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What happens when you have allergies but still long to be a pet parent? Can you do it? Or maybe someone else in your home is allergic, but you all want the love and companionship of a dog or a cat. The good news is some solutions are available to make this work!

The first thing to consider is how allergic you or your family member is. If these allergies are life-threatening, then bringing a dog or cat into your home wouldn’t be safe. However, if the allergies are tolerable, you can probably manage to have a happy home complete with a furry friend.

What causes allergies?
As you’re learning about the severity of your allergy, it’s important to understand what it is that you are allergic to. Typically, allergy-causing proteins in a dog or cat’s saliva and skin glands get on their fur and dander and then spread around your home. This is why a dog that sheds less is a better choice for someone with allergies. However, it’s important to know that there is no dog or cat completely who is completely non-allergenic. Many experts believe that the hypoallergenic dog is a legend but if animals shed less, there’s less hair and dander to trigger allergies.

Are there dogs that shed more or less than others?
It’s hard to say which dogs shed less, but people often think that curly-haired dogs with tighter coats, such as poodles, Airedale terriers, and Cairn terriers, shed less. You’ll want to be careful with designer breeds like labradoodles and goldendoodles because golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are some of the most prolific shedders around. Dogs like huskies, German shepherds, and Great Pyrenees are also known to be heavy-duty shedders.

What about cats?
As for cats, those with shorter fur will spread less hair and dander around. The more they’re in the sun, the more likely they are to shed. It’s important to know that shedding is a normal part of their body function, but brushing your cats regularly can help contain it.

Can you reduce shedding?
Yes, there are a few things you can do to help control your animal’s shedding:

  • Make sure to feed your dog or cat a nutrient and protein-rich diet to keep their skin and fur healthy. Talk to your vet about adding olive oil or fish oil to their diet to ensure they receive healthy Omega-3s.
  • Groom and brush them. If you take your dog outside to brush them, all that unwanted will stay outside rather than all around your house. Brushing your cat will help, too.
  • As tempting as it is, don’t let your pet sleep in your bed, and make sure to wash bedding frequently.
  • A good Hepa vacuum will help get more of the allergens out of your home, and remember to vacuum and dust regularly.
  • Wood floors are better than carpets for controlling allergies because carpets trap allergens.
  • Speak to your doctor about possible medications for you or your family member.

The bottom line is that anytime you bring a pet into your home, you have the risk of triggering allergies. Be careful of getting an “allergy-free” or “hypoallergenic” pet thinking you’ll be completely free of issues, but there are ways to control and live with allergies if you long to have a pet in your life. Speak with your doctor, do your research, and invest in a good vacuum and pet brush and it may just be possible to have that sweet dog or loving cat in your family.

November 7, 2023