5 Tips to Living with Allergies and Your Pet

A dog (or a cat!) is a man’s best friend — unless he triggers a watery, red-eyed and runny nose allergic reaction. You might think that if you have pet allergies, then adopting a puppy or kitten is out of the question — but that may not necessarily be the case. I’ve discovered first hand some great housecleaning tips and tricks that can make your life comfortable around your precious furry loved one without having to stock up on over-the-counter allergy medications.

My boyfriend owns an adorable orange tabby cat named after the Law & Order character, Detective Briscoe. He is strictly an indoor-cat who has full reign of a gorgeous 3-story New England home. Like all cats (and dogs), he carries dander that causes allergic reactions, but unlike most household pets, Briscoe is kept immaculately clean and so is the home he lives in.


Perhaps it’s partly my boyfriend’s slight obsessive compulsiveness that ensures everything is always spotless or that he works as a hospital pharmacist where everything needs to be perpetually sterile — whatever the cause, his home is truly spectacularly clean, but more notably, extremely hypoallergenic, and it’s relatively easy for him to maintain.

You may think that keeping your household neat and tidy on a regular basis takes a lot of effort — and sure, having a house full of mold, dust, and pet dander could seem like a daunting task to handle. But if you are able to diligently use some of these quick products on a regular basis, it will be much easier than sacrificing a full Saturday morning, or other precious time you have off from work, tackling your whole house and your pet!

How Have These Tips Been Successful?

My boyfriend had a house party of around 20 guests and he kept Briscoe in an upstairs guest room, away from everyone in the home, particularly because he didn’t want Briscoe to accidentally get let outside. One of the guests who attended (a spouse of one of his friends) has deadly severe pet allergies and frequently becomes symptomatic upon entering any home where a cat or dog resides. This guest did not even realize that my boyfriend had a cat for his entire visit and remarkably was able to enjoy others’ company throughout the home without showing any symptoms whatsoever.

The reason: Having a super clean cat and a super clean home.

Want to make your home allergy-friendly? Check out these 5 recommended products and tips below:

5 Tips to Living with Allergies & Your Pet

1. Dander Shampoo
My Recommendation: Pet Head Dander Lion Melon Cucumber Shampoo
Price: $10

Pet Head Dander Lion Melon Cucumber Foaming Cat Shampoo

Why is this so great?
Heard of Bed Head products? If so, this probably looks familiar. If you love the products you use on your own head, you’ll love the Pet Head products for your kitty. This is a hypoallergenic foaming cat shampoo that effectively removes pet dander AND destroys odors on contact. The  light melon cucumber scent is a fresh and clean smell that leaves your kitty smelling purfect.

TIP: Try washing your cat every other week ESPECIALLY if you have an outdoor cat. If you have a dog, every other week bathing is also a good idea because he can bring in tons of outdoor allergens into your home after his walks or being outside. Maybe it’s not pet allergies you’re allergic too — perhaps it’s just the Ragweed that was carried in your pet’s fur. That’s why the number one thing you can do to ensure that you remove dander on a regular basis is to have regular baths. Train your pet to have baths on a regular basis by starting this routine while he’s still a kitten or puppy.

Or, you maybe your kitty will just naturally love hanging out in places where you like to wash up, like the sink!

2. Dander Eliminating Spray
My Recommendation: Dander-Out Dander Remover & Body Deodorizer Spray
Price: $4

Earth Friendly Products Dander-Out Dander Remover & Body Deodorizer Spray

Why is this so great?
In between your kitty’s regular bath time, you can use this light spray to quickly keep the dander down and your feline pal smelling fresh. This product is created by Earth Friendly Products which are all biodegradable and recyclable.

TIP: If you have an outdoor cat or a dog who goes out for regular walks, he can tend to pick up smells from the outdoors along with other allergens that can irritate. Try using this spray on your pet before he re-enters your home so that you keep his dander down and reduce the potential for him to carry pollen and other outdoor allergens inside your home.

3. Allergy Air Purifier
My Recommendation: KAZ Inc HHT081 HEPAClean Tower Air Purifier
Price: $80

Kaz Inc HHT081 HEPAClean Tower Air Purifier

Why is this so great?
An air purifier will help to reduce pet dander by using a HEPA-Type filter which provides coverage for rooms up to 170 square feet. It also has 3 air cleaning levels, manual control dial and an antimicrobial-treated filter. Additionally, it has an independently controlled ionizer for improved capture of dust, dirt and pollen while freshening the air. Permanent HEPA filter can be vacuumed clean and there is also a washable pre-filter.

