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Hope for sniffles and sneezes Lori Fusaro | Sat, Mar 17 2012 12:36 PM

There are many people who have allergies to animals. Believe it or not, I’m one of them. It’s an allergy I developed later in life and I already had my pets. For me, I can’t imagine giving up my animals, and so I take allergy medication. But for some, that’s not an option and choosing a hypoallergenic dog is a better choice.

According to Dogster.com, “Individuals with pet allergies are not actually allergic to cat, dog, hamster, rabbit, or horse hair but to the dander that each animal sheds. Dander in furry animals is similar to dandruff in humans and even animals that do not shed fur shed dander into the environment.”

Most allergy specialists will recommend that people with pet allergies do not bring furry, dander-producing pets into their home. Sound advice, but for someone who wants a furry companion, not always the best answer. For allergy sufferers with mild to moderate reactions, the emotional benefits of having a pet often outweigh the physical discomfort.

If you're like me and will not be dissuaded to bringing a family friend into your home, there are breeds which with relatively low-allergens.

Dogster says,” Generally, these breeds are characterized by an assortment of coat types - very curly coated dogs (ex. Poodles of all sizes, Portuguese Water Dogs, Bedlington Terriers, Bichon Frises), hairless dogs (ex. American Crested, Chinese Crested Hairless), corded dogs (ex. Puli, Komondor, poodles), and wirehaired dogs (Wirehaired Fox Terrier, Broken Coat Parson/Jack Russell Terrier, Wirehaired Dachshund, Rough Coat Brussels Griffon, etc.). These breeds tend to have less fur than other breeds, but more importantly, generally shed less dander.”

If you choose to bring a pet into the home despite the inevitable allergy symptoms, consult with your allergist about appropriate air filters and vacuums. You’ll want to clean frequently and thoroughly. Keep your dog out of the bedroom at all times. Giving your dog a bath once every four weeks using anti-allergenic shampoos is also a good idea. Ask your allergist about cleaning products that can help reduce the allergens in the home.

Often, a person will be allergic to one breed and not another regardless of its known dander production. Spending time with a specific breed before adopting can help you determine how you will react. With some preparation and by following a few, simple rules, you can have your small dog and pet it, too.

 

Dogster’s top tips for keeping allergies at bay:

 

* Groom Often - By grooming your small dog every day, you can greatly reduce the allergens. Bathing them weekly is especially helpful as it removes the dander.

 

* Keep the Bedroom Off-Limits - It may be tough to learn to sleep without your pooch, but keeping the bedroom off-limits to him will create an allergen-free zone for you.

 

* Use a HEPA Filter - Invest in a HEPA air cleaner. It will catch much of the dander.

 

* Vacuum - Vacuuming regularly will get the dander that has settled in the rugs and couch.

 

* Wash Your Hands - Make it a habit to wash your hands after every petting session with your pooch.

 

* Give Your Dog Omega 3s - By including fish oil in your pup's diet, you will ensure that his coat is healthy and will reduce dander.

 

* Consider Medication - This is for you, not your pooch. There are many allergy medicines on the market. Your best bet is to see your doctor who can recommend the best one for pet allergies.

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