Most often, people find out they are allergic to things when they are young. Exposure to certain allergens will cause an immune response. This is when your immune system fights against a perceived attack on your body. When the allergen is harmless, and the response is inappropriate, it is then known as an allergy.
Symptoms depend on the severity of the allergy. Some people have mild reactions, such as sneezing, while others can have rashes or breathing problems. It’s important to remember that it can take a while for symptoms to develop. Milder reactions can take longer to show themselves.
Am I Allergic To Dogs?
If you experience any of these symptoms when you’re close to a dog, you may be allergic to them.
- runny, or blocked nose
- watery, or sore eyes
- coughing, or sneezing
For people who suffer extreme symptoms, it may be best for them to avoid being near dogs at all. Others, who have milder reactions, may still be able to have a hound in their lives. Thankfully, there are ways to help reduce the effects of the allergy. But first, it’s important to get to the bottom of what actually causes the immune reaction.
Why Am I Allergic To Dogs?
Dogs produce a variety of proteins that cause allergies in some people. These proteins are in dog saliva, with lesser amounts found in dander and urine. Dander is the dead skin cells which slough off and become trapped in the dog’s coat.
The proteins interact with your immune system, causing it to respond and start fighting. The level of that response produces the specific symptoms you suffer, and they determine the severity of your allergy.
Are There Any Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds?
Unfortunately, there are no truly hypoallergenic dogs. Dogs that shed their coat less may be easier to live with, but only if you have milder symptoms. It’s possible that the less hair and fur there is all over the house, the less dander you’re exposed to.
But as we’ve discovered, there’s a lot more to it than just a dog’s coat. A comprehensive study concluded that homes with so-called ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs had the same amount of allergen as those with other, ‘non-hypoallergenic’ breeds.
Are Non-Shedding Dogs Hypoallergenic?
Non-shedding dogs may be easier to live with for a person with milder symptoms, but they are not hypoallergenic.
Can I Own A Dog If I Have Allergies?
If you have a severe allergic reaction to dogs, you’re best to steer clear of them. If you love dogs, and you happen to be highly sensitive to them, I know how hard this may be.
If you decide to try having a dog because you’re not sure whether you will react, have one on trial first. That way you won’t have the awful task of trying to re-home a dog that has only just settled into your life.
For people with milder symptoms, it may be possible to live happily with a hound. It could require a little more organization, and being careful to avoid exposure to the dander and saliva.
Hand washing is essential. Try not to touch your mouth and eyes after contact with your dog. Regular vacuuming of the house and washing your hound and their bed regularly is helpful. This could be a job for your non-allergic family if possible. If you are the person doing these jobs, wear a mask and gloves.
Don’t have your dog on your bed, or any furniture that you use. You could also check with your doctor to see if there are any remedies that may help you.
Can Adults Grow Out Of Childhood Dog Allergies?
Fortunately, this does happen quite a lot. People who have had allergies as children can lose them as they age.
If you had a reaction to pets when you were younger, you can take an allergy test as an adult, to see if you still have an immune response to them now. That’s great news for people who really want a dog in their lives.
What Dogs Should People With Allergies Avoid?
It can be difficult to tell what mixes a mutt is, but there are some high-shedding breeds that people with allergies should avoid.
- Siberian Husky
- Alaskan Malamute
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Saint Bernard
- Golden Retriever
- Border Collie
- Chow Chow
10 Best Dogs For People With Allergies
Surprisingly, the dogs that are considered low-shedders aren’t always particularly short coated. The length and shape of a dog’s hair is determined, in part, by genetics. Environmental factors and the dog’s health may play a part in their coat’s condition and appearance too.
They shed hair in the early spring and early fall. If you are going to get a low-shedding dog, these periods are when you can really tell how their coat will behave.
As far as suggesting some best dogs for people with allergies, I am always going to recommend a mixed breed dog. These are available from shelters and rescue organizations, and all are looking for their forever homes. I would always hope that adoption of one of these hounds is a choice for some people.
These gentle-natured, loving dogs have a short, smooth coat. Can be a variety of colors, including black, fawn, chocolate, sable, tan, grey, blue and slate grey. Weighing up to 5kg as an adult, they are agile, intelligent companions for the whole family.
Whether you fancy a Toy, Miniature or Standard Poodle, they all have the same coat characteristics. They also come in many colors, including black, white, apricot, sable, cream, grey, silver and brown. They are highly trainable and intelligent, and a faithful companion.
Courageous, loyal, happy and playful are just a few characteristics of these intelligent little dogs. Their coats come in many colors, including black, white, liver, brindle, light brown and dark brown. They can live up to 16 years, and make wonderful companions for families with older children.
The Tibetan is not really a terrier. It was named such by travelers to Tibet, who thought the breed looked like a terrier. They are a medium sized dog with a curly, soft coat. Colors include, black, white, brindle, piebald, grey and golden. They are fearless, energetic, intelligent and affectionate.
Energetic, fearless, intelligent and cheeky are some of the characteristics of this excellent family dog. Short coated, with colors white, white and black, white and tan or tri-colored. The ‘Foxy’ has a high prey-drive, so obedience training will help to make life a lot easier.
I’ve owned three of these dogs, two of whom lived to be 18 years old. I absolutely love this breed. They’re intelligent and trainable, cheeky and funny, loyal, energetic and brave. They will happily take on a much larger dog if they feel threatened. Borders have a wiry coat over a soft under-coat. Black and tan, turning grizzle as they age. They do shed, but not a lot.
Easy to love and even easier to care for. They make a great family hound, but as with any terrier or small dog, older kids are better suited to these lovely dogs.
This breed is low-dander and light-shedding, so good for people with allergies. The arched-back and curly coat are very distinctive of this elegant, playful, sweet and loyal breed. Hailing from a hunting and fighting background, the Bedlington is now considered a wonderful, loving family dog. Colors include liver, liver & tan, blue & tan and sandy.
The largest of the terrier breeds, the Airedale was originally bred as a rat catcher in Yorkshire, UK. The females can grow to around 45lb, while their male counterpart can reach 65lb. As with almost all terrier breeds, these are courageous, loyal, energetic and intelligent dogs. They make a great family dog, and are good for kids of all ages.
The Airedale has the classic double-coat, which is a wiry coat over a soft, insulating under-coat. Most Airedales have a tan head, legs and belly, with grizzle or black sides and back.
The unmistakable Afghan is a large, elegant, streamlined and beautiful dog. They have a long, thick, flowing coat, in black, cream or red. This luxuriant hair was a necessity in the cool mountains of Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan, where they originated thousands of years ago.
They are intelligent, friendly, loyal and independent. They are very athletic, so love lots of exercise. With the right owner, the Afghan Hound is unbeatable as a companion.
The Mini, Standard and Giant Schnauzer all possess a double coat, which is either black or ‘salt’n’pepper’. The beard and big eyebrows are distinctive characteristics of these highly intelligent, loyal hounds. They are courageous and adaptable. Very calm and companionable.
They make good guard dogs, and are perfect for families, or just living quietly with people on their own.
As we’ve already discussed, if you have severe allergies to dogs you may need to keep your home hound-free. If you’re not sure, make some time to spend an hour or two with someone else’s dog. If it goes well, increase your exposure. See if you actually do have an allergic reaction.
If you have milder symptoms, it’s still a good idea to test yourself on a dog that lives somewhere else. Resist the urge to go out and get yourself a dog, before you know you can keep them. Once you have a hound in your life, good hygiene and regular dog coat care should keep your symptoms at bay.