Can I Get a Dog if I’m Allergic to Them?

Have you been dreaming of owning a dog but you’re not sure your allergies would allow for it? With so many dog allergy myths out there, it can be hard to tell which are true and which are false. So, does the fact you are allergic to dogs mean you can never get one? Well the answer doesn’t have to be a simple yes or no. Let’s take a closer look.

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Allergies and Dogs Can Co-Exist

The good news is that it is possible for allergies and dogs to co-exist. Just because you have allergies, doesn’t mean you can never consider adopting a dog. And unlike you might have heard, you don’t have to stick to those few breeds that are “safe” for allergy sufferers.

Here’s the fact, if you are allergic to dogs any dog can bother you and cause a reaction. It doesn’t matter if the dog is hypoallergenic or not, you can have a reaction. Often it comes down to the person’s severity. Allergies can be rather mild and livable or they can be very severe. If you have a severe reaction to dogs, then unfortunately it’s not likely the best pet for you. Chances are it won’t change, and your allergy likely won’t just disappear.

What are you Allergic To?

Another common misconception that people have is that they are allergic to the dog’s fur. Therefore, if you just get a short haired dog or one that doesn’t shed, you shouldn’t have a problem. This is not true at all. The trigger for the majority of allergy sufferers is the dog’s dander – their flakes of dry skin. Any dog, with any type of fur will have this. Some people can also be allergic to the dog’s saliva, but this tends to be rarer.

Approach the Situation with Caution

The best way to be able to tell if you will be able to handle having a dog is to borrow one for a weekend or a few days. Ask a friend who owns a dog if you can babysit them for a few days. This is a fantastic way to see what triggers your allergies, how severe they are, and if they are symptoms you can deal with.

Tips to Make It Work

So now that you’ve figured out what your triggers are, and how mild or severe your allergies are, you may be ready to proceed with getting a dog. If so here are some tips you can use.

  • Wash your dog often. This is a great way to keep the dander under control, and prevent triggering your allergies. Ideally you want to wash your dog once a week.
  • Keep some areas in your house dog-free, which means the dog doesn’t go into those rooms. Your bedroom is a good place to designate dog free so that your allergies don’t bother you when you are trying to sleep.
  • Install HEPA filters in your home so they can work on keeping the air as allergen-free as possible.

By taking some extra steps, it may just be possible to have a dog and manage your allergies.