Owning a Dog When You Deal with Allergies

You’ve always wanted to share life with a dog, but your longtime allergies have held you back. You’ve pictured yourself sniffling, sneezing, and trying everything possible to clear your stuffed-up head. You’ve pacified yourself with fish and a gecko, but they don’t have the cold, wet nose that joyfully wakes you up every morning. You’ve recently heard that some allergy sufferers can own dogs by making lifestyle adjustments, but you’re a bit skeptical. First, you’ll ask your doctor if you’re a good candidate for dog ownership. If you get the green light, you’ll ask your Marietta veterinarian about some appropriate breeds.

It’s Really Not About the Fur

You might think your pet allergies result from contact with lots of fluffy dog fur. However, your body reacts to a protein in dogs’ (and cats’) saliva and urine. This unappealing substance latches on to your dog’s dried skin flakes, or dander. When you give your dog a vigorous brushout, or sit on the couch while he shakes himself silly, you face a torrent of allergens that fly through the air and attack your body.

Minimizing Your Allergy Risks

Since a smallish Cairn terrier has less surface area than a 90-pound golden retriever, the terrier’s body holds less dander and presents you with less allergy risk. Give your small dog a weekly bath to further reduce his coat dander accumulation. Rip up your carpet and replace it with a hardwood, laminate, or tile floor. If you can’t do that, shampoo the carpet often to reduce the dog dander.

While you want your pooch sleeping on your bed, banishing him from the bedroom will help your allergies. To reduce airborne allergens, purchase an effective HEPA air purifier; a high-quality vent filter will also be useful. Also, send your dog outside for exercise so he can shed his dander in the great outdoors.

Non-Shedding Dogs Don’t Exist

Non-shedding dogs don’t really exist, as all dogs cause allergy symptoms to some degree. However, low-shedding dogs greatly reduce your allergy risk, as they don’t drop much fur throughout your house. With more fur (and dander) staying on their bodies, less dander flies through the air and causes you trouble.

Possible Canine Candidates

Assuming you’ve decided to try dog ownership, investigate some purebred pooches supposedly compatible with allergy sufferers. Visit the American Kennel Club website to view profiles on bichon frise, Maltese, poodle, Portugese water dog, and schnauzer breeds, among others. To find a dog, locate regional breed rescue groups, who frequently have adoptable purebreds available.

Once you choose your low-allergen pooch, your Marietta vet will give him a complete physical exam. After all, you want your new dog to enjoy a healthy, energetic life with your family.

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