How to Live with Pets if You Have Asthma

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Allergies are nothing to sneeze about.  Meanwhile, living with asthma can make sharing your home with pets very difficult.  However, we know that giving up your best fur-friend is not an option for animal lovers.   

So, while there is no other way to ensure a home free of pet allergens, we hope a brief explanation and some suggestions can help everyone live side-by-side. 

You are Allergic to the Dander  

Many people think it’s the hair or fur that causes the allergic reaction.  However, it is actually a myth that the animal’s fur actually triggers the allergies or asthmatic response. 

The allergy-inducing culprit is the pet dander.  Pet dander is actually made up of very tiny bits of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals.  These microscopic particles cause a reaction in people who are allergic to the triggers. 

All animals with fur produce dander.  However, there is some truth to the fact that longer-haired animals may be more likely to collect and carry more dander than shorter-haired ones.  So if you suffer from asthma and other allergies, a shorter-haired pet may be a preferable choice. 

Any dander can put asthma sufferers at increased risk of symptoms depending on the severity of their symptoms and how well the symptoms are managed. 

Is There a Hypoallergenic Pet? 

So you have asthma, but you just cannot live without a pet.  You start researching furless felines and Google search “hypoallergenic pooches.” 

The bottom line is, while certain people may be more sensitive to certain dog breeds and cat breeds than others, a truly hypoallergenic dog or cat doesn’t exist. 

Any pet with fur carries dander around with it. 

No matter which pet is part of your family, make sure that your pet is covered with PetFirst Pet Insurance. Get a quote today. 

Controlling Pet Allergens in the Home 

If a fur friend shares a home with an allergy sufferer, do what you can to minimize the pet allergens around the house: 

  • Keep pets out of bedrooms of allergy sufferers and asthmatics.
  • Wash your pet every week to reduce airborne allergens.  
  • Use air purifiers in the home to help remove pet allergens from the air.  
  • Keep pets off furniture and upholstery.  
  • Keep floors bare if possible.  If you have carpeting, steam cleans it frequently.
  • Vacuum regularly.  
  • Change the vacuum bag often.  
  • Keep pets off of carpeted areas if possible.  
  • Make sure your pet is brushed outdoors (preferably by a friend or family member who does not have a pet allergy) to remove dander.  
  • Do not allow dust to build up in your home.  
  • Clean walls and woodwork in the home.  
  • Look into asthma and allergy friendly home products.  
  • Change and wash clothes you have worn after spending time with your pet.   
    Talk to your doctor or allergist about medication or allergy shots. 

Create a Pet-free Zone 

Keep certain rooms off-limits to your pets.  Ideally, bedrooms and any rooms that have wall-to-wall carpeting are best kept pet-free.   

Restrict your pets to rooms with hardwood floors and tile, as these are the easiest to clean. 

The Takeaway 

It will take a little extra effort and cleanliness on everyone’s part to care for a pet if someone in the home has asthma.  However, it is also well documented that humans reap numerous health benefits from having a pet. 

Take care of your health and your furry friends so that you can both live happy and healthy - together. Having an active pet insurance policy can help with this.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.