Allergy Free Dogs
About Allergy Free Dogs
Allergy free dogs are something of a myth. In order for a dog to be considered hypoallergenic, it would have to be free of hair, dander, saliva and urine. For most people it is one of these that trigger an allergic reaction. So, having a hairless dog, for instance, could still trigger an allergic reaction in someone who is allergic to the saliva of the animal. Conversely, an allergic reaction to one breed of dog does not necessarily mean that an individual will also react to another breed.
Although there are no truly hypoallergenic dogs in existence, there may be a continuum in which some dogs will tend to cause lesser reactions, whereas other breeds may tend to cause more extreme reactions. The dogs that tend to cause the “lesser” allergic reactions are the ones that are loosely referred to as allergy free dogs.
Allergy Free Dogs - Breeds
Some dog breeds are known to cause fewer allergic reactions in individuals because of the type of hair they have and the amount of hair they shed. These dogs can be placed into four categories:
• Curly coated and corded breeds such as the Poodle and Bichon Frise
• Low shedding breeds, including Chihuahuas and Maltese
• Hairless breeds, like the Chinese Crested, Schnauzers, and American Hairless
• Terrier breeds, including Bedlington Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, and
Although these dog breeds are known to cause fewer allergic reactions in individuals, the dogs do need consistent care to maintain their allergy free attributes. For example, curly haired dogs and terriers require regular clipping and brushing. Hairless breeds require good skin care and protection from the elements. Single coated dogs have a tendency to have hair which tangles easily so they require regular brushing and cleaning.
Curly Coated and Corded Breeds
This breed is known to shed but their hair lasts much longer and therefore does not shed as frequently. The other benefit of this breed which can help allergy sufferers is that when these animals do shed, the hair usually clings to other hair, leaving less of a trail on carpets and furniture. Regular trimming and brushing will also help keep this breed as allergy free as possible.
Low Shedding and Single Coated Breeds
The undercoat of a dog is the coat that sheds the most. Single coated breeds have no undercoat so there is minimal hair loss on this breed, which makes them a good choice when looking for allergy free dogs. Remember, though, these dogs will still shed dander, which is the dead skin that initiates most allergic reactions responsible for dog allergy.
Hairless breeds are probably the best allergy free dogs for those suffering with dog allergies. They are clean and flea free but still salivate, urinate and produce some dander so there is the chance they can trigger an allergic reaction. With hairless dogs, it is very important to treat their skin regularly and protect them from the elements. The sun and cold temperatures can cause skin damage which is uncomfortable or painful for the dog and may produce more dander, increasing the chance of an allergic reaction to the owner. The living conditions such as hard surfaces can also be uncomfortable for this breed.
Terrier Type Breeds
Terriers are known to be a low shedding breed which also makes them a good choice for allergy sufferers.
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Some of the problematic breeds for allergy sufferers include the Basset Hound, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd and Irish Setter. These breeds can not be considered allergy free dogs as they all tend to produce a lot of dander which can easily trigger an allergic reaction in an allergy prone individual. These breeds are also known to have skin problems themselves so if an allergy sufferer wanted one of these breeds as a pet, it would be very important to be vigilant about the dog’s skin care in order to minimize the animal’s discomfort; just as it’s important for the owner to vigilant about his allergic reactions.
Should You Avoid Dogs?
In most allergy cases, the advice is to avoid the allergen to minimize allergic reactions. In the case of dog allergies, the advice is harder to adhere to, especially if the dog is already part of the family. In addition, avoidance is difficult because of visitors to your home who are dog owners; they can frequently enter your home and bring dog allergen with them, on their clothing for example.
In cases where avoidance is not an option, there are steps an individual can take to minimize the effects of an allergic reaction. Immunotherapy (or shots) may help allergy sufferers to increase their exposure to the offending allergen. With immunotherapy, the dosage of the injection is increased over time until a maintenance level is achieved. This helps one’s body to block their antibodies to the dog allergen. The process must be carried out with physician supervision, of course, as too much of a dosage increase can cause an allergic reaction. To reach a maintenance level, the process may take up to six months. It should be noted that immunotherapy has been proven to be effective in 60% to 80% of cases only. Another treatment for allergy sufferers is to use antihistamines. There are prescription and over-the-counter varieties which will alleviate allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, etc. Antihistamines can be found in regular and non-drowsy varieties.
There is an alternative allergy treatment available that may help you completely eliminate your dog allergy very quickly, and research shows that it works for eighty percent of patients who try it. This effective treatment for dog allergy is NAET
Eye drops and nasal sprays can also be used to alleviate allergy symptoms. They can be found over the counter or by prescription. Finally, individuals suffering a dog allergy can try to minimize their exposure to the allergen by regularly cleaning their home to minimize the amount of hair and dander present. Regular sweeping, vacuuming (carpets and furniture), and changing of sheets can greatly minimize the presence of dog hair and dander, making the home environment much easier to live in, even if the dog is allowed to roam the entire house.
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How to Shop for a Dog
If an individual has decided to obtain a dog knowing that he has allergies, it can be beneficial, after determining what type he wants, to visit a dog breeder to determine if an allergy exists to the particular breed. It is important that the individual not visit any other animals en route to the dog breeder as this would confound his results and make the cause of a possible reaction unclear.
If you are interested in allergy free dogs, spend a couple of hours with that dog or breed. The more time you can spend with the animal, the better. This will help you determine, with a higher degree of certainty, if an allergic reaction will occur. Just as it is important to avoid coming in contact with any animal before visiting the dog breeder, the individual will also not want to visit any animals for a few hours subsequent to the visit. This too would confound the results he is seeking in terms of a possible allergy.