(Last Updated On: May 23, 2023)

What is Dander and How Do You Eliminate it in Your Bedroom?

Learn More About Dander and Ways to Keep it Out of the Bedroom

air filter for pet allergies from dogs

By Becky Dotson

12 min read

We love our pets – dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and all the other creatures we adopt, take care of, play with, and love on. We welcome them into our homes and make them part of the family. And while the animal hair you vacuum up and dust off may get a little old, the dander they shed can make for more significant problems. Pet dander can trigger a wide variety of allergy problems in humans.

Pet Dander

What is Dander?

Pet dander is the dead flakes of skin that comes off your furry family member’s body, and it can be shed by any animal who has fur, hair, or feathers. It can also be found in their dried saliva, urine, and sweat. The particles are often so tiny they usually can’t be seen with the naked eye. And dander is so small it may linger in the air long before it settles, making it easier for you or anyone in your home to inhale. It can also stick to your clothes, collect easily on curtains, drapes, and upholstered furniture, and get trapped in carpet, rugs, and bedding. In short – those tiny little particles can cause a big problem, especially if you have allergies.

For that reason, some people tend to favor dog or cat breeds that are considered ‘hypoallergenic.’  That word is used for animals that don’t shed much or have much fur. While there are particular breeds of dogs and cats that may not shed a lot of hair, they will still shed dander and even create allergy issues.

It’s Not Just Your Pets

Your pets aren’t the only ones who shed dander. It comes off of you and every other person you know. It comes in the form of dandruff and other small particles your skin sheds over the day. While no one even notices it most of the time, dandruff flakes can cause concern and embarrassment. It’s usually a sign of skin dryness or inflammation. There are over the counter shampoos and treatments you can use to help with it. However, if it’s too much of a nuisance for you – check with your doctor immediately for treatment.

Dander and Allergies

What our pets shed can cause everything from a mild annoyance to a cleaning obsession. But the dander that comes off them can create allergy issues. Allergies happen when your immune system encounters what it considers to be a foreign substance. Even though it’s not harmful to you, your immune system reacts in a way that makes your body think it is. You will then produce antibody proteins to protect against the allergen and prevent you from getting sick or infected.

Once your immune system identifies something like dander, pollen, or dust as foreign, it will react every time you come in contact with it – usually by creating inflammation in your nasal passages or lungs. Prolonged or regular exposure can cause more severe issues like asthma. Sometimes, an allergy to your furry family member can cause problems with your skin. As a result, dermatitis can cause itchy skin, hives, and eczema.

Allergy symptoms can be miserable. If pet dander is the trigger – you can expect the following issues:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Itchy nose, throat, or roof of the mouth
  • Cough
  • Pressure and pain in the face
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes

Pet allergy symptoms can be similar to the common cold. But if your symptoms last for more than two weeks or seem to be more chronic, you may want to see your doctor because it may very well be an allergy.

Which Animals Pose the Biggest Dander Problems?

When it comes to dander, some pets are more significant problems than others. According to the American Lung Association cats are the main culprit. Twenty-seven percent of homes in the United States have cats as pets, whereas 32 percent have dogs. But studies show about twice as many people are allergic to cats rather than dogs. And it seems like male cats may be more of an issue than female ones. But researchers do not know or understand why.

Fur seems to be more of a dander carrier than feathers or animals without fur, but fur, feathers or not, all animals shed dander.

How Does Dander Spread and Accumulate in Homes?

How does dander spread and accumulate in homes? If you’re a pet owner, you’ve probably noticed small flakes of skin or fur on your furniture, carpets, and clothes. This is known as dander, and it can cause allergies in some people.

Dander Spread

Pet dander is primarily spread through the shedding of skin cells and fur by pets. When pets move around the house or scratch themselves, they shed tiny flecks of skin that contain allergens. These particles are so small that they can easily become airborne when disturbed. Once airborne, they can travel throughout the house via air currents created by heating or cooling systems.

Pets also contribute to spreading dander through their saliva and urine. When pets groom themselves, they deposit saliva on their coat which eventually gets transferred to surfaces such as furniture and floors. Similarly, urine from pets contains proteins that can cause allergic reactions in humans.

Dander Accumulation

Dander accumulates in different parts of our homes such as the air, surfaces, fabrics like carpets, upholstery, bedding materials etc., particularly if there are pets living inside the home. Households with furry animals have higher levels of dander compared to those without them.

Airborne pet hair particles settle on surfaces such as tables and floors where they remain until disturbed again by movement or cleaning activities like dusting or vacuuming. Dander also collects on fabrics like curtains or clothing materials that come into contact with pets regularly.

