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Are you allergic to your dog?

The onset of Fall means more time indoors, and the dogs roaming the halls at Voyce will be wearing sweaters soon. With more time indoors, pet allergies can become an issue. 

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Dog lovers are as loyal as their companions. Many dog owners would rather suffer through itchy eyes or sneezing rather than give up their best friend. Fortunately,there are ways to mitigate or even eliminate allergy symptoms. Here are some things you can try to keep your dog and yourself healthier, happier and, most importantly, together:

·      Wash your hands a lot. Dander – dead skin cells that travel through the air and land on your skin and clothing – is a main allergen but it’s not the only one. The proteins you’re allergic to are also found in saliva and urine, so don’t let your dog lick your face, and always wash your hands after you pet him.

·      Remove carpets. Getting rid of carpets also gets rid of dander. Besides, hardwood floors are spiffy.

·      Clean the house often. A vacuum with a HEPA filter is best, as a regular vacuum just spews allergens back into the air. You can also wear a mask when you vacuum and dust.

·      Keep your dog off the furniture. Allergens can get embedded in upholstery, pillows and any other soft surfaces.

·      Wash your dog’s bedding frequently.

·      Create a dog-free zone. Keep your dog out of the bedroom to keep the air cleaner for 8 hours at a time.

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·      Bathe your dog with an allergen-inhibiting shampoo, but not too often. If you over-bathe, your dog’s skin will dry out and he’ll shed even more skin cells. Try an anti-allergen spray in between.

·      Brush your dog often. This will help distribute natural oils throughout his coat and cut down on skin drying. The brushing should be done outdoors by a non-allergic family member, but if that’s not possible, wear a mask.

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·      Get a HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air filter). There are a number of different air purifiers available, from whole-home systems to portable units, and they can significantly reduce the amount of allergens floating around in your house.

·      Talk to your vet to see if your dog’s skin and coat are in optimal shape.

·      Talk to your doctor about recommending a prescription treatment or over-the-counter solutions such as antihistamines and decongestants that are safe for long-term use. Allergy shots are a stronger option for tougher allergies.