Pets have their way of changing our lives with little to no effort. On the one hand, you are assured that there’s ‘someone’ waiting for you at home- even if you live solo. Dogs and cats are also up for a snuggle most of the time. They can help reduce your cortisol levels too.
However, they also have another side that pretty much all pet owners aren’t so comfortable with- their perpetual supply of dander. Pet dander can be a serious problem, especially if you are allergic to it. For those who are not allergic, it also poses a big challenge when it comes to keeping the house clean.
Regardless of which side you fall, here are 6 popular ways to reduce pet dander in your home.
1. Bathe your pet regularly
One question that we’ve been receiving lately is, ‘‘does bathing a pet help with dander?’’ Yes, this is actually one of the best ways of reducing pet dander in your home. A research study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that washing dogs leads to a significant decrease in the amount of pet dander allergen.
There’s a small catch to this method, though; you need to wash the pet at least twice a week. So, if you are used to bathing your furry/feathery friend every 3 months, it’s about time you upped your game. Of course, this won’t be an issue if you can’t afford to part ways with your pet.
When bathing your pet to reduce dander, you should use lukewarm water. Using hot water can dry out their skin leading to uncontrollable itchiness, which will only exacerbate the problem. On the other hand, pets don’t like cold water. It’s not only uncomfortable, but it can be painful too.
Again, be sure to use an anti-dander pet shampoo. Regular pet shampoo also works, though. However, don’t be tempted to use your shampoo on your pets as it’s slightly more acidic for their alkaline skin.
2. Vacuum your carpets and rugs daily
You must have heard that carpets and rugs need to be vacuumed at least twice a week, right? Now, if you are desperate to reduce pet dander in your home, you might want to start cleaning your floors daily.
Despite all the benefits that carpets and rugs add to your floors, they also act as a magnet for pet dander. This is one reason why pet lovers who are allergic to pet dander are often advised to consider bare floors.
If this is not an option for you, then be sure to spare a few minutes to give your carpets and rugs a deep clean daily. On this note, you might want to consider a cleaner head with stiff bristles that dig deep into the carpet to dislodge trapped dander.
On the same note, consider the filtration system of the vacuum cleaner. The last thing that you want is a model that sucks pet dander through the motor and then releases it into the air to irritate your nose, skin, and eyes.
The best vacuum cleaners for pet dander, allergies, and asthma are fitted with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters. These filters have densely matted fibers certified to trap and remove up to 99.97% of air contaminants that measure 0.3 microns.
It’s also essential to assess whether the assembly of the different components of the vacuum has been adequately sealed to prevent pollutants from leaking into the air.
3. Add an Air Purifier to your Arsenal
As some of the pet dander drops to the ground from your furry friend’s fur/hair/feather, another considerable percentage invades your air when dry. This is where an air purifier comes in handy.
An air purifier employs a system of fans and filters. The fans, which are rotated by a motor, pull in contaminated air from the room and force it through a series of filters that remove airborne contaminants, including pet dander, dust, pollen, and bacteria.
Besides the price tag, the next most significant factor that you want to think about when purchasing an air purifier for pet dander is the type of filter that it uses. Needless to mention, HEPA air purifiers have the upper hand in the struggle against pet dander and hair.
Another important consideration is the coverage- as in, how much space can it cover, 200 sq.ft? 400 sq.ft? As a rule of thumb, always match the vacuum cleaner’s coverage with the size of the room that you want to clean.
4. Baking soda- the magic powder!
Baking soda wears a lot of hats in the kitchen. This household staple can be an ingredient, a leavener, and even a fire extinguisher, among other roles.
If you are wondering how to get rid of pet odors, then you are way from exhausting the uses of baking powder.
This is an effective fix to that funky smell that comes from your pet’s house and accidents. The thing with this natural odor eliminator is that it absorbs the smells as opposed to masking them like what most commercial air fresheners do. Again, since baking soda is not malodorous, you can use it on your furniture, hardwood floors, carpets, and rugs.
When cleaning pet odors with baking soda, sprinkle the powder liberally over the affected area. If you are dealing with a deep-pile carpet, we’ve found that using a fine-mesh sieve to sprinkle the baking soda all around does an excellent job.
When you are done, use your fingers to work done the powder deep into the carpet where pet dander is very likely to have accumulated. Let the powder sit for a few hours or even overnight for optimum odor absorption.
Next, grab your vacuum cleaner and clean up the baking soda. If you can still smell the odor, repeat the process a second time.
5. Keep Fluffy off your couch and bed
Pets, especially cats and dogs, love lounging in their owners’ favorite spots, such as couch and pet. So, making these areas out of bounds is as mean as you can get to your furry friend. However, this is for the benefit of the 2 of you. So, go ahead and impose the restriction hoping that he/she understands.
There are several ingenious ways of keeping your couch and bed pup-free. First of all, make it impossible for your pet to get on them in the first place. This could be by placing a chair or an upside-down laundry basket on the couch when there’s no one sitting on it.
You could also block off the room when you are away. Reminding her that the bed is out of bounds whenever she attempts to climb also helps a lot. Above everything else, though, be consistent and train your pet to love his/her bed.
6. Clean your pets’ houses and beds often too
Vacuuming your carpets and replacing your bedsheets daily won’t be of much help if your pets spend most of their time in a dander-infested cage or bed. So, as you give your floors a deep clean, remember to do the same to your animal friend’s bed and blanket. Keeping your pet’s belongings clean is a superb way of keeping their fur/hair coat and skin healthy, which consequently leads to reduced flaking.
Pet dander refers to tiny (and sometimes microscopic) flecks of dead skin cells that animals, such as dogs, cats, rodents, and even birds shed. It is pretty much similar to humans’ dandruff that is easily visible due to excess flakes.
The exact cause of pet dander isn’t clear as of now. However, experts have partly linked it to poor diet and obesity. In extreme cases, pet dander could be an indicator of an underlying skin condition.
So, as you try out our recommended ways of reducing pet dander in your home, be sure to maintain a balanced diet for your pet too. Also, booking an appointment with your pet’s doc regularly may help catch skin and coat issues much earlier.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.