Dealing With Pet Allergies

Catherine Forman
March 30, 2006

When my brother and I were little, we developed some pretty severe allergies, including allergies to animal dander. Forced to give up the family dog, we asked our allergist if we could ever have another pet.


"Sure," he'd answer. "Get a hermit crab. Get a snake!"

It wasn't quite the answer we wanted to hear. But if your allergies are that bad, something without fur may just be the way to go.

If your allergies are mild, you may be able to get away with a pet that is less likely to cause a reaction. A single-coated dog will be less likely to cause an allergic reaction than a double-coated dog. Some single-coated dogs are:

Want even less chance of a reaction? Hairless dogs will be even less likely to cause problems than the single-coated dogs! They may not look quite like the dog you imagine, but their lack of hair lowers the chances of causing a reaction.

Cats are (unfortunately) more often the culprit when it comes to allergies. But you may find your symptoms are less severe with a short-haired cat than a long-haired cat. There are even hairless breeds of cats like Rexes and Sphinxes.

Did you know that it's not actually the pet's hair that you are allergic to? Dogs and cats secrete certain proteins from their skin. The proteins can dry on the hair, but more often they soak into dead skin cells (dander) that flake off into the air.

Here are some other tips for coping with allergies and keeping your pets!

  1. Be a cleaning maniac. Vacuum frequently, wash the slip covers, wash the pillows, wash the drapes... you get the idea.

  2. Get rid of heavy cloth drapes and carpets that can trap dust and dander and other allergens.

  3. Run HEPA air filters to try and filter out some of the allergens in the air.

  4. Make a pet-free space, your bedroom is a good choice. Don't let the pets in. Run a special air filter to keep the air clean. You can even cover your mattress and pillows with plastic covers to protect yourself from dust mites.

  5. Bathe your pets frequently. Weekly. A thorough bathing can reduce the amount of allergens on a dog or cat more than eighty percent!

And by the way, hypoallergenic does NOT mean "free of allergens", it means less likely to cause allergic reactions.

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May 29, 2009

I was wondering if a Miniature Dachshund and Chihuahua cross are OK to have around people with allergies to animals?

By Jessica from MN


May 31, 20090 found this helpful

It's the dander that people are allergic to. Frequent baths will help. You can google hypo-allergenic dags and get a list.

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June 2, 20090 found this helpful

Dogs with hair that grows (& needs to be trimmed) are better for people with allergies then dogs with fur. Dogs with hair include: poodles, west highland terriers, scotty dogs, cocker spaniels, etc. Just think of the kind of dogs that go to the groomers fairly often. (I used to take my Westie about 3 times a year - then learned to just shave him).

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October 18, 2009

How much vitamin C can you give your dog for allergies? I have had several people tell me about this, but I do not know the dosage. They claim it is very successful.

By char from Whitehall, PA


October 20, 20090 found this helpful

Please ask your vet this question! It's going to depend on size and age and health of the dog and your vet can answer this safely!

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