According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, three in 10 Americans experience allergic reactions to cats and dogs, with cat allergies being about twice as common as dog allergies. If you’re guest is one of those three out of 10, take a look at these tips for helping them feel welcome in your home.
Clean Your Home
Regularly cleaning your home can greatly reduce the effect your pets have on guests, so make yourself aware of the recommended schedule of common cleaning tasks. Hair and dander are the most common cause of pet allergies, so focus particularly on their removal. Rugs and carpets are particularly strong traps for hair and dander, as are couches and other soft furniture. By keeping things swept, dusted, and vacuumed, you can prevent buildup of hair and dander that often trigger allergy symptoms. If your guest is staying overnight, pay particular attention to the area they’ll be sleeping in. Wash all bedding and pillows they’ll be using, sweep or vacuum under the bed or other furniture, and dust thoroughly. If you use the area to store spare bedding, out-of-season clothing, or other fabrics, give those a good airing out as well. Alternatively, store these things in sealed containers that can be dusted easily.
An important note here is to give yourself time to complete these tasks. Deep cleaning should occur well before the guests arrive, as it can stir up the dust, hair and dander in your home, especially if you’ve fallen a bit behind. Give the dust time to settle before the guest arrives, and stick to simple preventative maintenance tasks in the days before their visit.
Keep Up on Pet Hygiene
Consult your veterinarian for shampoo recommendations that are safe, but also high quality cleaning agents. Ask them about an appropriate schedule for bathing and tips for routine hygiene. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, bathing your pet weekly will reduce dander, dust and bacteria, which in turn reduces allergy symptoms. Regularly brushing your pet can also reduce the amount of hair that is shed throughout the house, making cleaning a bit easier on you! Don’t forget the treats and rewards for Fluffy for their cooperation and good behavior.
Change Your Air Filters
Generally, it is recommended that you change your air filters once every 3 months, at minimum. However, for homes with pets, the frequency increases. Homes with one dog or cat should change filters every two months, and homes with two or more pets should change filters about once a month. Filters with a MERV 13 rating can be especially helpful in eliminating dust and dander for allergy sufferers.
Stock Up on Medications and Supplies
Obviously, the medication that is best for your guest will be worked out between them and their doctor. However, it can be helpful to have a few over-the-counter allergy medicines available. Even if your guest isn’t allergic to Fido, seasonal allergies are also common, and it is always good to be prepared. Be sure to keep these medications well labeled, and hang on to any inserts and guidelines provided by the manufacturer, so your guests can make informed decisions about their health. Other basics like tissues, eye drops and nasal sprays can also come in handy.
Separate Your Pets
It may not be fun for Fluffy or Fido, but keeping your pets separate from the group is an important consideration for guests with allergies. Your guest will be able to better identify the limitations of their allergy - do they simply need to avoid touching Fido, or should they be in separate rooms? If they must be separated, put your pets in a room your guest won’t be using, like a bonus room, your bedroom, or perhaps a garage or utility room. If the weather cooperates, Fido may not mind spending time outside. Ensure your pet has everything they will need to be comfortable also - they can’t help the dander they produce! Also, be honest with your guests and work with them to find a balance between their limitations and your pet’s comfort. If pets must be kept separate, it may be better for all parties to assist guests in finding other accommodations for longer visits.
Allergens can never be truly eliminated while your pet is living in your home, but these basic tasks can go a long way in making your guest feel welcome. Suffering from allergies is never fun, and sufferers shouldn’t be deprived of the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. Knowing you understand and are prepared to make accommodations can be a weight off, and they’ll be more likely to come back again when the next holiday or gathering rolls around.