Reducing Dander Accumulation

Regular cleaning is a crucial step in reducing pet dander accumulation in homes. Vacuuming carpets frequently will help remove any loose hairs trapped within fibers while also capturing any airborne particles before settling down onto surfaces around the home.

Using an air purifier with HEPA filters will help capture pet allergens present in the air. These filters are designed to capture tiny particles such as pet dander, pollen, and dust mites.

Washing pets regularly can also help reduce the amount of dander they shed. Regular grooming and bathing will remove loose hair and skin cells that contribute to dander buildup in homes.

How Do I Prevent Dander?

You’ll find dander all over your home. Since it floats through the air, it will still end up in rooms that are off-limits to your pet—the room with the most significant concentration of dander is likely your bedroom. Many people let Fido and Fluffy sleep with them or near them, resulting in six to eight hours of dander shedding in one particular place. Since allergy symptoms tend to worsen when we lie down or go to sleep – dander can result in big breathing problems. So, how do you get rid of it?

Invest in an Air PurifierOne of the best ways to get rid of pet dander is by purifying the air in your home. An air purifier is a sound investment that can reduce more than 99 percent of the particles circulating in the air in your home. You may want to consider buying two separate ones – one for the bedroom and one for the house’s living space.

It’s vital to purchase a purifier that filters out pet hair and dander. Look for ones that run with HEPA filters – they are the most effective. You’ll find our top recommendations for the best purifiers for pet dander at the end of this article.

Let Your Pet Sleep Somewhere Else – Having another area of the house other than your bedroom for your pet to bed down for the night is crucial if you have an allergy to pet dander. It may be hard initially to make that choice and stick with it, but your body will thank you in the long run. If the allergy is bad enough, you may want to consider a way to make your indoor pet an outdoor pet.

Clean Regularly – Vacuum your carpet and rugs, dust your furniture and wash your curtains and bedding regularly. Steam cleaning as often as possible can help get to the dander that might have settled deeper down in the fabric. Rubbing sticky lint rollers across furniture and other surfaces can also help cut down on dander.

Give Your Pet a Bath – Having a routine bathing schedule for your pet is essential. It will help keep them clean and cut down on the dander that gets shed in your home. Be sure to use appropriate shampoo for your particular pet. You don’t want to dry your animal’s skin out – that can cause more dander and result in itchy skin.

Brush Your Pet’s Hair – Take your beloved animal outside and give them a good brushing regularly. It will help rid their skin and fur of the dander that would otherwise end up in your house. If dander causes you problems, be sure and wear a mask while you brush, so you can cut down on how much dander you inhale.

Clean Your Air Ducts – There are plenty of things besides dander that gets trapped in your home’s air duct system. Having a professional clean your air ducts on an annual or semi-annual basis will help reduce the particles floating around in your home.

Opt for New Flooring – Carpet is soft on the feet but can harbor all kinds of things, including dander. New flooring is a significant investment, but consider hardwood floors or tiles in your bedroom if it’s time for a change. If you choose to replace the carpet with carpet – it’s best to choose one with a low pile.

The Importance of Regular Cleaning to Control Dander

Dead skin cells are the primary source of dander, which is a common allergen that can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation in humans. Regular cleaning is crucial to control dander as it helps remove dead skin cells from surfaces, reducing the number of allergens present in living spaces. In this section, we will discuss the importance of regular cleaning to control dander.

Removing Dust Mites

Dust mites thrive in environments with high levels of dander. As such, regular cleaning can help reduce their population by removing the source of their food. Dusting surfaces and vacuuming carpets and furniture can help eliminate dust mites, preventing them from spreading throughout your home.

Controlling Dandruff

Dandruff is a common cause of dander on pets such as cats and dogs. Regular cleaning of bedding and clothing can help control dandruff by removing dead skin cells from these items. Bathing pets regularly can also help reduce the amount of dandruff they produce.

Eliminating Dust and Odors

Dust and odors can contribute to dander buildup in living spaces. Regular cleaning of surfaces such as floors, walls, and furniture can help remove dust particles that may contain dead skin cells. Furthermore, airing out living spaces by opening windows or using air purifiers can also help eliminate odors that may contribute to dander buildup.

Cleaning Up After Pets

Feces from pets and other animals can contain significant amounts of dander. Therefore, it is essential to clean up after them regularly to prevent the spread of allergens throughout your home. This includes scooping litter boxes for cats or picking up dog waste outside.

Grooming Tips to Reduce Dander in Pets

Regular Brushing: A Simple Yet Effective Way to Reduce Dander

One of the most effective ways to reduce dander in pets is by regularly brushing their coat. This helps remove loose fur and dander that may be stuck on their skin or fur. By doing so, you can significantly reduce the amount of dander your pet sheds around your home. It also helps distribute natural oils throughout their coat, keeping it healthy and shiny.

