It’s a known fact that dust mites are disruptive to human health, but will these tiny pests trigger allergies in cats and dogs? If you’re a pet owner, having a deeper understanding of the subject will help you address potential issues with dust mites.
What are Dustmite Allergies?
Dust mite allergies refer to allergic reactions to tiny bugs that are mostly found in dust inside houses. These tiny bugs can barely be seen with one’s naked eye. People who suffer from this kind of allergies have a harder time on their own or other people’s houses.
Some of the common signs of dust mite allergies include sneezing, nasal congestion and a runny nose. In some cases, one could also experience wheezing or difficulty in breathing since these allergens affect the lungs. Dust mite allergies could also lead to flaring up of eczema and inflammation of the eyes which could cause watering and an uncomfortable hot feeling in the eyes.
Will Cats And Dogs Suffer From Dust Mite Allergies?
Just like people, cats and dogs could also experience hypersensitivity to house dust mites. Dust mites are mostly found in bedding, carpets and even beds made for pets. This is because they like areas with optimum humidity and temperature.
As such, whenever we decide to share our homes with pets, we expose them to the mites. The protein in the mites’ feces is the reason for the allergic reaction in people and pets.
Diagnosis And Treatment For Dust Mites Allergies In Cats And Dogs
The diagnosis of dust mite allergies in cats and dogs is not so easy. The symptoms could appear just like those of other conditions or allergies that affect the pets. For that reason, it is very important to mention that the animals are actually alright while outside during a visit to the veterinarian. It is also worth noting that they experience the symptoms all year round.
The veterinarian will conduct some physical examinations to check the animals’ overall health, skin, and coat and some vital signs exams in addition to lab tests to determine whether or not they have dust mite allergies. After diagnosis, the veterinarian will recommend certain treatments.
Cats could be treated through immunotherapy and some environmental changes. The veterinarian could also administer cyclosporine corticosteroid drugs to them in the process. For dogs, corticosteroids, antihistamines, and some ointment could be used. Certain shampoos could also be recommended to handle the itching and possible infections.
Just like cats, dogs can also benefit from immunotherapy. The dog owner will be directed by the veterinarian as to how to administer the allergy shots to the dogs although this method could take some months before one sees the results. These shots will help make your dog less sensitive to dust mites with time.
It is however not the surest way to treat your dogs because there is a chance it could either fail or cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, it is better to treat the skin of the dogs first. However, the most effective treatment for dust mites starts at home. You need to vacuum, dust and clean carpets regularly to keep the allergy-causing dust mite feces away from your allergic pets.
While dust mite allergies can be irritating to pets, these allergies can actually be prevented. Note that it is not possible to eliminate the dust mites completely. However, you can reduce their numbers in your home significantly. You can do this through the following methods:
You need to vacuum your home regularly. Vacuum the floors, wet mop and then dust your surfaces with a damp piece of cloth. Always make sure you vacuum when your dust sensitive cats or dogs are not around. This is because in the process of vacuuming the allergens will be stirred up and could increase your pet’s exposure to them.
To effectively vacuum, choose a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or one that has a special double-thickness bag. This kind of bag will ensure that you collect the particles and pollen better.
Sometimes, dry vacuuming could fail to completely eliminate dust mites. Therefore, to reduce the effect of dust mite allergies on your cats and dogs, steam cleans your carpets. The heat from the steaming is very effective in killing the allergens.
Use hypoallergenic dog and cat beds
You need to avoid bedding that easily traps dust or those that are difficult to clean. Hypoallergenic dog and cat beds are useful in preventing dust mite allergies in animals. Hypoallergenic beds enable your pets to rest easy and comfortably. You need to find the right ones as they keep your pets safe from dust mites as well as other pets such as mold, dust, and fleas.
Properly wash bedding
Wash your bedding as well as that of your dogs and cats every one to two weeks. Wash them in hot water and dry them in high temperatures. In case your bedding cannot be washed in hot water, put them inside the dryer for about fifteen minutes. While you do this make sure the temperatures are above 130F in order to kill the dust mites and prevent allergies in cats and dogs.
For items that cannot be washed, freezing for 24 hours could also kill dust mites although it will not completely remove the allergens.
Keep the humidity in your house low
Since dust mites are often found in humid conditions, your home provides the best environment for them. That is why you need to maintain your house humidity around 50% RH. You can use a hygrometer to measure the humidity. Use an air conditioner to keep humidity low. You could also incorporate the use of a dehumidifier in your home.
Cut the clutter in your home
Clutter contributes to the build-up of dust, therefore, whenever necessary, remove books, magazines, tabletop ornaments, and other unnecessary materials from your home in order to keep your dogs and cats safe from dust mite allergies.
Buy washable toys
If you have children that play around with your cats and dogs it is very important to pick their toys carefully. Make sure the stuffed animals you buy for them are washable. Wash them regularly in hot water and make sure you dry them thoroughly. It is also advisable to keep these toys away from bedding.
Dust mites are a prevalent issue for both humans and pets. You’ll need to be diligent in keeping your home free from dust mites.