Pet dander — a mix of dead skin cells and hair — is a common household problem. But there’s hope! Try these tips to reduce your pooch’s pesky dander…
Schedule Bath Time
Depending on the season and frequency of outdoor play time, dogs need regular baths. Whether you choose to visit a local groomer or hose down your pooch in the backyard, make sure you scrub her with shampoo and rinse her coat well. This regular routine will keep your dog’s coat shiny, debris-free, and in the healthiest state possible. Are you allergic to pet dander? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) suggests that “washing the pet every week may reduce airborne allergens.”
Brush Your Dog Regularly
Take your dog outside and brush him regularly. Try using deshedding tools — like the special tools below, available at PetSmart — to remove excess dirt, skin and hair. According to the ASPCA, “regular grooming with a brush or comb will help keep your pet’s hair in good condition by removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout her coat, preventing tangles and keeping her skin clean and irritant-free.” If you are sensitive to pet dander, wearing a dust mask while brushing.
Some dog skin and coat supplements claim to minimize dog shedding. These products often contain a variety of vegetable oils, such as sunflower, safflower and flaxseed. Supplements — this option below is for sale at PetSmart — can potentially help reduce normal shedding.
Check the Carpet
If you have ongoing pet dander problems — and perhaps even allergy symptoms — the AAFA states that “bare floors… are best. If you must have carpet, select ones with a low pile and steam clean them frequently. Better yet, use throw rungs that can be washed in hot water.”
Use the Right Vacuum
Vacuums with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter are the most effective at removing pet dander in the home. If you have pet dander allergies, wear a dust mask while vacuuming.
Set House Rules
Although it’s tempting to cuddle with your dog on the couch, pet dander also accumulates on furniture. It’s a good idea to vacuum all couches, chairs, rugs and fabrics that come in contact with your household pets.
Pet dander doesn’t just stick to surfaces — it’s also floats on air. And while vacuuming regularly is a great way to reduce pet dander in your house, add dusting into your cleaning regime for a sparkling, dander-free home.
Visit the Vet
It’s normal for a dog to shed, but excess pet dander in the form of shedding, scabs or flaking skin can signal a deeper problem. Schedule regular veterinarian check-ups to ensure your dog stays healthy.
Learn more about your dog’s skin and coat health.
Talk to your veterinarian and groomer about reducing pet dander in your home, and share your suggestions in the Nat Geo DOGS forum!