Owning a pet can be one of life’s great pleasures. They relieve stress, help us get out and exercise more, and can be a great sounding board. They are always happy to see us and make great companions. But if you suffer from allergies or asthma, they can quickly go from best friend to worst enemy.

That is the case in my house. My wife and I love animals and have always had a pet of some sort around. But my wife suffers from allergies and pet dander can play havoc on her health. In order for us to keep pets we have to take extra steps to keep the pet dander and dust down in our house. Here are some of the things we do to keep our exposure to pet dander to a minimum.

Baby Jean

Keep floors clean. If someone in your house suffers from allergens then you have to step up your floor cleaning. Vacuuming floors regularly is an effective way to reduce the allergens that collect on bare floors, rugs, and carpets. However, vacuuming may kick up allergens into the air. If possible, vacuum when the person suffering from allergies is away. Also use a HEPA filter in your vacuum.   

Deep clean. If you have carpets, get them on a regular basis. This will help remove the allergens that regular vacuuming won’t remove. Also consider steam cleaning your furniture as well. Vacuum couches, chairs, drapes and other fabrics that may collect allergens. Periodically wash throw rugs, pillows, pet beds and blankets. Make sure not to forget cleaning ceiling fans and light fixtures.

Keep litter boxes clean. Litter boxes should be kept clean and moved out of living areas. We keep ours in the garage and the cats can access it through a pet door from the house. If you have cages for birds or rodents or crate your pets make sure to keep these clean. If possible, move these to areas of the house that the allergy sufferer doesn’t frequent. 

Bathe your pet regularly. Frequently washing your pet has been shown to reduce allergens, but this is more effective for dogs than it is for cats. Not only does bathing reduce dander but it also washes off any pollen your pet may have picked up from rolling in the grass or brush. Reduce allergens from your cat

A good diet means less dander. Many mistakenly believe that allergies come from an animal’s hair. However, most allergic reactions result from exposure to dander, which are the dead flaky skin cells on pets. A good well balanced diet will help cut down on dander. Also consider adding fish oil to your pet’s food to keep their skin and coat shiny and healthy.

Control air circulation. If you have allergies, consider and changing them more often than is typically required. Consider closing heat registers in rooms where the person with allergies spends much of their time. Be wary of turning on fans as this may stir up dander and other allergens.

Designate pet free areas. Keep pets off couches, upholstered furniture, and beds. Restricting pets from specific rooms, such as bedrooms, can also help the allergy sufferer. Consider keeping pets out of the vehicle, or at least allowing them only in the far back.

These are many of the steps we take to maintain a balance between our pets and my wife’s allergies. Although keeping up with cleaning this much can be a headache, it pays off in being able to have pets in our house.

 

Sean ArmstrongSean Armstrong is an advocate for clean air and healthy living. He tends to worry about too many things he can’t control, and has recently been following environmental issues and sharing what he learns with others.

 

By Natalie Gomez 36 hours ago 0 Comments
Repost This

Let's face it -- we love our pets, but the constant dirt and fur they leave all over the house? Not so much. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your pets comfortable and maintain a beautiful home. Below are some tried-and-tested tricks to help you keep your pets' mess at bay.

Regular Hair Grooming

Regular grooming or even just brushing your pet's hair thoroughly in the garage effectively lessens shedding. Trim their hair to keep them from scratching and brush their coats to take away loose fur.

Grooming

Regular Nail Trimmings

Having your pet's nails clipped on a regular basis helps reduce scratch marks on furniture, carpets, and doors. If you have cats, get a scratching post to give them a constant place to claw on.

Nail Trimmings

Towel by the Door

Before your pets enter the house, wipe their paws on a towel to keep them from tracking mud, dirt, or snow across your floor. For rainy and snowy days, leave a small basin of warm water by the door before taking the dogs out for a walk. When you return, wash their paws and then dry them with a towel before letting them back in.

Pet Sponges

Keep a handful of pet sponges on hand for stray fur. These can be found at pet supply stores and come in handy when removing hair from fabric upholstery, clothes, and blankets. They are used dry, so you don't have to worry about getting your fabrics damp during cleanup.

Pet Blankets

If your pets have that special place in the house they keep coming back to, then make them more comfortable. Spread a blanket to catch any fur or dirt they might leave behind. Afterwards, shake out their blankets to get rid of the dirt.

Blankets

Mat-lined Food Bowls

Some pets are just messy eaters. Protect your floor by placing a rubber-backed mat under their food bowls. This keeps the bowls from sliding all across your floor as it catches spills. Once your pets are done eating, simply shake off the mat. In case they spill water, soak the liquid out with newspaper before cleaning the mat.

Food Bowls

Mat-lined Litter Boxes

For cat owners, line the litter box with a mat to catch erratic litter that sometimes gets stuck underneath your cat's paws. The mat traps litter every time your cat walks out of the box.

