Dog ownership despite pet hair allergy - is that possible?
What does an allergy to dogs mean?
If you suffer from dog allergies, it is often said that you are allergic to pet hair. However, you should know that it is not the hair itself that causes allergic reactions. Specific animal proteins, such as Ca nf1, which are found in saliva, skin and urine, can stick to the hair as allergens. As your dog often licks its coat, these substances are transferred to the coat. If you come into contact with the hair or ingest the particles from the air, your immune system reacts hypersensitively and allergic reactions occur. Breathing in allergens mainly affects the mucous membranes and respiratory tract. Allergic reactions can also occur on the skin. Reactions can vary greatly, from a mild cold to severe respiratory distress. If you suspect that you are allergic, you should first find out which substances your body reacts to.
Possible allergic symptoms:
- Sneezing and allergic rhinitis
- Irritated cough
- Watery, itchy and burning eyes
- Sore or scratchy throat
- Skin, eye and nose tingling
- Redness, swelling and itching of the skin (including wheals)
- General restlessness and feeling unwell
- Shortness of breath and dizziness
- Sleep disturbances and lack of concentration
- In the long term also allergic asthma
Our tip: Under certain circumstances, it can be confused with a cold or other allergies, such as hay fever or dust mite allergy. Observe when, where and how strong the reactions occur. The symptoms of pet hair allergy occur suddenly and all year round.
Diagnosis and treatment of dog hair allergyAllergies can occur suddenly. It is difficult to understand what exactly you are allergic to. If you suspect that you are allergic to dogs or animals in general, you should have an allergy test done by your doctor. A so-called prick test can be used to find out which allergens your body reacts to by injecting small amounts into the skin. In addition, a blood test can help to determine the exact severity of the allergy.
To relieve acute allergic reactions, antihistamines can help. These are available in tablet form, as drops or as an inhalation spray. In more severe cases, special cortisone preparations can be used. In the long term, you can try to reduce the allergy by desensitisation. It is best to ask your doctor about a suitable therapy for you.
Possible dog breeds for allergy sufferers
Even though all dog breeds carry the same allergens, certain dog breeds are considered hypoallergenic. These dogs shed little to no hair or have no undercoat. These include, for example:
- Hybrid dogs, which have been crossed with poodles (Labradoodle, Godendoodle & Co.)
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Shih Tzu
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Nacked Dogs
Caution: Whether your body reacts allergically always depends on the intensity and the individual sensitivity to the allergens. No dog breed is allergen-free. While you may not have any symptoms with Susi the poodle, you may still have an allergic reaction with Rocky the poodle.
Before you get a dog, you should first test whether you are really not allergic to it. You can do this by taking a clump of hair home and sniffing it again and again. If there is no reaction for several days, it is less likely that a severe allergy will develop.
Dog despite allergy: Living together
If you get a dog despite your allergy, there are a few things to keep in mind. As a general rule, allergy carriers should be avoided. Pay attention to cleanliness and tidiness and declare your hoover your best friend. Here are some tips on how living with a dog despite allergies can be possible:
- Keep your flat or house thoroughly clean and as dust-free as possible
- Designate rooms where your dog has no business being. This is the only way to have a place of retreat in case of reactions. Above all, your dog should not share your bed or bedroom.
- Wash clothes regularly. Not only your clothes, but also all your dog's things, such as harnesses, blankets or coats, need to be cleaned regularly.
- Upholstery, carpets and dog bed should also be cleaned regularly.
- Daily showering. It is best to shower at night before going to bed so that the allergens are not transported to your bed.
- Change clothes and towels daily, or after intensive contact with your furry friend.
- Shower your dog - use a mild shampoo to gently shower your dog on a regular basis and reduce the potential allergens.
- Don't forget to wash your hands after contact with your dog!
Conclusion: Even if you are allergic to dogs, you can still keep a dog if you take appropriate hygienic measures, choose a dog and are willing to undergo desensitisation. However, pay attention to how you feel about it and whether you can do justice to the dog despite the allergy.