Allergies to dogs may be caused by skin flakes or dander, saliva, urine or the actual fur. In a home setting, this can also cause an increase in dust mite activity which can affect people with sensitivities. The cause of the allergy and the severity of the reaction varies from person to person.
If you suffer from dog-related allergies or asthma but desperately want to share your home with a hound, here are some top tips to give you the best chance of fulfilling your dog-owning dreams:
- Non-shedding, oily-coated, silky, fine haired or hairless breeds and crossbreeds may be more easily tolerated by sufferers. You can read our list of more suitable breed types.
- Once you have researched and chosen your breed, spend some time with it to see how you react. Spend a couple of hours with the breeder and their dogs if you are considering a pedigree puppy. Be sure to obtain a guarantee in writing that the breeder will take the puppy back should a problem arise.
- Groom your dog daily in the garden or out of doors. Wash his bedding at least once a week. Don’t let him in your bedroom. Hoover carpets and soft furnishings on a regular basis. Ideally, remove carpets and have hard floors instead, replace curtains with blinds, and use leather and wooden furniture. Use an environmental spray designed to reduce housedust mites to reduce the general allergen load. These are available from your vet.
- Consider trying a product such as Petal Cleanse™, which claims to remove pet allergens from the coat with weekly application. UK trials of the product showed that over 90% of people with pet allergies benefited from use. Although Dogs Trust does not endorse any products, feedback suggests this has helped many allergy sufferers. See the Bio Life website for more information.
Sadly even after taking these precautions, an allergy may still be too severe to give a dog a permanent home. If this is the case for you, but you’d still like to be involved in a dog’s life, why not consider sponsoring a dog?