Maybe you're a dog parent who has always felt sympathy for those who are allergic to dogs. They are missing out on endless love, pets, and snuggles, after all. Conversely, maybe you're someone who loves dogs and would love to own one in a heartbeat, if it weren't for those pesky sniffles and sneezes that seem to come packaged with those adorable pups.
If you fall into the second camp, know that hope is not lost. Depending on the severity of your allergies, it is completely possible to lead a happy, mostly irritation-free coexistence with a four-legged friend.
WHAT CAUSES ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO DOGS?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, roughly 10% of the U.S. population is allergic to dogs. Symptoms include itching and runny eyes, stuffed and runny noses, sneezing, coughing, and hay fever. Contrary to popular belief, however, it is not simply the dog's fur that sets off the immune response in our bodies.
Rather, it is the proteins found in a dog's cells, saliva, or urine that can trigger allergic reactions in humans. When a dog grooms itself, these proteins cling to the dog's fur and skin. This dry skin, also called pet dander, can flake off and stick to floors, walls, furniture, and clothing.
While there is no dog breed that is 100% hypoallergenic, there are various breeds with non-shedding coats that produce less dander. If the proper precautions are taken and regular cleaning is performed, allergic reactions can be kept to a minimum!
LIVING WITH A HYPOALLERGENIC DOG
Humans' allergies are easily manageable. Here are some quick tips that will help you survive some minor allergies around your furry companion:
5 POPULAR HYPOALLERGENIC DOG BREEDS
1. Afghan Hound
Though strikingly beautiful, this breed is not for those who are short on patience. Originating from Afghanistan, this canine is hirsute with its long silky hair. Known for being aloof and independent, they like to do things their way. High maintenance and highly intelligent, this breed must be bathed and brushed twice a week.
2. Bichon Frise
Known for its loving nature, this cute, baby-doll face-like breed is nearly irresistible. It has a coarse outer coat and a dense undercoat. Although it does not shed hair, combing and brushing of fur regularly must be taken care of to avoid other skin problems. As a bonus, their playful, yet gentle demeanors make Bichon Frises great for households with children.
3. Giant Schnauzer
As the name goes, this is a giant pooch with a powerful and loyal personality. Very protective of their families, these dogs need to be properly socialized as they can be quite territorial. Famous for their weather-resistant coat, this breed is naturally active and will require regular exercise and grooming.
4. Irish Water Spaniel
Descended from Ireland, this breed is very active and make smart companions. Known for their water-repellent coat, this breed requires brushing to avoid matting and tangles. They interact will with children and as the name suggest, tend to be fond of water activities.
A cross-section of the Poodle and Labrador Retriever, this breed is know for little to no shedding and its highly positive temperament. Despite having a hypoallergenic coat, their coat requires regular brushing and grooming. Labradoodles make fantastic family pets and do well in environments with lots of social interaction. Lots of exercise is key, so make sure you have plenty of space for your pup to run!
This is only a small preview of an expansive list of allergy-friendly dog breeds. Ranging from small breeds such as toy poodles to Airedale Terriers, there's likely a pup for every need, personality, and living situation. It's extremely important to remember that there is no dog breed or crossbreed that is 100% hypoallergenic. But with the proper precautions and the right research, a loving coexistence complete with clear sinuses is possible.
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