Allergic to Dogs
It’s springtime and those of us with seasonal allergies are just beginning to feel the effects of the pollens before us. One thing I'm grateful for is that I do not (at this time) have an allergy to dogs. Talk about ruining a career! As much as I've been exposed to hair, dander and saliva surely I'd have built up immunity for life, but that isn't the case with many of my clients.
I have several clients who are allergic to dogs. So why are they clients you ask? Well, to help keep the hair and dander down on their beloved pet they are allergic to, or because they have found breeds which are less allergenic than most dogs and they can tolerate them better. So which breeds are best for dog allergy sufferers? The best breeds are those who are low-shedding breeds or those who need to have their hair cut regularly; however there are no truly hypoallergenic dogs. Poodle, Maltese, Shih-Tzu, Bichon-Frise, Bolognese, Havanese, Coton de Tulear, Lowchen, Komondor, Puli, Irish Water Spaniel, Portuguese Water Dog, Chinese Crested, Schnauzer,
Take for example the Obama family. Our new first dog is a Portuguese Water Dog. They have children with allergies to dogs and had to be especially careful about the breed they brought into the house. Hopefully the new “Portie” will grow up and not become a source of allergies for the family. The reason I say that is because puppies don't shed and rarely cause allergy problems until puberty when the puppy hair goes out and the adult coat comes in. Many people with puppies find out the hard way that the beloved puppy they have raised grows up to become a big problem for the allergy sufferer in the family. Porties are low shedding, like a poodle, they can have a curly, wavy or “whirly” (a mixture of wavy and curly) coats. They don't have a seasonal shedding undercoat such as a sheltie or golden retriever. But they have the love of water and personality of a wonderful family dog. I hope it’s a good match. I happen to know a groomer in
So what do you do if you are allergic to your dog? Well I know what I would do if it were me. First of all I'd be heading to my doctor and getting some medication for myself, and looking into immunotherapy shots. I've actually done that years ago when it was discovered I had a mild allergy to horses and cats amongst other things. There was no way I'd give them up! So I had weekly to monthly needle pokes, that were so easy I never even felt them, and after about a year and a half, I stopped them. I can't say for sure that they worked because I learned to avoid grooming my horses in springtime; I let my friend’s kids brush them in exchange for riding time. Springtime shedding was the only time my horses ever bothered my asthma. Once that was over, it was smooth sailing. I had myself tested a few years ago again for dogs and cats when an allergy flared up, and it turns out that I am showing no signs of allergy to either one, however I'm allergic to guinea pigs. Go figure! The doctor thought that my constant exposure to the dander and hair was actually a good thing for my allergies and apparently has built up my immunity to cats. He also discovered that my immunotherapy shots from years before did not have any cat dander in them all that time that I was on the shots, so I was never being treated for my cat allergy. I have two house cats now.
One thing that can really help you is to have your dog groomed for you by a professional groomer and be sure to tell them you are trying to help your allergies. Groomers can really get out undercoat that would take you weeks otherwise. Frequent bathing helps control the dander, as do some rub on treatments such as Allerpet® that you rub on your pet weekly between baths. I know many people who swear by it. A really good diet for the dog also helps the skin so it doesn't produce as much dander.
So allergies don't always have to mean finding a new home for Fido, sometimes it just takes a little more care to keep the hair and dander under control as well as taking good care of yourself and perhaps a little medication. Singulair® has been enormous help to me with my allergies, I haven't had an asthma attack since I've been on it, and I can feel the difference if I forget to take it. So I live with taking a pill daily. Some things you can't avoid, other things you choose not to avoid. That seems to keep life happier for me.