steps to keep themselves comfortable by taking over the counter allergy pills or seeing an allergy specialist, if possible. There are certainly plenty of ways to keep your furry friend from heading back to the shelter! So, don’t give up on them before giving these tips a shot. 

Alina Gallupe
Alina Gallupe

I am a graduate student studying Mental Health Counseling in Cambridge, MA. Long time reader and novice writer. I strive to combine my mental health knowledge and my love of writing to explore all topics related to the human experience. 

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What to Do If Friends or Family Are Allergic to Your Pet