Choosing the right dog when you have allergies
Most of you who read my blog know I have allergies, but did you know I have a dog?
It’s said we’re a nation of dog lovers and I’m no exception. My dog is called Gimli – no surprise as myself and my husband are huge fans of Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit.
I’m sure many of you think the two don’t go together – how can I have a dog when I have allergies?
There isn’t a dog which is 100% hypoallergenic, but it is possible to find less allergic breeds suited to those of us with allergies.
What people are allergic to is the dander (the tiny flecks of skin they shed) on the dogs’ coat, not the actual dog!
When a dog malts, their dander-covered fur is left around the house and it is this that allergic people react to. Therefore, you need to seek dogs that don’t shed as this can reduce allergy symptoms.
5 dogs that shed less:
1. Bichon Frise
3. Standard poodle
4. Standard Schnauzer
5. Bedlington Terrier
When you’re looking to have a dog as a pet, visit the dog more than once before taking it home, and go on different days to see if you have any allergic reactions.
If you are getting a rescue dog, it is far harder to know if the dog is a pure or cross breed, so you can’t be certain if you will be safe from an allergic reaction – so the above action will help with that. Also, most good rescue centres will want you to spend a serious amount of time with any dog you want to rescue. It’s rare for them to let you take it home on day one.
5 tips for having a dog when you have allergies:
1. Choice of Dog – I have a Maltipoo called Gimli. Matt and I chose him because they are nearest to being a hypoallergenic dog, as their coats don’t shed. They are cross between a Maltese and a Toy or Miniature Poodle. They have a loving nature, and are affectionate and gentle, but also very active and enjoy life and a great hypoallergenic dog breed. As you may know, Matt is a huge fan of ‘Lord of the Rings’, and Gimli is the ginger Dwarf in the story, so because Gimli is so small, the name was chosen.
2. Keep your dogs off beds and furniture as much as possible – If they pick anything up, it can transfer to your bedding. Cover your bed with another blanket that they can lie on, and that can be easily washed. You can do the same on furniture. Also, hard wood flooring is better than carpet, because any fur can be seen and easily vacuumed away.
3. Grooming – treat skin conditions. Brush outdoors, so that fur and dander doesn’t fly around. Use wet microfiber towels to wipe pollen off your dog when you’ve been out. Gimli hates bath time, although at the moment, we don’t bath him too often. As he is so young, we don’t want him to lose his essential oils and cause skin problems. When we do, it’s a nightmare, and one of us has to climb into the bath tub with him!
4. Food – talking about food, I had to carefully research his food. If he is going to lick me, which of course he does, then if he has eaten something I’m allergic to, I can have an anaphylactic reaction. So, choosing the right food is important. He was eating Barking Heads puppy food, which was good quality for him, and completely free from anything I’m allergic to. Now, we’ve moved on to Harrington’s puppy food which is a hypoallergenic dog food. Many pet treats contain nuts, so we use Wagg Pet Food treats, which are also allergy safe. Another you can use is Pet Munchies treats. Both of these examples are peanut free dog treats.
5. Shampoo – I use Pet Head puppy shampoo, because I have to choose products that don’t have hidden ingredients that are allergens for me. This one is completely safe for me to use on him, and great for his puppy skin too.
With an awareness of how I can keep myself safe and give Gimli a good life, this is one of the best things I’ve done. He is such fun and makes us laugh every day.