Toy Box

Store all your pet's toys in a box and keep it somewhere accessible, but out of the way. This is helpful if you have small children as it reduces the risk of stepping or tripping on small items. If you have the time, you can also train your pets to put their toys back in the box by themselves.

Toy Box

Clean-up Kit

To make cleanup easier, prepare a kit that you can just grab from under the sink. Items such as spray-stain removers, towels, paper towels or old newspapers, and wet wipes in a bucket or basket can come in handy.

Clean-up Kit

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an efficient cleaning agent and odor remover. Use it in litter boxes or cages to get rid of unpleasant scents. In case of "accidents," on carpets or rugs, sprinkle liberally on the spot and leave overnight to soak in the odor. Vacuum the next day or even better, air-dry under the sun.

Finally, don't forget to ask for help. Professional cleaners can get rid of the more stubborn stains, while pet trainers can give you tips on training your furry friends. Make cleanup easier and less tiring for you by being prepared and anticipating your pet's needs.

 

Jennifer Lutz

Jennifer Lutz writes about home-related topics at blog.christmastreemarket.com.

 

 

 

By Natalie Gomez 11 days ago at 2:00 pm 0 Comments
Repost This

Few things are as thrilling as bringing home a new pet. Your current pet, however, may not share this excitement. Even if your existing pets are laid-back and low-maintenance, bringing a new animal home will require some work and a lot of patience. This can be an extremely stressful event for the current pet, especially if he or she is used to being the only pet in the home. Things might be a little rocky at first, but there are a few things you can do to help this transition go a little smoother and keep all the pets happy.

Adding a New Pet to the Family? How to Avoid Jealousies and Keep the Peace

Breed

Breed consideration should be thought out carefully. Physical size differences, such as pairing a Chihuahua with a Great Dane, can be an issue for the smaller pet. Whether accidental or intentional, there is the opportunity for the smaller pet to get hurt. Different breeds offer different dispositions. An easygoing pit bull may not be able to get along with a high-strung Chihuahua. Once again, your existing pet might seem indifferent towards other animals, but this could change once another animal is actually in the home.

Neutral Meeting Place

Choosing a neutral place to introduce your pets is the best way to start, just so that the current pet isn’t ambushed. You can choose a neutral meeting ground, such as a park. Taking your current pet away from its territory will help reduce the stress during their first meeting. If two or more current pets are meeting for the first time, introduce each pet to the new pet individually. Your current pets might get territorial if you merely bring a new pet home one day and let him or her roam free.

Separate Bed and Breakfast

Many pets (especially dogs) get very testy and jealous when food is involved. Each pet should have its own eating space with its own water bowl and food bowl, as well as its own sleeping area and bed. This will help the pet acclimate on its own terms and pace. For the first little while, it’s a good idea to have separate feeding times so that you don’t have any fights breaking out over breakfast. By putting one animal in a different room or outside while you feed the other, you avoid any stealing of food or jealousies over portions. It can be tough to get each animal to use their own bed, but as long as there is a separate space for each animal, there will be less fights over property.

Walking

Walking the pets together will help strengthen their relationship by allowing for some fun while being in a neutral place. It is best if there is one person per pet, particularly on their first walk. The leashes should be kept loose, especially when the pets choose to interact. Low-key activities go a long way in establishing a bond between the pets. It teaches them to like each other if good things always happen when they are together. Always praise both animals regularly and in a light-hearted tone.

Pack Hierarchy

If you have more than one existing pet, one is usually dominant. Bringing in a new addition to the pack will sometimes change the social structure. The new pet may become the new ruler, or a normally dominant pet may become subordinate in the structure. Whatever hierarchy evolves, it should be respected. Forcing a change to the pack might foster inter-pack hostility. No matter what changes occur, be sure to provide equal attention, praise, and discipline to each animal so that jealousies don’t arise over who is most-loved by the owner.

Supervision

Providing stringent supervision and crating the pets when left alone should help reduce any possible friction, particularly for the first month or so. You might think that your existing pets would never hurt another animal or misbehave, but you never know how they will respond when you throw another pet into the mix. Drastic changes in a pet’s life (such as adding someone to the family) can cause them to act out to get attention or express frustration, so keeping a close eye on both new and old pets for the first little while will help you avoid any incidents.

The key to successfully adding another pet to the family is to be very patient and take things slow. Bringing in a new addition to the family requires everyone to make adjustments. You have to consider how scared the new pet might feel, or how threatened or neglected your old pets will feel if you don’t tread carefully. Keep in mind that it will take some time for your animals to create a comfortable relationship, but after a while, the new pet will find his or her place within the home. Information for this article was provided by professionals at the Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic, a Toronto veterinarian clinic.

 

Dixie SomersThis article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write about business, women's interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband, three daughters, and a spunky Jack Russel Terrier who makes life interesting! You can follow her on Twitter: @DixieSomers

By Natalie Gomez 16 days ago at 2:00 pm 0 Comments
Repost This