When brushing your pet, use a high-quality brush that’s designed for their coat type. For instance, if your pet has long hair, use a slicker brush to remove tangles and mats. If they have short hair, use a bristle brush to remove loose fur and dirt. Make sure you brush all over their body, including under their chin and legs.

Bathe Your Pet with Hypoallergenic Shampoo

Another way to reduce dander buildup in pets is by bathing them with hypoallergenic shampoo. This type of shampoo is specially formulated to be gentle on sensitive skin while effectively removing dirt and oil from your pet’s coat.

Before giving your pet a bath, brush their coat thoroughly to remove any loose fur or dirt. Use lukewarm water and apply the shampoo evenly throughout their coat, taking care not to get it in their eyes or ears. Rinse thoroughly until all the soap is removed from their coat.

Use HEPA Filters In Your Home

Using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your home can help capture airborne dander particles that may trigger allergies or asthma symptoms. These filters are designed to trap even the smallest particles of dust, pollen, and other allergens that may be present in the air.

Place HEPA filters in rooms where your pet spends most of their time such as living room or bedroom areas for maximum effectiveness. Change these filters regularly according to manufacturer instructions.

Wash Pet Bedding Regularly

Washing your pet’s bedding and toys frequently can help remove dander buildup that may be present on these items. Use a mild detergent and hot water to kill any bacteria or allergens that may be present.

Vacuum Your Home Regularly

Regular vacuuming is essential in reducing dander in your home, especially if you have carpets or rugs. Pay special attention to areas where your pet spends most of their time such as sofas, chairs, and beds. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter for maximum effectiveness.

Consider Using Pet-Specific Air Purifiers

Pet-specific air purifiers are designed to capture airborne dander particles that may trigger allergies or asthma symptoms. These devices work by circulating the air in a room through a series of filters that trap even the smallest particles of dust, pollen, and other allergens.

Place these air purifiers in rooms where your pet spends most of their time for maximum effectiveness. Change the filters regularly according to manufacturer instructions.

Hypoallergenic Pet Breeds: Are they Effective in Reducing Allergic Reactions?

Reducing allergic reactions caused by pets is a concern for many people who love animals. Hypoallergenic pet breeds have become increasingly popular due to their reputation for producing fewer allergens compared to other breeds. However, it’s important to note that hypoallergenic dogs are not completely allergen-free.

Hypoallergenic dog breeds produce fewer allergens than other breeds

All dogs produce the protein responsible for allergic reactions in their skin, saliva, and urine. However, some breeds produce less of this protein than others. These breeds are known as hypoallergenic dog breeds. It’s important to note that while these dogs produce fewer allergens than other breeds, they still produce them.

Dogs with hair instead of fur shed less and produce fewer allergens

Some hypoallergenic dog breeds have hair instead of fur. This means that they shed less and produce fewer allergens because the hair is less likely to break off into small pieces and become airborne. Examples of hypoallergenic dog breeds with hair include Poodles, Bichon Frises, and Yorkshire Terriers.

Regular grooming and cleaning can help reduce dander and allergens

While owning a hypoallergenic dog breed can help reduce allergic reactions caused by pets, it’s also important to maintain good hygiene practices around your pet. Regular grooming can help reduce the amount of dander (dead skin cells) that your pet sheds into the environment. Bathing your pet regularly can also help remove any loose hair or dander from their coat.

In addition to regular grooming, it’s important to clean your home frequently if you have a pet with allergies. Vacuuming carpets and furniture can help remove any pet hair or dander that has accumulated over time. Using air purifiers can also be helpful in removing airborne allergens from the environment.

Top 5 Recommendations for Air Purifiers to Eliminate Pet Dander

Air purifiers are an excellent investment, whether you have a pet or not. They are designed to take irritants out of the air, trap them in filters, and send purified or cleaner air back out. When looking for one, be sure you choose one that will clean your space. Each purifier has a maximum square footage area it covers. It won’t run or clean as effectively if the room you put it in is larger than the space it is designed to cover.

You’ll also want to make sure the purifier you chose uses a HEPA filter. HEPA filters pull more than 99 percent of the smallest particles out of the air. So, it will be able to not only trap pet hair but dander as well.

Alen BreatheSmart
45i with Carbon
Air Purifier

$430 Buy Now
Rabbit Air
BioGS 2.0
Air Purifier

$370 Buy Now
Austin Air
Bedroom Machine
Air Purifier

$995 Buy Now
Coway AirMega
Air Purifier

$230 Buy Now
Plasmacluster Ion
Air Purifier

$230 Buy Now