Achoo! Are You Allergic to Dogs?

Unfortunately, occasi42-15620487onally people who seem to love dogs the most may be allergic to them.  On the bright side, there are some solutions to this problem that don’t involve not owning a dog.  One possible solution is to look for breeds that are “hypoallergenic”.   That is, the dog breeds that cause fewer allergic reactions in people with dog allergies.  These dog breeds are not actually free of the allergens that cause allergy sufferers to react, but they often seem to cause fewer reactions than other dog breeds.  It is not possible to find dogs or breeds of dogs that have no allergens at all.

People with dog allergies are exceptionally sensitive to the allergens on dog hair.  It is not actually the dog hair which causes the problem but the things which are attracted to the hair such as pollen and dust attaching to the hair follicle. Additionally, the dog dander may be part of the problem.  “Hypoallergenic” dogs still have these, just to a lesser degree.  Common allergic reactions to dogs include skin rashes, watery, itchy eyes, sneezing and a stuffy nose. Additional reactions may consist of wheezing, asthma attacks and trouble breathing.  Obviously, the problem can be quite serious.

Dogs that are considered hypoallergenic generally produce less dander and have less hair to attract allergens.  These breeds include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Chinese Crested
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Poodles
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Schnauzers
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Xoloitzcuinti

Dogs such as the Bichon Frise and Poodles are good with families and have lower shedding levels, making them allergy-friendly.  They also have good temperaments as a rule.  They enjoy family life and are great with kids. Additionally, they make good watch dogs without being aggressive.  If you are a single adult you could consider a dog such as a Chihuahua or a Portuguese Waterdog.  These dogs have low shedding levels and they tend to bond with one person rather than with multiple people.  You might even choose a hairless dog such as the Chinese Crested.

Be careful if considering a “designer dog”.  “Designer dogs,” often mixed with poodles, are not recommended for allergy suffers due to their unpredictable coat. There is no way to guarantee a litter will produce puppies with equal Poodle coats, making the high prices unjustifiable and the claims of these dogs being ideal, misleading.

No matter which dog breed you are considering, it would be a good idea to contact a breeder of purebred dogs or a purebred rescue for a visit.    Plan to spend at least 30 minutes playing with the dog to see how you react before making any kind of decision.  If you have a strong allergic reaction in that short amount of time then you will know that you would have trouble living with the dog.  If the breeder lives some distance away from you then you can send an article of your clothing to him or her and ask them to place it near the dog for a day, and then send it back to you in a plastic bag.  You can wear the piece of clothing or breathe from it to judge your reaction to it.  If you have no reaction the dog might be one for you to consider further and you can visit the breeder in person.  If you do have a negative reaction then you will know that you probably don’t need to see the dog in person.  Any reaction in person would probably be even stronger.

Some allergy sufferers take shots for their dog allergy.  Other allergy sufferers with dogs vacuum their home several times a week to make sure no dog hair stays in the house.  These both cut down on reactions to the allergens.

Cocker Spaniels, Irish Setters, Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, German Shepherds, Afghan Hounds, and Labrador Retrievers all are heavy shedders.  Contrary to popular belief, a short haired dog doesn’t shed less than a long haired dog.  If you have your heart set on a dog breed that sheds a lot, talk to your doctor about allergy shots or consider whether you are willing to vacuum your house daily.

No matter which breed you choose, you will need to plan on having your dog bassettgroomgroomed regularly since grooming can reduce the amount of shedding.  You will also need to plan on bathing your dog frequently.  This will help reduce the amount of pet dander.  Grooming and bathing will help cut down on the allergens that cause allergic reactions.

With a little research and planning, you can find a dog that fits your needs.  It may take some time, but it can be done.  Many people with dog allergies are living quite happily with dogs.  With a little work you can find a great dog that fits your situation, lifestyle and allergies!

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