A non shedding dog, or hypoallergenic dog, will be most suitable for people suffering from allergies. Over forty breeds exist that have been classified as non shedding dogs. If you suffer from an allergy to dogs and wish to adopt, the below list will help you pick an appropriate hypoallergenic companion.
What Is a Dog Allergy?
Approximately 15% of the population suffer from either a cat or dog allergy. There’s not yet a way to cure an allergy to dogs, and people need to use preventative measures to live with this condition. Adopting a non shedding dog breed is a one of those measures.
Allergies occur when the immune system is overactive. While a normally functioning immune system acts to detect potentially dangerous toxins, and bacteria, the immune system of allergy sufferers works differently. The body will be overreacting to something as simple as contact with dog hair, dried skin cells (pet dander), urine or saliva.
Symptoms of a dog allergy can vary depending on the severity, and will include:
- Itchy eyes
- Dry cough
- Anaphylactic reaction (in severe cases)
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 look at your symptoms and conduct either an allergy blood or skin test to determine whether or not you have a true allergy to dogs.
Note: If you are anaphylactically allergic to dogs, remember that 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.
Who Can Suffer from Allergies to Dogs?
Pet allergies can be disheartening for animal lovers. There have been cases of young adults who grew up with pets their whole lives and develop a dog allergy after returning home from college.
Technically, any person can suffer from a pet allergy. There’s also a whopping 70% likelihood that you’ll suffer from allergies to pets if both of your parents have this condition. Interestingly, those with allergies to mold and pollen are also far more likely to have an allergy to dogs.
Much has been said on the benefits of hypoallergenic dogs as the ideal solution for those with pet allergies wanting to adopt a pet. Though not 100% allergy free, some dogs are more bearable allergy sufferers than others due to their lack of molting and minimal dander. Sometimes, the right breed may cause you no symptoms whatsoever.
10 Non Shedding Dogs for Allergic People
Coming in both mini and regular size, the unique coat of the Poodle (pictured above) is ideally suited for those with allergies. They are known as one of the most popular non shedding dog breeds due to the structure of their coat and little shedding. Furthermore, they are a very intelligent breed, easy to train and extremely affectionate.
Who could resist this breed, often referred to as just Dandies, This small terrier is similar in build to a dachshund with their short legs and long body. 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.
One of the larger non shedding dogs, this breed is one of the most popular pups for those suffering from allergies. 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.
The loveable Border Terrier has a distinct and unique coat. They love to split their time between exploring the outdoors and snuggling on the sofa. 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.
If you’re into the dreadlock look these non shedding dogs may be just your style. This dog is fiercely loyal and renowned for their guarding ability. 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.
The Bedlington Terrier is recognizable by their unique conformation and coat. Their fluffy coat is often likened to that of a lamb. 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.
How can I include the Afghan Hound on my list of non shedding dogs and not mention their luscious locks? 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.
This charming little breed has a great temperament, especially suited to owners with small children due to their incredibly gentle nature. 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.
Despite this breed’s delicate look, they are known to be both sturdy and hardy, on top of being a hypoallergenic dog. 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, especially for those with allergic reactions to dogs.
A highly inquisitive creature, the Irish Water Spaniel does far better in an environment of exploration, fun and activity. 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 for pet hair 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 good quality 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 pet 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.
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 Allergies to Dogs
In addition to avoiding pet allergens, 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.
Some of the best pet allergy relief aids available over the counter are:
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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.
Most popular strong medications for dog allergies are:
- Leukotriene modifiers
If your allergies are simply too strong even with non shedding dogs, then instead of adopting, 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.
3 Tips for Living With a Pet Allergy
Since pet allergies are incurable, there are preventative methods – other than adopting non shedding dogs – that you can take to further reduce allergic reactions.
1. Feed high quality food to reduce shedding
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!