Do you suffer from allergies?
Achoo! Red eyes, sniffling and an uncontrollable urge to sneeze. Sound like you? It sounds like me. Allergies are terrible. Fortunately, I feel like mine have gotten less severe as I've gotten older and really only affect me in the fall or when someone freshly cuts their grass.
For some people, their best friend is what causes them to feel congested and sneezy. So what causes allergies then? Is there really such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog? What can you do to help if your dog makes you sneeze? These are some of the questions we're going to answer today.
What causes allergies?
Despite what many people think, it's not actually the hair of your dog that's causing you to sneeze. According to WebMD, it's typically it's the dander (flakes of dead skin) as well as the saliva and urine that tickle your oversensitive immune system.
As someone who lives with two very hairy and heavy shedding malamute mixes, I can attest to this. I often get comments along the lines of "I could never live with a dog who sheds so much because I'd be sneezing constantly". I tell these people that I never sneeze because of my dogs — even during their heavy shedding seasons. I explain how it's the dander, not the hair that causes allergies.
Do hypoallergenic dogs exist?
There's actually no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Some dogs can cause fewer allergy symptoms than others, but that depends on both the breed and the person with the allergies.
Many non or low shedding dogs are sold as being hypoallergenic, but as we mentioned above, the hair of the dog isn't what causes your allergies in the first place.
How to prevent allergens
DogTime.com gives some simple tips for how you can live with a dog in your home, even if you suffer from allergies:
Establish a dog-free zone in your home, such as a bedroom, and install a HEPA filter to help with allergens floating in the air
Keep curtains and rugs to a minimum and vacuum frequently
Giving your dog a weekly bath can reduce allergens in her fur by up to 84%
Get yourself allergy shots from your doctor, these can help to reduce symptoms you're experiencing
Non-shedding and low-shedding breeds
So you have allergies, but you still want to have a dog. I can definitely sympathize. Here's a list of 25 non-shedding and low-shedding dogs from PetBreeds which should cause you to react less. You can also consider buying a smaller dog as their smaller size means they will produce less dander and therefore should affect your allergies less.
Portuguese Water Dog
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
English Springer Spaniel
German Shorthaired Pointer
As with anything, make sure you do your research first. Shedding hair is just one aspect of a dog breed. Get to know the dog entirely before you make a decision. You want a dog that suits your personality and lifestyle too. Just having a dog that doesn't shed shouldn't be all that you make your decision based on.
Do you live with allergies and have a dog? What do you do to cope? Is there a breed I missed that you think should be added to this list? Share your advice or suggestions in the comments below.