A non shedding dog, also known as a hypoallergenic dog, is the type of pet that is considered most suitable for those suffering from canine related allergies. Over forty breeds exist that have been classified as non shedding dogs – from small to large and lazy to energetic. There are breeds to suit every personality, size of home, and type of family.
If you (or a member of your family) suffer from an allergy to dogs, and you’re on the lookout for your first pet, this list may help you to make sure that your chosen breed has a suitable temperament and energy level as well as be hypoallergenic. It’s easy to concentrate on finding a dog that doesn’t shed hair and dander (dried skin cells), but you also need to find a breed that matches your lifestyle.
Symptoms of a dog allergy can vary depending on the severity.They can include:
- itchy eyes
- dry cough
- anaphylactic reaction (in severe cases)
Unfortunately there’s not yet a way to cure an allergy to dogs, it’s just something that you have to live with through the use of preventative measures. For anyone reading this who is anaphylactically allergic, this is a life threatening condition and you must visit your doctor who will likely give you an epi-pen for any potentially life threatening situations.
Other than that, wash your hands, vacuum often and get a dog that doesn’t shed.
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What is a dog allergy?
Allergies to dogs are more common than you might think, approximately 15% of the population suffer from a dog or cat allergy. Allergies occur when the immune system is overactive. A normally functioning immune system acts to detect potentially dangerous toxins, and bacteria.
Whereas, the immune system of someone with allergies works a little differently. The body overreacting to something as simple as contact with dried skin cells (dander), urine or saliva from a dog could cause a reaction.
Who can suffer?
Pet allergies can be disheartening for animal lovers, especially those who have developed an allergy over time. There have been cases of young adults who grew up with pets their whole lives and develop a pet allergy after returning home from college.
Talk about confusing, and frustrating!
Anyone can suffer from a pet allergy, but what is the likelihood of inheriting an allergy to pets if both of your parents are allergic? Well, there’s a whopping 70% likelihood that you’ll also suffer if both of your folks suffer from pet allergies.
Interestingly enough, those with allergies to mold, and pollen are far more likely to have an allergy to dogs, and cats than those with no other allergies.
Depending on the severity of the allergy, symptoms may not actually appear until several days after contact. This can make diagnosing a mild allergy all the more difficult.
Your doctor will listen to your symptoms and conduct either a blood or skin test to determine whether or not you have a true allergy. Symptoms can include:
- itchy eyes
- runny nose
- dry cough
- swelling of the throat
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Aside from steering clear of these four-legged bundles of joy, which doesn’t seem like a very good option, there are some ways to minimize the symptoms of pet allergies. Much has been said on the benefits of hypoallergenic canines as the ideal solution for those with pet allergies.
Though not 100% allergy free, some dogs are more bearable for those with allergies than others due to their lack of molting and minimal dander. In fact, when suffering from a mild allergy, the right breed may cause you no symptoms whatsoever.
Top ten most popular hypoallergenic dogs
Coming in both mini and regular size, the unique coat of the Poodle is ideally suited for those with allergies. Pictured above, they are a very intelligent breed, easy to train and super affectionate.
2. Dandie Dinmont Terriers
This breed doesn’t shed, but they do have a reasonable amount of energy. If you have a large garden or like to go on plenty of walks, these non shedding dogs may be right for you.
3. Portuguese Water Dog
But do be aware that this is a high energy breed that requires plenty of work every day to keep them sane. You’ll need to spend time exercising your dog and playing on a regular basis.
4. Border Terriers
This highly affectionate breed is one of the most popular terriers for allergy and non allergy sufferers alike do to their pleasant disposition and love of children and other dogs.
5. Hungarian Puli
It’s best to start their obedience training when they’re young, as they’re an intelligent dog that can get into mischief if they aren’t taught what’s good and what’s bad from the get go.
6. Bedlington Terrier
These medium sized canines, whilst generally quiet and unfazed in temperament, perform exceptionally well in the agility arena. Not only are they non shedding dogs, they make a great addition to any family.
