You Have Allergies – Can You Own a Dog?

For most of your life, you’ve wanted to wake up with a cold, wet nose telling you it’s time for that morning walk. You’ve wanted to play fetch and hang out on the couch with your favorite canine family member. Unfortunately, your pet allergy problems have stood in the way, and you’ve had to settle for your lethargic fish. While you’ve read that some allergy sufferers can handle dog ownership by making some adjustments, you don’t want to get your hopes up. First, you’ll get the green light from your doctor. Next, you’ll talk to your Lorain veterinarian about some dog breeds that might work.

Surprising Pet Allergen Source

You probably think your pet allergies come from thick, fluffy dog fur. Actually, you react to a protein in dogs’ and cats’ urine and saliva. This unappetizing protein sticks to the pet’s dried skin flakes, or dander. When you stroke your dog’s fur, give him a good brushing, or sit in the same room while he shakes himself, your body reacts to allergens flying through the air.

Reduce Those Dog Allergy Risks

A petite Yorkshire terrier holds less dander than a 100-pound German shepherd; therefore, the Yorkie’s smaller surface area presents less risk. Giving your pooch a weekly bath also helps to knock down his coat dander. Tearing up your carpet, and replacing it with a laminate, hardwood, or tile floor can make a significant dent in your allergy risk. If that’s not possible, shampoo the carpet frequently to minimize the dander.

While you want the dog sleeping on your bed, keeping him out of the bedroom reduces your allergy risk. A good HEPA air purifier grabs many elusive airborne allergens, and a top-quality vent filter also helps. Give your dog plenty of outdoor exercise so he can shed more dander outside.

The Non-Shedding Dog Myth

You’ve likely read about non-shedding dogs who don’t cause problems for allergy sufferers. Actually, these magical dogs don’t exist, as all dogs trigger allergy symptoms to different degrees. Here’s the good news: Low-shedding dogs greatly lessen your allergy risk. Since these dogs don’t drop much fur, their dander generally stays on their fur instead of flying through the air and into your body.

Potential Canine Candidates

If you think a dog is feasible, research several purebred types who seem to coexist well with allergy sufferers. The American Kennel Club website features profiles for bichon frise, Maltese, poodle, Portugese water dog, and schnauzer breeds, for starters. Regional breed rescue groups often have adoptable dogs available.

Once you settle on the right pooch, and your Lorain vet gives him a thorough physical exam, get ready to experience those early morning walks and games firsthand.

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