If Your Guest Is Allergic to Your Pet

If you're a dog or cat owner, there's no avoiding pet dander, saliva, and urine that could appear on your floors, fabrics, and furniture. Although you often can't see these allergens, the animal proteins they contain are enough to spark an immune system response in people who are allergic to pets. This can trigger coughing, sneezing, itching, and can even aggravate asthma symptoms in your allergic guest.

Other small animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils, can also pose problems for people with pet allergies.

Support Your Guest

Although there's no way to get rid of pet allergens completely, there are some things you can do to lessen the extent of your guest's reaction to these allergens:

  • Bathe your dog or cat to remove allergens trapped in your pet's fur.
  • Keep your animal contained in a separate area of your home away from where your guest will be spending the most time.
  • Deep clean your home from top to bottom. Vacuum the rugs and furniture, and wash the floors.
  • Remove any area rugs and shampoo wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • If your friend plans to stay overnight, designate a guest room that's off limits to your pet.
  • Wash bedding and curtains in the guest bedroom in very hot water to remove allergens trapped in the fabrics.
  • Run a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate) air filter in common areas and in the bedroom where your guest will sleep to clean the air.
  • Be sure that your cleaning products are free of strong smells and irritants.

Explore Safer Options

For a friend who has very severe allergies, you might decide to send your pet to stay with a neighbor or board her in a kennel temporarily. However, it's important to know that dog and cat allergens can linger for months after your pet has been removed, so even this may not be enough to head off a pet allergy. In that case, consider having your friend stay in a hotel instead of putting her at risk in your home.




American Academy of Asthma, Allergies and Immunology (AAAAI). "Managing Indoor Allergen Culprits." Web.  15 Feb. 2012.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). "Pet Allergies." 2005. Web. 15 Feb. 2012.

Mayo Clinic. "Pet Allergies: Lifestyle and Home Remedies." 17 Nov. 2010. Web. 15 Feb. 2012.

National Jewish Health. "Cat and Dog Dander." Web. 15 Feb. 2012.