Over ten million Americans suffer from some sort of a pet allergy. Many people experience itching, rashes and/or coughing and sneezing fits every time they go near a dog. However, if you are a dog lover but suffer from allergies, there are many steps you can take so you can breathe easy with a dog in your home.
Canine hygiene and care factors
Firstly, your dog’s diet may be negatively affecting his skin and should include some natural fat. This fat helps to make your dog’s skin less dry, resulting in less shedding. Talk to your vet for his recommendation on which food is best for this.
It is recommended to brush your dog daily, no matter whether his coat is long, short, wiry or soft. If you suffer from allergies, depending on the severity, you may need to give another family member the responsibility of brushing the dog. If the weather permits it, the dog should be brushed outdoors so the loose hair and dander does not settle in your home. If you live alone with your dog and are unable to groom him safely, consider taking him to a professional groomer. You could wear a dust mask and gloves for brushing him in between grooming visits.
Bathe your dog often with a quality dog shampoo, between 6 to 8 weeks is ideal. Washing your dog more frequently than 6 to 8 weeks may damage his skin and coat, so it isn’t normally advised. If your allergies can’t handle the bathing, have another family member be responsible for giving baths.
Wash your hands with soap and hot water after handling your dog. If you are unable to wash your hands right away, avoid touching your face with your hands.
Reducing allergy irritants in the home
Wash your dog’s bed, blankets, and toys on a weekly basis either by hand with a safe soap or in the washing machine. This is an absolute must as these items will be holding the saliva, dander and loose fur that is irritating your body.
Dust regularly before vacuuming and use a damp cloth to wipe down surfaces such as tables, counters, shelves, wall hangings, lamps and window sills. If necessary, wear a dust mask as you clean.
Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Air) filtration system. This type of system will help pull up and trap more of your dog’s dander from the floor. Vacuuming is recommended instead of sweeping because sweeping will stir the dander into the air. Even if you use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filtration system, it is beneficial to have your carpets steam-cleaned throughout the year. Try to have this done at least four times per annum, depending on the severity of your allergies.
Using an air purifier that contains a HEPA system will help eliminate dander in the air, therefore lessening your allergies.
It is advisable to not allow your dog in the bedroom, as this can have a large impact on your allergies. Keep the door closed at all times and your dog’s bed away from the doorway.
Best breeds for allergy sufferers
The following breeds typically produce less dander and therefore reduce allergic reactions:
- Airedale terrier
- Bedlington terrier
- Bichon frise
- Boston Terrier
- Chinese crested
- Irish water spaniel
- Italian greyhound
- Kerry blue terrier
- Old English Sheepdog
- Portuguese water dog
- Shih tzu
- Tibetan terrier
- Wire-haired fox terrier
- Xoloitzcuintli (aka Mexican hairless)