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November 24, 2020
Imagine being allergic to your best friend. Unfortunately, if you’re a dog lover and suffer from allergies, this can sometimes be a challenging combination. However, allergy sufferers don’t despair! You can find the perfect pooch that won’t send you into a sneezing, itchy, eye-watering tizzy. Luckily, several dog breeds are an excellent match for people with allergies, thanks to the dogs’ hypoallergenic coats. If you think you could benefit from a dog like this, you definitely have some options to consider before buying or adopting your dog!
First, it's time to clear up a little confusion. Many people believe hypoallergenic dogs don't shed their fur, and therefore they don't cause an allergic reaction in their owners. But in fact, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a truly non-allergic pet doesn't actually exist. However, several breeds make better options for those with pet allergies, giving these breeds the label of "hypoallergenic."
Technically, if you have a dog allergy, even a "hypoallergenic" dog can cause a reaction, even if it is a non-shedding breed. In other cases, you might have no issues at all, or they could be barely noticeable. The reason for this is because people aren't allergic to a dog's fur or hair. Instead, people allergic to dogs have an immune response to proteins found in dog urine, saliva, and dander, which of course, all pups have
Typically, a dog carries dander around in his coat (as well as other potential allergens he can pick up elsewhere, like pollen), and when he sheds, he spreads this dander around your home, on your furniture, your clothes, etc. If your pup shakes, he can send these particles into the air where they can remain for a long time.
All of this can set off an allergic reaction in almost anyone with allergies to dogs. Plus, even if you're not allergic to dogs specifically, a dog that sheds often can trigger other allergic reactions since he can spread other allergens around your home. However, if a dog doesn't shed or sheds very little, this reduces the amount of dog dander and other particles that can make their way inside your home (and into your nose and lungs).
Some supposedly non-shedding dogs do indeed shed, like the Shih Tzu, but their coats hold on to a lot of the dead hair. This quality gives the appearance that the dog doesn't shed. Depending on the nature and severity of your allergy, a dog that doesn't shed often or that holds loose hair in his coat might be a great choice for you.
If you're ready to add a dog into the mix, but suffer from allergies, check out these more hypoallergenic breeds:
Affenpinscher -- This small member of the toy group features a wiry coat that needs brushing about twice a week. He does not shed very frequently, and you can get by with the occasional removal of dead hairs and dander from his coat.
Basenji -- This short-haired member of the hound group is very easy to take care of when it comes to grooming, only needing a quick swipe of the coat. He only sheds occasionally.
Chinese Crested Dog -- This pup comes in two varieties, powderpuff and hairless, and either is a good option for allergy sufferers. A member of the toy group, this pup’s hair is silky and unique from many other dogs’ coats. Despite its length, it’s super easy to brush. Plus, this pooch sheds infrequently.
Havanese -- This dog from the toy group has a silky coat that requires daily brushing. However, his long, thick, wavy coat helps hold on to hairs that he occasionally sheds, making him a good choice for allergy sufferers.
Irish Water Spaniel -- A member of the sporting group, this large pooch features a hypoallergenic coat that only sheds seasonally. Plus, he doesn’t have an undercoat, and his curls help trap the hair that he does shed.
Poodle -- Mild allergy sufferers can do well with this popular member of the non-sporting group. He sheds very infrequently, and his curly coat helps hang on to dead hairs.
Shih Tzu -- A Shih Tzu’s silky hair is the same as humans, making his coat need lots of attention but also causing little shedding. When this member of the toy group does shed, the few hairs usually remain trapped in his co
Wire Fox Terrier -- This member of the terrier group features a very dense, wiry coat, limiting his shedding significantly. However, he does require regular brushing to avoid matting.
Yorkshire Terrier -- Like the Shih Tzu, this member of the toy group sports human-like hair that needs daily brushing. However, this pup rarely sheds and is a great dog for people with allergies.
If you're unsure whether or not you're allergic to dogs, there are a few things to keep an eye out for. Typical signs of an allergic reaction are red and itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. However, these same reactions can be caused by other allergens as well.
If a dog licks you or scratches you, and your skin in that spot becomes itchy or red, this can also be a sign of a potential allergy. Of course, as with any allergy, reactions can range from very mild to severe. If your reaction is mild, you might not even notice it; or it could take days to show up, which can make it hard for you to link the reaction to your pup.
Severe reactions usually occur immediately and often require medical attention. If you're not sure whether your allergy is because of your pup, the only way to know for certain is by visiting with your doctor and getting an allergy test.
If your dog triggers your allergies, don't panic. There are several things you can do that don't involve rehoming your pet.
Don't let your dog sleep in your bed. Ideally, make your entire bedroom off-limits to your pooch.
If possible, limit the number of rugs and carpet that you have in your house. These items are allergen traps, and while vacuuming them is necessary, it can stir up allergens into the air. Therefore, wear a mask when you vacuum.
To help limit airborne allergens, run an air cleaner for at least four hours each day.
Use filters specially designed for allergy sufferers in your A/C, vacuums, air purifiers, and similar items.
Brush your dog outside, or better yet, have someone else do the brushing.
Before your dog comes in from outside, give him a quick wipe down with a pet wipe or even a baby wipe.
After spending a lot of time with your pup, change your clothes as soon as possible. Plus, wash your hair often since allergens can hang out in your hair just like it does in your dog's
Likewise, make sure to frequently wash your dog’s belongings, including his bed, dog bowls, toys, etc.
If despite all of these efforts, you still have a lot of trouble with dog allergies, then you might need to talk to your doctor about special medications or allergy treatments.
For more helpful tips and resources about taking care of your pets, check out the rest of our blog! We have the information you need to be a well-informed, happy pet parent!
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