Dogs for people with allergies
This is the saddest article Iíve had to write. Mainly because at 3 years of age, my son was diagnosed with an allergy to dogs and so at the recommendation of the allergist, I decided that I wouldnít replace my 2 dogs when the time came for them to go. Being a real lover of dogs, this was a heartbreaking decision to make but I realised that for the sake of the dogs and my son, it was the right decision to make. Allergies to dogs are related to either their dander or more commonly to their saliva. Imagine having to tell your dogs 'no licking' when all they want is to say hi and kiss you. Which is why I had to draw the line on getting any other dogs in the future. As it is, I now have to separate the 2 parties Ė whenever my son goes out to the backyard, the dogs get shut up in the garage. What about those low allergen dogs that people always seem to promote? Yes there are dogs which are less prone to shed dander but all dogs have saliva and if that's the thing that triggers off your allergies then itís going to be hard to live with even the most 'hypoallegenic' dog breed which doesnít shed much. After all, dogs lick and nuzzle you as their way of showing affection so itís not going to be easy to stop that behavior. Having said that, if your allergies are more related to dander and dust mites then you do have alternatives in choosing your dog breeds. These are the more conventional pure breed dogs that are recommended for people with allergies because it is purported that they shed less. However, there are a growing number of whatís commonly termed, 'designer dog breeds' being bred specifically to cater for conditions like allergies eg the Labradoodle (Labrador cross Poodle) was first bred to give the blind with allergies a guide dog which didn't have the problem of shedding as much.
Picking dogs for people with allergies
- Choose hairless dogs Ė Chinese crested, Mexican hairless
- Dogs with fur which don't shed much dander Ė Bichon Frise, Bedlington terrier, Basenji, Italian Greyhound, Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers, Soft coated Wheaten Terriers.
Even if you choose to get one of these dogs, the following household rules would ease the allergies and would make your life with dogs more bearable :
- Do not sleep with the dogs and itís probably best not to allow them into the bedrooms or confine them just downstairs in the hard floored areas. Try using baby gates on stairs.
- Try to have just hardwood flooring wherever possible Ė carpet tends to harbour pet dander and makes it hard to remove.
- You can have HEPA air cleaners in the house to reduce the mold, pollen and dander level
- If the dogs are allowed on the sofas then itís best to have slip covers or sheets
- Vacuum the house regularly with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner..
- Wash your dog twice a month to remove dander. If you can get a pet groomer to do it at their parlour all the better because it means you donít have set off your allergies whilst doing it.
- Wash all the dog bedding and toys regularly. You can try using special laundry detergents formulated for allergy control Ė click here.
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