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Pets and COPD: What You Need to Know

Posted by Erin Lowry on Jul 24, 2018 9:55:00 AM

 

Pets and COPD: What You Need to Know

For those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it can be a struggle to own a pet, as their dander and fur can be irritants to the lungs.

But having a game plan early on can make it possible to keep your pet or adopt a pet.

It can be difficult to have a pet if you do not understand what about a pet can irritate your lungs.

Pet dander is tiny pieces of skin that the animals have shed, but the animal needs to have fur or feathers to produce any dander.

Dander is an irritant because it is made up of protein that is known to cause allergic reactions in humans.

The protein stems from saliva and urine in the animal, so if the animal licks themselves, or gets urine on their skin, once the skin has shed it is then inhaled into the human body.

Once inhaled, the body’s immune system produces antibodies to fight off the protein and causes flare ups or allergic reactions.

If the dander is not inhaled, it most likely will stick to any surface it can, as the dander has rough edges and is very lightweight.

It can stick to furniture or clothing and can be transferred hundreds of miles away.

Animal fur also has the protein on it, from saliva and urine.

It has the same general effect as dander and can cause an allergic reaction as well.

Once the animal fur has been shed, it can irritate your lungs, or rest on furniture and clothing until it is cleaned.

Cleaning Up After Your Pet:

beagle puppy

Making sure to regularly brush your animal and possibly brush them outside when you can, wearing a mask if needed.

This regular brushing can help keep more dander and fur outside and less in your home.

It can seem like washing your pet regularly can help prevent shedding, but it can induce more shedding from dry skin.

Washing your pet often can lead to dry skin, as their body will produce less oil which can coat their fur and keep dander at bay.

Giving your pet a bath is only necessary when they get dirty, not all the time.

Bringing your pet to a facility that washes pets can be easier when it is time to give your pet a bath, as they will have the right products.

It can also be easier on you and your pet to have a professional give them a bath.

At home, if you feel your pet is dirty but you do not want to attempt to give them a bath, look into pet wipes.

Made for pets, pet wipes will not strip the fur of natural oils but will clean the animal.

For your home, there are a few ways to minimize the dander and fur, which can make it easier for you to keep and manage having a pet.

There are allergen cleaners (dander reduction or dander remover) that can be used to spray on the carpet in order to help neutralize pet dander.

After it has been sprayed and soaked into the carpet for a minute, you then need to vacuum your carpets to pull up the dander and cleaner.

Make sure to vacuum year round, as pets can shed dander and fur all year long.

Vacuuming all floor surfaces (carpet, wood or tile) can make it easier on you to rid your home of pet dander, and it will contain it.

Vacuum bags can make it easier to clean, and less likely that you will agitate any dander into the air, as most should be sucked up by the vacuum.

Wiping down all surfaces with a microfiber cloth to pick up all the dander can help keep dander and fur away and allow you to breathe better in your own home.

If you are able to invest in an air cleaner with a HEPA filter, it can help clear the air of dander, it is best to put it in the common room for you and your pet.

It is also vital to keep your pet out of the bedroom, as you spend a lot of time sleeping and anything that can make COPD at night harder is not ideal.

Keeping the bedroom as a safe zone can help you have a successful night’s sleep as well as having one room in your home that is a dander and fur free room.

Washing pet toys and wearing masks when cleaning litter boxes or cages can help minimize any contact with dander, fur, urine and saliva.

Benefits of Pets:

two kittens

Pets are often not recommended for those with allergies and respiratory diseases, but sometimes you just can’t resist their cute, loveable faces.

Not only do pets decrease stress, but they also can prevent strokes, improve your mood, lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Pets prove both mental and physical benefits to their owners, helping with stress and anxiety as well as the health benefits listed above.

Bringing a positive and goofy personality to your life, pets can help with your mood and can comfort you when you are having a bad day.

Many pets can sense when you are not in a good mood and will hang out with you and do what they can to cheer you up.

Pets are also good at detecting medical conditions, many dogs can be trained to sense low blood sugar, fainting and seizures.

The American Diabetes Association did a study about how animals can sniff out low blood sugar levels.

In the study they discovered that there is a chemical in our breath that releases isoprene, which can be detected by dogs.

Dogs can also be trained to detect low blood sugar levels in their owners and can notify them when they notice their blood sugar is too low.

Deciding If You Want A Pet:

two birds

It can be hard to take care of a pet when you are taking care of your COPD, but there are health benefits to having a pet around.

If you were recently diagnosed with COPD, or a similar respiratory disease, don’t give up your pet because you don’t feel that you can maintain a safe and healthy home with one.

We provided you with some tactics in order to clean your home and keep dander and pet fur to a low volume.

Daily brushing and light cleaning will allow your home to have healthy breathable air and will let your pet still be around to boost your mood, as well as keep cholesterol and blood pressure down.

For those who want to get an animal after a diagnosis, it is possible as long as your take care of your pet and your home.

A disease should never prevent anyone from having a furry companion around to cheer you up when you are sad.

As long as you can maintain your home, it is 100% possible to have a pet around your home and still live in harmony with one another.

If you still worry about a pet around your COPD, speaking with your doctor about what you can do to prevent a flare up from pet dander or fur.

It is possible that your doctor may not recommend any pets for your disease and the severity of the disease.

Topics: COPD, pets, cleaning

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