The birth of the alleged hypo-allergenic cat in 2006 caused much controversy in the pet world. There was little to no proof that this new type of cat did not cause an allergic reaction in humans. Some owners claimed it worked but many said it was a hoax. Allergies to dogs are not as common as those to cats but they can interfere with life and can be very serious. There have also been attempts to sell certain dog breeds as hypo-allergenic but none are foolproof. Because humans are allergic to a pet’s dander and saliva rather than its fur, it makes it tough to create something that is completely hypo-allergenic.
People who are allergic to dogs experience many of the following symptoms: itchy eyes, runny nose, itchy skin and rashes. It can even lead to asthmatic symptoms and develop into a serious case of asthma. There is no breed of dog that is completely hypo-allergenic so beware of breeders who try to sell dogs with that trait. There are, however, certain breeds of small dogs that produce less dander and this can help alleviate the allergy symptoms. Another helpful tactic is to get a breed that does not bark much, thus reducing the amount of saliva you’ll encounter.
Poodles and Poodle-Mixes: Toy and Miniature Poodles share the same gene as their large cousin which keeps them from shedding. Though the shedding is not directly related to most allergies, it can cause a secondary allergic reaction. They also produce less dander than other dogs. Some small Poodle mixes are the Affenpoo (Affenpinscher/Poodle), Bich-Poo (Bichon Frise/Poodle), Bossi-Poo (Boston Terrier/Poodle), and the Pugapoo (Pug/Poodle).
Terriers: Many terriers are good choices for a person with dog allergies. Because their coat is so dense and wiry, there is little shedding (which causes the secondary allergies) and they have a lower amount of dander. These include the Border Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Tibetan Terrier and West Highland White Terrier.
Lapdogs: Some of the small lapdogs are considered better for allergy sufferers, though many are great barkers which means more saliva is let loose into the air. The Bichon Frise does not shed and produces slightly less dander but it is known as a barker. This is true also for the Maltese and Havanese.
Toy Dogs: The less there is of your pup, the less dander there will be. Dogs such as the Yorkie, Chihuahua and Pomeranian produce a similar amount of dander per pound to other dogs but their tiny size means there will be far less dander in the house.
1. Groom Often – By grooming your small dog every day, you can greatly reduce the allergens, especially if you use a product such as Allerpet. Bathing them weekly is especially helpful as it removes the dander.
2. 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 a allergen-free zone for you.
3. Use a HEPA Filter – Invest in a HEPA air cleaner. It will catch much of the dander.
4. Vacuum – Vacuuming regularly will get the dander which has settled in the rugs and couch.
5. Wash Your Hands – Make it a habit to wash your hands after every petting session with your pooch.
6. 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.
7. 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.
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 buying or adopting it can help you determine how you will react to it. And don’t rush out to buy a Chinese Crested – hairless dogs can cause even more allergic reactions because their dander has no fur catching it before it goes into the air. With some preparation and by following a few, simple rules, you can have your small dog and pet it, too.