It’s great because it has a gentle, quiet hum that is barely noticeable and it doesn’t need to be monitored — it takes care of cleaning the air itself. Also, because it’s a tower style, it won’t take up much space and can be discreetly positioned.

TIP: Have a purifier located near your kitty’s or puppy’s favorite places to sleep — all pets have a few favorite spots. Ideally, it would be best to have more than one air purifier so that you have more than one room covered.

4. Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
My Recommendation: Black & Decker PHV1810 Pivot VAC 18V
Price: $54

Black & Decker PHV1810 Pivot VAC 18V Cordless Pivoting Hand VAC

Why is this so great?
If you’re like me, then dragging a heavy vacuum cleaner up the stairs is a tough task, especially as a 5’2″ petite woman. Thankfully, I have a big, strong boyfriend to help transport this appliance up and down the stairs, but if you are cleaning by yourself having a small handheld vacuum like this is a life saver and very easy to use. The pivot handle helps you maneuver easier around tight corners and spaces and the nozzle actually extends so that you can get into tight crevaces. It’s light-weight and the battery lasts a long time so you can get a number of uses out of it in between charging.

TIP: Try getting into the habit of charging your vacuum on a regular basis so that it’s always ready to go — this will enable you to use it more often.  Also, if you have a kitty like Briscoe who loves to play with cords, you may want to make sure the charger is positioned in a place that is hard for him to access to avoid the possibility of your feline chewing on the cord.

5. Use Multi-Purpose Cleaning Wipes
My Recommendation: Method All Surface Wipes
Price: $6.99  

Why is this so great?
Wipes are quick & easy to use. Grab one and go.  Finished putting on makeup or brushing your teeth? Wipe up the residue with a wipe and while you’re at it go over the glass mirror, counter surfaces, cabinets, — you name it. I love the Method Multi-Purpose Sprays too. The only thing is, you need to use paper towels or some other type of cloth with it. If you’re like me, you want something quick and easy. Plus, paper towels are pricey and while using a cloth is a good practice, you also have to make sure you are regularly cleaning that cloth. If you have allergies, you don’t want a rag sitting around that you’ve used to collect dust or residue around your home. I’ve tried the cloth option before and it only leads to sneezing.

TIP: Try getting the most out of your wipe by using both sides and going over as many surfaces as possible before you dispose of it. You can also lightly wet it to reactivate some of the product and wipe even more.

So there you have it — 5 products that will help keep your house and your pet clean in a quick and easy fashion, proven to work in my boyfriend’s house and proven to be effective for guests with extremely severe pet allergies.

But here are a couple other pet-allergy suggestions to take it even further (if you’re able to):

1. Try purchasing furniture that has microfiber upholstery.

Why? Microfiber is very hypoallergenic and will make it easy to keep clean and dander free. If you use the pivot handheld vacuum you can easily pick up any crumbs, hair, or pet dander from the cushions without having to break out any fancy extension pieces and without having to laboriously go over the same spot over and over again.

2. If you can, try seeking a more hypoallergenic pet.

If you want to get a cat, try one with short hair, like a tabby and keep him committed to the indoors. While you may think you only have allergies to pet dander, if your cat is constantly coming in and out, he is dragging everything he comes in contact with inside too. That will only  make your home more difficult to clean and will keep you sneezing.


If you want a dog, try one with hair instead of fur, or if he has fur, try a short-haired breed. While it has been proven that allergic reactions are due to the dander and NOT the fur, having shorter fur makes bathing much easier to deal with. If you’re using the Pet Head shampoo, you will be more successful at eliminating dander if you have a dog with less hair in the way of scrubbing the skin surface.

My own personal recommendation would be a Bichon Frise, because I mean…can it get any cuter than this?

So it is true that man can coexist with his best friend without having to rely heavily on over-the-counter medications or live in discomfort. If you have severe allergies then seek a physician to prescribe you with the right medication and continue to follow the tips above. You might be surprised at how great a clean house and pet can make you feel. 

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