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How to Live With Dogs When You Are Allergic: 8 Vet-Approved Tips

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

woman playing with her bichon frise dog at the park

How to Live With Dogs When You Are Allergic: 8 Vet-Approved Tips

VET APPROVED

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSC GPCERT (OPHTHAL) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Achoo! No one likes sneezing, runny eyes, or itching! We love our pups but don’t always love that dander—it’s a real trigger. So, what exactly does a dog lover do when the dog dander doesn’t love them back?

Try to fix it! There are tons of things allergy sufferers can do. In this article, we go over the essential tips you need to follow to try to coexist with a dog if you have allergies.

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The 8 Tips for Living With Dogs When You Are Allergic

1. Don’t Rely on the Dog’s Breed

No dog is hypoallergenic. That’s something not a lot of breeders will tell you. After all, many of these designer breeds these days are touted as being hypoallergenic, and totally suitable for allergy sufferers of any kind. This is just simply not true.

Every single dog produces allergens, the proteins responsible for triggering allergies in susceptible people. Allergens are present in dog’s dander (dead skin cells), saliva, urine, and blood.

As people who love pets, we have to urge you to be careful! Often, hybrid dogs are advertised as being hypoallergenic.

It is a very sad thing when owners are forced to rehome their dogs because of poor advertising on the breeder’s part, or poor research on the owner’s part. So, do your research, but dogs that are generally considered hypoallergenic are low-shedding breeds, which will reduce the amount of hair they release but not the amount of dander.

dog sitting on woman's lap
Image Credit: NDAB Creativity, Shutterstock

2. Consider a Home Makeover

It might be time to tear up that old carpet you’ve hated for years. Having a hardwood floor not only lets you see all of the dirt on the ground much easier, but it does not trap all of the dander and debris like carpet does. Granted, this might be costly in some cases. But it is certainly something you can consider if you just can’t get over the sneezes.

You can also try to keep your dog out of carpeted rooms, such as bedrooms, to eliminate allergen exposure.


3. Keep Up With Good Housekeeping

Good housekeeping is a cardinal rule when you own any pet. If you suffer from allergies, this practice is even more important. The truth is our dogs are downright dirty sometimes! They are getting into the garbage, digging in the yard, and all sorts of other gross stuff.

Then they’re lying all over your belongings. You’re bound to get some cross-contamination. If you suffer from allergies, you’re going to want to wipe up every trace of your dog. Make sure that you are regularly washing linens, cleaning up fabrics, and sweeping furniture to remove these irritants.

You may also want to consider using HEPA air filters and air purifiers. These types of filters can help filter some of that dander out of the air so that you aren’t breathing it in.

woman cleaning the sofa with handheld vacuum cleaner
Image Credit: Den Rozhnovsky, Shutterstock

4. Practice Routine Grooming & Bathing

Brushing is a must, no matter the breed! Even if you have a very short-haired dog, it’s always a good idea to get them acclimated to brushing early in life. Unless you have a hairless dog that doesn’t shed, brushing is a practice every dog owner should take up early on in the relationship.

Some dogs will actually enjoy it very much! The same goes for bathing, as getting your dog used to baths from an early age will make life much easier and is an excellent way of collecting all of the dead hair and dander that would otherwise fall onto your furniture, fabrics, and floors. A key part of grooming is to keep in mind that, whenever possible, a non-allergy sufferer should do it. If this is not possible, you should use a disposable mask to avoid worsening your allergy symptoms.

Although no dog is completely hypoallergenic, regular bathing can help reduce the amount of dander and other allergens in their fur and the air. We highly recommend Hepper's Oatmeal Pet Shampoo for this job!

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For brushing, you can have several tools on hand to help, but the most useful depends on the coat type that your dog has. You can always consult your veterinarian or dog groomer if you are not sure which type of brush is best. For example, if your dog has a short coat, a bristle brush might work beautifully. However, if you have a dog that has a little bit of depth to their fur, you will want to use a slicker brush daily.

For heavy-shedding breeds, and the change of seasons, you can also use deshedding tools. These tools get to the skin, thoroughly removing any unwanted stray hairs and debris in the coat.


5. Give Non-Allergy Sufferers More Responsibility

Do you live with other people? Maybe you can negotiate the terms. If you have someone who doesn’t suffer from allergies in your home, you could always ask if they could take responsibility for some of the house cleaning and dog grooming.

If this is a spouse, they might already try to help out. But if it’s a roommate, you might want to sweeten the deal by helping out around the house in other ways.

owner vacuuming the carpet where the dog is lying
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

6. Keep Bedrooms Private

There’s nothing like a good snuggle from our adorable pups! However, your bedroom isn’t always the place to do that. You are laying your face directly on your fabric, where your dog is laying, and getting dander, fur, and all sorts of other irritants all over the place.

Even if they don’t directly sleep in your bed, sharing such an enclosed space in general can trigger unwanted symptoms. As mean as it sounds, you might have to eliminate access to keep your sanity and save your sneezes.


7. Train Your Dog Correctly

Dogs are highly trainable creatures that thrive when learning new tasks. You could easily teach virtually any dog to stay off of furniture, or to steer clear of certain rooms to have an “allergy free” zone in your home.

Then, they really don’t have a choice and you can still allow them some free space themselves. At first, restricting the home might feel like a punishment, but ultimately, it is going to enhance the relationship you have with your pooch.

border collie dog sitting on floor and looking up
Image Credit: smrm1977, Shutterstock

8. Talk With Your Doctor

If you have allergies to a dog but you really want to try keeping one as a pet, it’s vital that you speak to your doctor about what your options are. They can let you know how severe your allergies are and if you are allergic to more things. Your doctor can create a treatment plan tailored for you, prescribe medications, give you allergy shots, as well as suggest other ways you can reduce dog allergens in your home.

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Conclusion

Your health is the most important thing. Hopefully, we’ve given you some tips you can implement to make it easier for you and your pet to live together. It is important to know that, unfortunately, not everyone is able to do it, but you can give it a try with the guidance of your doctor. On top of taking the medication provided by a doctor if needed, you can try a few of these ideas out! We certainly hope you benefit from these tips!


Featured Image Credit: Mladen Mitrinovic, Shutterstock

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