Dear Daisy Dog
Allergy testing showed that our golden retriever is allergic to dust mites, for which he receives allergy injections. I would like to eradicate the dust mites from our home. How can I do this?
House dust mites are the most common allergen in dogs and cats.
They live on textiles such as carpets, fabric-upholstered furniture, mattresses, dog beds and cloth toys, where they feed on exfoliated skin cells, bacteria and fungal spores.
You can control -– but not eliminate -– dust mites by washing all human and dog bedding, fabrics and cloth toys in hot water (at least 130 degrees) every week.
Also helpful are a laundry additive called benzyl benzoate (at a concentration of 0.03 percent) and drying at 130 degrees for at least 10 minutes.
You can buy special mattress and pillow covers that form a barrier between mites and your bedding.
When you’re able, air human and dog bedding outside in the hot sun or freezing weather for 24 hours. Place small pillows and fabric toys in the freezer for the same duration.
Moderate temperatures and high humidity boost dust mite growth and reproduction, so keep your home well ventilated and maintain the humidity at or below 45 percent.
Many chemical products have been tested in homes, but none have been shown to be effective at killing dust mites. Mites are closely related to spiders, not insects, so it’s not surprising that insecticides are ineffective.