Posted on May 24, 2019 at 10:00 AM
There’s a lot to see and do in Massachusetts. The state offers 400 public agri-tourism farm attractions, roughly 1,500 miles of coastline—including the #1 family beach in America (Coast Guard Beach), a wedding venue for every season, and much more . . . all accessible through the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.
It seems people who travel to Massachusetts also enjoy bringing their companion animals with them. How many? Enough to support 2,185 pet-friendly lodging choices in Massachusetts, according to BringFido.com. More than 80% of the rentals are listed as vacation rentals.
So, if you’re thinking about renting your beach cottage, ski house, or second home, you may want to consider making it pet friendly. Almost half (49%) of the households in the Bay State own a pet, which is below the national average of nearly 57%, according to American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). It may be safe to say on average, half the people you meet in the U.S. own a pet.
On the flipside, as many as 1 in 10 people report allergic reactions to cats and dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Is there a way to be pet friendly without driving away guests who have allergies?
Everyone’s sensitivity to allergens is unique. However, by keeping the following 3 strategies in mind, you may be able to run a pet-friendly rental that mild allergy sufferers can enjoy without discomfort.
Pet fur has gained an undue reputation for being a trigger for allergies. Deeper levels of scientific research reveal it’s actually what’s on the fur causing the sniffles, sneezes, and red eyes. Specific proteins found in dander, skin flakes, saliva, urine, and feces aggravate allergies and asthma symptoms, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Does that mean an allergy sufferer will have a reaction to being licked by a hairless dog?
Very likely. That’s why cats and dogs labeled “hypoallergenic” are not 100% allergy-free, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Fur is important in the pet-allergy equation because it carries the allergy-triggering protein, as well as such environmental allergens as pollen and mold spores. But, all those pollutants on the fur also go airborne in the form of microscopic particles and eventually settle on flat surfaces and furniture.
More on cleaning the air below. Right now, let’s focus on cleaning the physical environment.
The goal is to clean all the proteins out of the house after a pet has visited. Set yourself up for success by upgrading the wall-to-wall carpeting to wood or laminate flooring, toss the shag throw rugs (use low-pile rugs if you must), and avoid heavy fabric furniture, according to The Humane Society. All the pillows and blankets need to be washed after pets visit.
Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and a disposable electrostatic bag, says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The micromesh HEPA air filters clean air pollutants as small as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and even tobacco smoke, according to WebMD.
Then, wipe everything down—all flat surfaces, monitors and TV screens, furniture, lamps, doors, walls, and any knickknacks on shelves and windowsills. To streamline this process, you may want to decorate with open, minimalist sensibilities. Finally, wet mop all the floors.
Even pet-free rentals have airborne allergens. An open window or door can let in any number of pollutants, such as pollen, mold, bacteria, dust, and smog. Circulating pure, clean air in your seasonal home can make everyone vacationing there feel better and have more energy.
Pet allergens are particularly very stubborn. Cat dander stays airborne longer than dust mites, and it can take up to 30 weeks for cat dander to dissipate to levels found in animal-free homes, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Free-standing air purifiers are available, but many homeowners have found more success with a complete solution. Ductless mini-splits can purify air and provide temperature and humidity control—all in a single, wall-mounted unit and exterior condenser. No ductwork, and a single exterior unit can service multiple interior air handlers.
If you have a 3-bedroom rental, you can install one mini-split condenser and run air handlers in each bedroom. The Humane Society suggests keeping pet-free areas for allergy sufferers, and allergy-specific air filtration in the bedroom is the perfect solution.
Massachusetts residents have the benefit of programs likes Mass Save. Get a free, formal energy audit, along with friendly, expert advice on current incentives, rebates, and financing programs to make money-saving upgrades within your budget.
While you decide what to do, make sure your current heating and cooling system is ready for the season.
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