How to Reduce Pet Allergens in Your Home


Allergens are a fact of life in homes with dogs. Dead skin, saliva and pet waste are all sources of allergens that, depending on each individual person, can trigger an allergic reaction. But there are ways to reduce pet allergens in your home through a combination of housecleaning, using products and setting aside portions of your home to be dog-free, if your allergies demand that level of care.

Battling Pet Allergens With Housework

  • Treat pet allergens like any other kind of dust in your home. Be sure to use a damp cloth when you dust so you don’t cause pet allergens to become airborne. If your allergies are severe, have another family member take over dusting and vacuuming chores.
  • Your clothes carry allergens from your interactions with your dog. When you remove your clothes, put them in a closed hamper that’s away from your living and sleeping areas.
  • Wash your bedding and your dog’s bedding in hot water to remove allergens.

Battling Pet Allergens With Products

  • Use an air purifier to remove small particles from the air. It’s especially helpful to keep the air purifier close to your bed.
  • Invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
  • In your central air system, use special filters made for homes with pets, such as the Filtrete Elite Allergen Reduction filter from 3M. Change these according to manufacturer’s instructions, usually every three months.
  • Shampoo carpets and upholstery to remove allergens. Products like the Rug Doctor Anti Allergen Carpet Cleaner are formulated to encapsulate pet dander and other allergens for removal.
  • Use special mattress and pillow encasings made to prevent allergens from collecting where you sleep.

Battling Pet Allergens With Prevention

  • Whenever possible, play with your dog outside or away from your sleeping area while indoors.
  • Always groom your dog either outside or at a professional grooming salon. You’ll also find self-service dog wash stations that are helpful for keeping dander out of your house. If you must groom your dog yourself, use a product like the Dyson groom tool (, which pulls dander and hair into the vacuum before they can become airborne.
  • Consider a no-dogs rule for portions of your home, especially the bedrooms of all family members with allergies.

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Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the founders of and the authors of Barkonomics: Tips for Frugal Fidos. They are frequent contributors to The Dog Daily. The husband-and-wife team lives with its two rescue dogs, Irie and Tiki, in Texas.

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