Anyone who is allergic knows how bothersome the symptoms are – sneezing, runny nose, and lacrimation are just some of them. The situation becomes even more complicated if it turns out that the source of the allergens is the dream dog.
What if your children want a dog very badly, but you know they are allergic? Before making any decisions, it is worth finding out more about how dogs sensitize them, make sure what is the allergen that causes the allergy, and find ways to help fight allergy.
It turns out that the problem of dog allergies is quite common. It is estimated that 8 percent of the world’s population is known to be allergic to dogs. Some variability can be observed in children. 5 percent of 7- or 8-year-olds are allergic to this pet’s allergens, but as these children get older (11-12 years old), this increases to 10 percent.
Before taking the dog home, it is worth observing the child’s immune system’s reaction to any contact with a pet. You may, for example, take the kid to your friends who have a puppy.
It is worth checking if, after staying in the same room with a pet, cuddling with a dog, or after being licked by it, they develop any allergic symptoms. Then, if the situation seems bad, it may be better not to take in a dog unless you choose from hypoallergenic dogs.
What Causes Allergy
Contrary to the general belief, it is not dog’s hair that’s an allergen. What sensitizes allergy sufferers is the discharge from the glands that are found in the dog skin. However, the secretion can stick to the hair, and that’s how dead hair can cause allergic reactions.
Some people also show signs of hypersensitivity to certain proteins found in dogs’ urine, saliva, tears, feces, and blood. They include the one called “Can f1”. In most cases, it is responsible for the unpleasant symptoms of dog allergy in humans.
Animal allergens are inhaled by people – they can be found in house dust or furniture upholstery. They can float for hours in the air and stay in the apartment even for several weeks after the pet has been taken out. This means that it is enough to breathe in the room where the dog is or was for the symptoms to appear.
Dog Breeds for Allergy Sufferers
This is one of the most popular small dog breeds. Yorkshire Terriers have real hair that differs from regular pet hair, mainly because it rarely falls out and grows in length. For this reason, they require regular haircuts and daily combing, but they are a better option for the homes where one of the household members has mild allergy. These animals are very energetic, so they will need an active human companion.
They are relatively rare and hard to find, although their popularity has been increasing in recent years. They are wise, cheerful, and faithful dogs that are great with kids. Basenji is an ideal choice for allergy sufferers, because this breed doesn’t have an undercoat, which makes them shed less intensively. Plus, they hardly drool at all.
They are medium-sized dogs that are extremely intelligent and devoted to their families. They learn quickly and willingly participate in sports competitions, and some of them work as rescue dogs. They have a lush and soft coat that sheds, but their skin peels less intensely than other breeds. For this reason, Samoyeds are recommended for people who are hypersensitive to dogs.
They are social and easy to manage. Usually, they do not cause big problems when left alone at home or when it comes to contact with other dogs. They have mild temperaments, which is why they are an excellent breed for families with children. Maltese hair rarely falls out – it is long, straight, and silky. They are also not at all demanding when it comes to pet care. It is enough to comb their hair once every few days and take the pet to a beauty salon for haircuts (every few months should be enough).
This breed is considered to be very intelligent. Poodles have lush hair, which, contrary to appearances, is not highly allergenic – it may cause only a mild allergic reaction. They require regular baths and a haircut every few months. Their hair sheds poorly, so they are recommended for people who are hypersensitive to dogs. They have a strong hunting instinct and used to be a very popular hunting breed in the past.
Like Maltese and Yorkies, they have hair instead of fur – it rarely sheds out and has no undercoat. As a result, they are recommended for allergy sufferers who dream of having a dog at home. They should be brushed daily and trimmed every few months. Shih Tzu are calm little dogs that have a gentle temperament.
What to Do to Limit the Exposure to Allergens
All the breeds mentioned above may also cause a slight allergy. So it is essential to bathe your dog frequently and thoroughly – a clean coat carries fewer allergens. Secondly, clean the house often, so that dog hair or saliva does not stay on the floor or furniture. Thirdly, it is worth taking care of air purification – here, a good quality air purifier can help; its filters will catch the hair floating in the air.
There are many ways to have a happy and comfortable life with your dog, even if your child is allergic. It is also possible to desensitize to dog allergens, but the effects of immunotherapy in this case are not as good as desensitization to other allergens (dust or pollen). Therefore, following the advice mentioned above on ventilating your room and, above all, rethinking your new companion’s breed will be much more effective. Hypoallergenic dogs allow your kids to forget about allergies and can put a smile on the face of every child who cannot imagine life without a furry companion.