Many people suffer from dog allergies, which can be disheartening if you love dogs. The good news is that a dog allergy doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t own a dog, although it may limit your choice of breed.
A common misconception is that allergies are caused by dog hair. This isn’t the case – the allergic reaction is nearly always the result of being exposed to dander, the skin scurf and skin cells that are continuously flaking off all dogs. Unfortunately, all dogs shed dander, so there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog.
Saliva can also cause allergic reactions in some people. For this reason, it’s best to avoid dogs that are known for slobberings, such as Mastiffs or New found lands.
According to the American Kennel Club, here are five of the best breeds for people who suffer from dog allergies:
1. Poodle – All types of poodle (miniature, standard and toy) produce relatively little amounts of skin flakes. Poodles are very intelligent and can make loyal and loving companions. Be prepared to spend plenty of time grooming and trimming their hair if you decide to buy one.
2. Portuguese Water Dog – This breed is much more than an interesting name! Portuguese water dogs don’t moult much compared to other species. These dogs make very good family pets, but they need a lot of exercises and mental stimulation like all working breeds.
3. Schnauzer – The schnauzer is a popular breed amongst owners who suffer from dog allergies. There are three variations of the species – giant, miniature and standard – and the dogs typically require a lot of grooming. Regular haircuts will maintain their characteristic eyebrows!
4. Irish Water Spaniel – This breed is easily recognized by its coat, which is longer than most spaniels. Again, the breed requires you to spend plenty of time grooming but is a good choice for active people.
5. Bedlington Terrier – One of the most popular and friendly breeds of terrier, the Bedlington doesn’t shed much and is great for owners with allergies. They’re an unusual-looking animal and will attract attention whenever you take your dog for a walk.
No matter which breed you choose, there are other things you can do to reduce your allergic symptoms. Vacuum your carpet and couch every day to pick up dog hair and dander. Wash your dog regularly to remove loose hairs; if your allergy is severe, then you may wish to hire someone to do this for you. Lastly, chat to your doctor about medication that can help ease your sniffling and runny eyes.
There are so many benefits to sharing your life with a dog; it would be a shame to miss out on them just because you have an allergy. Choose your breed carefully and reduce your exposure to hair and dander, and you should be able to enjoy the love and loyalty of a canine companion.