It might be surprising to many animal devotees, but not everybody is on-board with the concept of pets in their homes. Some of your closest friends and family members may struggle with allergies, valid phobias, or other common aversions to furry companions. With the holidays approaching, planning to host co-mingled gatherings could get complicated! While having a well-trained animal can help avoid disaster, we highly recommend being prepared to navigate potentially awkward or sensitive situations with Aunt Linda. If you’d like some peace of mind before extending those invites, look no further. Here are 3 ways to prepare for “non-animal loving” houseguests.
One of the most common reasons people dislike furry creatures is, well, their fur! Some simply find pet hair off-putting, but most people who struggle with it have real, unpleasant, physical reactions. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), allergies to pets with fur are common in the United States, with as many as 3 in 10 people suffering from allergic reactions to cats and dogs.
So what is it about an animals coat that causes the ever-annoying itching, sneezing, and watery eyes? Good question! The AAFA explains that your immune system plays a large role in the physical response to dander, saliva, dust, or pollen that may collect on the surface of your pet’s fur. People who react strongly to these allergens have “over-sensitive” immune systems. This particular problem is clearly out of your control; however, there are steps you can take to reduce your guest’s susceptibility.
Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.
For some, pets are as close to kin as the grandkids. For others, they are as unsavory as that strange step-cousin, three times removed. Often, people who identify with the latter have had past negative experiences with animals. Those memories can taint their views and opinions of ALL four-legged creatures. Other times, folks have generalized phobias (possibly stemming from preexisting anxiety disorders), which have little to do with any personal grievances towards your pet. Either way, being sensitive to the concerns of your guests will go a long way. Here are some empathetic strategies that may help take the edge off.
We are willing to bet that, as an Emotional Support Animal owner, you love almost everything about your pet. You probably don’t even notice their daily idiosyncrasies because their adoration is all-consuming. The typical sights, sounds, and smells of pet conduct may leave owners unphased, but some people cringe at the mere thought of anything animal. Here are a few tips to help manage potentially “unappreciated” pet behaviors while entertaining guests in your home.
Bonus Tip: Steering guests clear of an animal’s “favorite spot” can also help avoid confusion for your pet. If your dog or cat usually sits on the right side of the couch, make the left side readily available for your company. Nobody needs Jinxie suddenly pouncing on an unsuspecting relative!
Maybe you haven’t brought an Emotional Support Animal home yet, but are aware of close “non-animal loving” friends and family with allergies or pet aversions. If that’s the case, do some research first. Several dog and cat breeds can help manage the particular challenges we addressed better than others. That said, we also advise not letting the biased opinions of anyone else sway your ultimate choice to get an Emotional Support Animal. Take a moment to fill out our free online quiz to see if you qualify. Putting others first is admirable but taking steps to care for yourself is extremely responsible. Plus, you can always go to someone ELSE’S house for gatherings if they just can’t handle it!
The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!
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