He’s everything you always wanted in a man: charming, kind, and handsome beyond belief. She’s the woman of your dreams. Considerate, funny, and gorgeous. There’s just one problem. Before you met this fantastic person, it was just you and your dog, cat, or other beloved furry friend. And the new love of your life is allergic to him. The “obvious” answer, especially to someone in your life who might not understand the connection pet owners feel with their animals, is to choose the human over the pet, finding someplace else for your pet to live. However, pet lovers know it’s not as simple as that. Luckily, that may not be the only solution.
Consider Re-homing (But It’s Not Your Only Choice)
You don’t have to run out and take your beloved pet to a shelter, regardless of what other people say. However, if your loved one can’t bear to be near your pet and you’re ready to move in together or even to get married, you might have to consider re-homing. Ask all of your friends and family members if they’ll take your pet. You might even offer to pay for some expenses for a few months to make adopting more enticing. That way, if you know the new owner, you can visit your pet on a frequent basis without exposing your loved one to allergens. Do be aware that many people with animal allergies will have mild flare-ups even when the pet is not around because of fur and dander that sticks to your clothing, carpet, or furnishings. Hire a professional cleaning service after you give away your pet if your significant other is moving in with you to make this easier; the clothing issue might be manageable if your loved one acknowledges the sacrifice you’ve already made by giving the pet up.
If a shelter is your only option and you’ve made the decision to offer your pet a good life elsewhere, where everyone in the family embraces him, consider no-kill shelters, even if you have to travel to find one. You’ll feel terrible if you surrender your beloved pet to a shelter that puts down excess animals, even if the chance of that happening to a pet in good health is slim.
Ask About Medication
Depending on the extent of the allergy, your loved one’s reactions may be easily managed by medication. If your loved one is an animal lover and recognizes how important your pet is to you, she might be willing to take medication so the whole family can stick together. Have her try it on a trial basis, before she moves in, so she can see if she has any negative side effects and if the medicine makes being around the animal tolerable.
Clean Your Home (and Your Pet) Meticulously
If you make the decision to keep your pet, you can make life easier on your allergic loved one by becoming a meticulous cleaner. Deep clean your house several times a week, especially carpets, rugs, and fabric furnishings. Wash bedding frequently. Consider replacing carpeted floors with hardwood so the house surfaces don’t absorb the fur and dander as much. Cover existing carpets with rugs you can remove and wash. Give your dog a bath at least once a week and your cat a bath at least once a month using a special animal-safe solution formulated to reduce dander.
Adopt a New Pet Together
Some people allergic to cats aren’t allergic to dogs and vice versa. You might not be able to imagine life without a furry friend, but if you can’t imagine life without your sweetheart, either, it may be time to find your beloved pet a new good home. Then, once the home has been thoroughly cleaned, together you can adopt a pet your loved one isn’t allergic to. If dogs and cats alike are an issue, consider something like a fish, lizard, rabbit, or bird instead.
Your cat, dog, or other animal has been with you through your best and your worst times. She’s part of your family, and you know she’d be there long after any relationship ends. However, if you’re serious about someone with an allergy, you need to take his or her health into consideration, too. Come to a compromise, and you’ll make sure your pet has the best life possible – without putting an end to a relationship that’s otherwise showing great promise.