Dander is made up of tiny specks of dead skin shed from an animal. Dander can come from virtually any pet, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents. It can be hard to totally avoid dander, as it is everywhere. Even if you don’t have dogs, someone with them could bring dog dander into your house through their clothing.
Many people have no effects from dog dander. However, some people have allergies or asthma that can worsen by coming into contact with it.
Symptoms of dog dander-induced allergies or asthma
Those who suffer allergies or asthma may experience inflammation in the eyes and a stuffy nose. If the dog has scratched or licked an area of the body, it will turn red. If the dander gets into the lungs, it can cause breathing problems. A person may develop wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. A rash may also appear on the chest and neck of those who are extremely sensitive to dog dander.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation has an informative website that discusses asthma and allergies in more detail .
Reducing dog dander
Many people have allergies or asthma so severe that they must give up their dogs. Removing the dog from the home and keeping it outside is an option; however, dog dander can remain in homes for months after.
If you cannot bear to give up your dog, you will need to be aggressive about keeping dog dander to a minimum. Here are some ideas to help you minimize it.
- If the pet must stay in the house, make some areas off-limits. For example, if you have allergies, keep the dog out of your bedroom. Use gates and fences to restrict the dog.
- Use a HEPA filter when you vacuum. A HEPA filter is specially designed to remove dog dander and other allergens from the carpets.
- Better yet, remove the carpets from the home. Carpets harbor allergens for long periods of time, and they can be hard to fully remove. Instead, use tile or wood flooring throughout the home. Use rugs if needed and just wash them.
- Brush your dog daily. If you are the one with allergies, have another member of the family brush the dog outside so that dander does not spread in the house. Use a slicker brush, which is a specially designed brush that removes dead skin from the dog.
- Control shedding by bathing the dog regularly – at least once a week. There are specially formulated dog dander control and allergy shampoos that you can buy at your local pet store.
- Feed your dog food that contains salmon oil. Salmon oil has been proven to maintain your dog’s coat. It promotes healthy skin and reduces dander. A high-quality diet goes a long way to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
Controlling dog dander can be time-consuming, but if you truly love your dog and want to keep him despite suffering from allergies or asthma, hopefully these tips will work.