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Healthy Homes: Reduce Pet Allergens

Step 1: Learn about pet allergens

  • All warm-blooded pets, including dogs, cats and birds produce substances called allergens.

  • Pet allergens are present in dander (flakes from the hair or skin), and substances in the saliva, feces and urine.

  • If your child is sensitive or allergic to pet allergens, having the animal in the house can make asthma symptoms worse.

  • Children may be allergic to only certain types of pets such as cats or dogs or may be allergic to nearly all types of furry or feathery pets.

  • There is no such thing as a low allergen (hypoallergenic) dog or cat.

  • Even homes without pets can have high levels of pet allergens.

  • Pet allergens are “sticky” and can become attached to clothing or furniture allowing them to be carried from one house to another.

  • Washing pets only reduces the amount of allergens on their fur for a few days.


Step 2: Take action

  1. Find a new home for the pet if possible.

  2. Keep the pet outside as much as possible if removal is not possible.

  3. Cat litter boxes should be covered and located in an area of the home as far away as possible from the allergic child.

  4. Create a pet-safe area for your child - do not allow the pet into your child’s bedroom. Keep the door to the bedroom closed as much as possible. Use child safety gates to confine your pet to areas of the house with hard flooring surfaces.

  5. Remove carpets to get rid of pet allergens – especially in your child’s bedroom. Replace carpets with hard flooring and area rugs that can be put in the washing machine.

  6. Wash walls and hard surfaces with soap and water.

  7. Wash “dust catchers” such as curtains, stuffed animals, and bed spreads to get rid of pet allergens. Eliminate as many of these “dust catchers” as possible from your child’s room.

  8. Vacuum your child’s room twice per week if carpeted – preferably when your child is not at home or outside. If the room is not carpeted, damp mop twice per week.

  9. Make sure you have a high-quality filter installed in your furnace.