Dog allergies affect lots of people; as many as 35% of UK pet owners suffer from allergies. If dog allergies have you reluctant to welcome a four-legged friend into your home, don’t let it put you off just yet! If you’re already lucky enough to have a pooch in your home but suffer from dog allergies, there are some ways to help.
What causes dog allergies?
Dander - a protein found in a pet’s urine, saliva and skin is usually the cause of dog allergies. Your dog will spread dander throughout the home just from chasing a toy or having a little ear scratch! Symptoms of dog allergies can vary, but may include some of the following:
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing
- Watery, red or itchy eyes
- Skin rash
If you’re suffering from these allergy symptoms, it may be worth taking an allergy test to confirm the cause – it might not be your pet.
Some breeds of hypoallergenic dogs are better suited to those with dog allergies. This won’t rule out allergies entirely, as pet allergies are triggered by dander and not fur. but hypoallergenic dogs who don’t shed might spread less dander. Examples of hypoallergenic dogs include:
- Shih Tzu
- Yorkshire Terrier (in fact, many types of terrier!)
- Bichon Frise
- Portuguese Water Dogs
- PoodleMiniature Schnauzer
- Lhasa Apso
How to help pet allergies
- Keep your dog out of the bedroom. You might like a cuddle with your pooch in bed, but your allergies will thank you if you resist using your dog as a pillow. Keep your bedroom as a dog-free zone for better sleep.
- Clean carpets and upholstery regularly. Hoovering your home at least once a week can help to reduce the levels of dander in your home. Vacuums with a HEPA filter can suck up tiny bits of matter like dander that other vacuum cleaners might miss.
- Use a HEPA air purifier. Using a HEPA filter vacuum will help when it comes to cleaning your home, but pet dander gets everywhere! A HEPA air purifier can reduce allergens in the air; keep one in the area your pooch spends the most time to help reduce the symptoms of dog allergies.
- Bath your dog at least once a week. Bathing your pooch will help reduce airborne allergens. A trip to the groomers will help too!
- Use allergy medication. Antihistamine medication can soothe symptoms; this can be in tablet, nasal spray, or eye drop form depending on where your symptoms strike.