How to Reduce Pet Dander in Your Home

Pet dander (plus pets tracking in pollen) can aggravate seasonal allergies. We’re looking at how to reduce pet dander in your home and lower your risk of sneezing and feeling miserable this spring.

Allergy Relief - How to reduce pet dander in your home
photo by Kim Rosas

While we may think it’s impossible to have an allergen-free home with pets inside, there are some simple steps you can take to make your home livable. Here are some simple (and a couple of more involved) ways to reduce the pet related allergens inside your house.

What is dander?

Essentially dander is dead skin flakes that build up in an animals fur or hair. Dander is the chief trigger for allergy sensitivity when it comes to pets. If your pet is clean, you have less dander and shedding; hence, fewer allergens and allergy symptoms.

Clean Your Pet’s Feet After Outside Time

Ever take your dog for a walk only to be pulled into every yard in the neighborhood? Unless there’s a sign from a recent application, it’s hard to know which homeowners use pesticides and other unsavory chemicals on their lawns.

Exposure to these chemicals is less than ideal for your pet, and it’s also bad when your dog tracks them into your home.

The same goes for pollen and other allergens. If your dog runs through something you’re allergic to, then comes into the house (or sleeps on the furniture or your bed), you’re getting a much more direct exposure to it.

Have a towel available near the door so you can wipe your pet’s feet (and belly if fur is long) once you get back inside.

Bathe Your Pet Regularly

Regardless of how much you clean your house, if you have dirty pets (and dirty pet bedding), you’ll have a house with allergens.

A weekly bath can significantly reduce the amount of dander on your pet’s skin.

If your pet is prone to dry skin, use a shampoo specifically for dry skin (like Bodhi Dog Oatmeal Shampoo or Pets Are Kids Too for cats and dogs) so you won’t make the problem worse with frequent baths.

When tree and grass pollen are high, keep a clean towel near the door so you can easily wipe your pet’s paws and fur after going outside. This will keep your pet from tracking pollen into the house.

Along with regular baths, give your pet a good brushing once a day. Just make sure you brush them outdoors or in a place where the hair and dander won’t fly all through the house.

Keeping your pets clean also means keeping their bedding clean. The best way to remember to wash their bedding regularly is to make it part of the routine of bathing them. Pet goes into the sink or tub – bedding goes into the wash.

Dust and Vacuum Regularly

Regular cleaning will keep your house as dust- and allergen-free as possible and make a noticeable difference when it comes to air quality.

Dust before you vacuum so airborne particles don’t have a chance to relocate. A HEPA filter vacuum will remove up to 99.97% of all allergen and dust particles from the air in your home. If you don’t have time to vacuum a few times a week, try a robotic vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Allergy Relief - Reducing Pet Dander in Your Home

Felix, my jumbo fuzzy cat, likes to go out to the lanai for a daily roll in the spring pollen. I keep a towel by the door and try to intercept him with a damp cloth. But sometimes I’m too busy and find little yellow tracks on the hardwood. So I also keep a dust mop out and use it once or twice a day in that area when pollen season is heavy.

You can also vacuum daily or set a cleaning schedule on your robot vac app. If you’re not a fan of having everything in your home running off Wifi, many robot vacs work offline with manual settings.

And just like cleaning your pet’s feet when he comes in, take off your shoes at the door. This limits the amount of outdoor allergens coming into the house and also keeps your pet cleaner since they typically spend a lot of time on the ground.

Filter Your Indoor Air

You can keep the air inside your house cleaner by taking a few simple steps. When things start blooming in the spring, keep the windows closed during the worst of it.

Full disclosure – this is easier said than done because we love a nice spring breeze! We maintain that balance by running our AIR Doctor Pro air purifier full time on the days we just can’t stand to keep the house closed up. We love the AIR Doctor’s built-in sensor that tests the quality of the air and adjusts the filter to the correct level of filtration.

A good air purifier cleans the air and removes most of the allergens you breathe inside your home. A bonus is the cleaner the air, the less dust and dander. The less dust and dander, the less you have to dust.

Another great air filter option, the Rabbit Air filter allows you to customize what filters you want. They even have a specific Pet Allergy Filter. Or you can choose from options like Toxin Absorber (traps VOCs, exhaust fumes, and other chemical compounds), Germ Defense, or Odor Remover.

When buying filters for your furnace or air conditioning unit, invest a little extra money in the HVAC unit filters designed to reduce allergens. And remember to change them regularly.

And be sure to keep some air purifying house plants (peace lily, bamboo palm, mother-in-law tongue) in your home, but make sure they’re not the kind of plants that are dangerous to kids and pets.

Make One Room a Pet-Free Zone

Reduce pet dander in your home in a way that really counts by designating one room in your home as a pet-free zone, and stick to it. You can spend time with your pets throughout the remainder of the house, but keep one room free of pet hair and dander.

The best pet-free choice is your bedroom since you spend so much time there and sleep quality has a direct effect on your immune system (and your ability to handle allergies). You’ll save yourself some cleaning time in the bedroom and will breathe more easily at night.

Limit Cloth Surfaces

If your home has a lot of carpet and you can’t easily replace it with hardwood or tile, invest in a safe steam cleaning service at least twice a year. Choose mini blinds or shutters for your windows as they’re easier to wipe down to remove dust and pet allergens than drapes.

Train your pets to stay off of upholstered furniture or designate one chair or loveseat for pet cuddling and keep the others free from fur and dander.

If you have your own methods to reduce pet dander in your home, tell us about them in the comments.

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