What Causes the Allergy?
Many people believe it is the dog’s fur they are allergic to, with images of fur flying around the house, settling on pillows and couches, and eventually getting up people’s noses and causing irritation. In fact, it is not the dog’s fur as such that causes allergies in humans, but a protein found in dog saliva, skin and urine.
Saliva is spread onto a dog’s coat when they lick themselves, causing a reaction when allergic people come into contact with the fur. Dander, or dead skin cells, are constantly shed and left about the house.
If you’re allergic to dogs, your symptoms may include:
- Watery eyes and nose
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Asthma symptoms
- Itchy skin or rash
What to Do if You’re Allergic to Dogs
Before you get a dog, try to find out if you have an allergy. You don’t want to find yourself in the situation where you have to make a choice between giving up your beloved dog or suffering day in, day out with your allergies. Sometimes people grow out of allergies they had as a child, while some people develop allergies only later in life.
If you don’t know if you are allergic, spend some time with a friend’s dog and see how you react. However, some people will react to one breed but not another, or even different dogs within the same breed. If you know the specific breed or breed mix of the dog you are considering buying or adopting, it is a good idea to spend some time with a similar dog before bringing home the new pet. Cuddle with the dog, pet him and let him lick you, then check on your reactions.
If you know you are allergic, there are a few breeds that are considered hypoallergenic, meaning they are relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction – but not foolproof.
If you’re worried your children might have allergies to dogs, take note of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002. It showed that early exposure to dogs reduced asthma sensitization in children. So having a pet dog early in life might strengthen a child’s immune system and prevent allergies developing. But, of course, consider very carefully getting a dog if your child is allergic to avoid them suffering or putting your dog through the trauma of re-homing it.
Breeds that can be classified as hypoallergenic shed very little fur. Many people say there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic breed, but the claim is not that these breeds are 100-percent guaranteed to be allergy-proof, but are relatively so.
So do beware of anyone who tells you a particular dog does not shed at all (all dogs shed some fur), especially if they flaunting the word “hypoallergenic” as a way to sell you an expensive, “designer breed.” However, “designer dogs” are often a mix of Poodle and another breed. This is quite good for people with allergies since Poodles have tenacious fur that sheds little. Likewise, dogs with a soft, silky or curly coat tend to cause fewer allergies.
Also remember that if you’re allergic to dog saliva, a low-shedding dog will not make a difference.If you want to keep your tidy you could easily purchase one of these amazing tools to grind your dog’s nails.
- Labradoodle (Labrador-Poodle)
- Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever-Poodle)
- Schnoodle (Schnauzer-Poodle)
- Bichon Frise
- Bedlington Terrier
- Border Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Spanish Water Dog
- Shih Tzu
- Soft-coated Wheaton Terrier
- Wire-haired Fox Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
How to Lessen your Allergy Symptoms
- Wash your hands after contact with your dog.
- Discourage your dog from licking your face.
- Groom your dog regularly to get rid of shedding hair. Regular grooming will also distribute natural oils over his skin and prevent it drying out, causing more dander. Groom your dog outside to keep the fur and dander out of the house.
- Keep your dog’s skin healthy by giving him a multivitamin and a fatty acid supplement such as Omega 3.
- Don’t allow your dog into your bedroom, and definitely not on your bed.
- Wash your dog regularly (perhaps weekly will help your allergy) using a gentle, dog-specific shampoo so you don’t dry out his skin, causing more dander.
- Avoid dogs that shed a lot, such as double-coated breeds like Akitas, Shetland Sheepdogs, Samoyeds, German Shepherds and Collies.
- Vacuum regularly using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Use air filters on your air-conditioning and heating systems.
- Wash dog toys, blankets and bedding frequently.
- Do not allow your dog on the furniture.
- Use an air cleaner/purifier.