7. Afghan Hound
They are often discounted as a possible choice for allergy sufferers because of the sheer volume of their hair. This often results in the misconception that they must shed copious amounts, but the opposite is true.
Incredibly strokable, this breed is renowned for their silky smooth hair. The Maltese is often chosen by seniors and apartment dwelling pet owners due to their small size, quiet nature and laid back personality.
9. Coton De Tulear
With a fluffy, cotton-like coat and an expression which some call “the permanent smile” plastered on their faces, it’s easy to see why this breed would be a welcome member to any family.
10. Irish Water Spaniel
Their facial structure isn’t too dissimilar to that of a poodle, but their energy levels far outrun that of their curly haired brethren! These non shedding dogs need to be paired with an owner that has plenty of time to run and play.
Famous Dog Allergy Sufferers
You’re not alone in your allergy plight. There are many famous faces who also struggle with the condition, but it doesn’t stop them from owning a canine companion or two.
Perhaps the most well known dog allergy sufferer is Malia Obama. The proud owner of Bo, the most famous Portuguese Water Dog in the world! This breed has become quite popular since the Obama’s took up residence in the White House
The model famous for America’s Next Top Model, Tyra Banks, is a sufferer of a dog allergy. Much like other allergy sufferers, she has spoken of her love for canines – most notable, the Beagle!
Orlando Bloom is another celebrity allergy sufferer. The Pirates of The Caribbean star is allergic to canines, but that didn’t stop him from rescuing a dog. He came across his pooch, Sidi, while filming Kingdom of Heaven in Morocco.
Home treatment for dog allergies
A great vacuum cleaner will go a long way – the stray hair, dead skin and other particles floating around your home can make you feel like a prisoner to the outside world. Invest in a great vacuum or self vacuum system to make your life a little less snuffly.
Let your bedroom be your sanctuary and declare it a dog free zone. If you suffer from serious allergies, you may even want to make a clothes changing rule prior to entering the room.
Installing an air purifier in your home is another great home remedy to help with pet allergies. One of the newest products on the market, doggy vacuums with pet safe brush attachments, are also extremely helpful for allergy sufferers.
And, let’s not forget that the more hair that you can wash and brush from your pet, the less there will be in your home. Allergy sufferers have reported an improvement in symptoms when washing their pets once per week and brushing them daily.
Medical treatments for dog allergies
Many medications exist to quell the exaggerated immune system’s reaction to dogs. The difference for those suffering with allergies can be truly remarkable, and the best way to find which will work for you is to discuss it with your doctor.
Unfortunately, some people have such severe allergies that they will do themselves serious damage by being around canines for an extended period of time.
If you suffer from extreme allergies, discuss with your doctor whether you may be one of the unlucky few who is doomed to be dog free. In this case, even if you love the companionship of dogs, it’s best for you not to adopt one of your own.
Instead, you can offer to volunteer at a local shelter. Walking dogs out in the open air may not trigger your allergies. It would be a great way for you to help out your local shelter and get to interact with dogs on a regular basis.
Tips for living with a pet allergy
This might not be the first thought to pop into your head when trying to come up with solutions to allergy symptoms, but by feeding your dog a high quality natural diet his skin will be healthier and shed far less. Be sure that the diet you choose includes omega fatty acids, even if you have non shedding dogs.
2. Replace carpets with tiles or wooden flooring
Carpets will be the bane of your existence if you suffer from a pet allergy. There’s just something about the texture and depth of a carpet that likes to trap and gradually disperse those pesky dog hairs and dander. If you have the budget to replace your carpet with a nice hygienic tile or wooden floor, it will be worth it!
3. Wash your hands
Are you guilty of stroking your pet and then forgetting to wash your hands? We’ve all been there. But, for those suffering with an allergy, this can make the difference between a great day and a sneezy day. A quick fix for this is to always have a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket!