Animal Rescue New Orleans: Dog ownership possible even with allergies

You love dogs, always have, but you have not had the pleasure of owning one due to allergies.

Allergies to dogs are not a reaction to the dog or the dog’s fur. Rather, they are associated with the dog’s dander, the dry skin that flakes off and floats through the air. Allergies also can be triggered by dust and pollen that collect in a dog’s fur.

The good news is there is hope for those dog-loving, allergy-having people!

While there is no breed that is 100 percent allergy free, several breeds of dogs are considered hypoallergenic and produce less dander, which in turn makes them less likely to induce the sneezing, wheezing and watery eyes often experienced with a dog encounter.

Potentially hypoallergenic dog breeds include: basenji, Bedlington terrier, bichon frise, border terrier, Chinese crested, coton de tulear, Havanese, Irish water spaniel, Kerry blue terrier, Maltese, poodle, Portuguese water dog, puli, schnauzer, Shih Tzu, soft coated wheaten terrier, Xoloitzcuintli and Yorkshire terrier.

Now this does not mean you need to rush out to a breeder to get a purebred dog. Many mixed-breeds involving one of these low-dander breeds will also be appropriate for dander-allergic people. Your local shelter or rescue likely will have a dog to accommodate your needs.

It is important to keep in mind that each person with allergies will react differently to different dogs, even different dogs in the same breed.

Also, not all pet allergies are associated with dander. People can also have allergic responses to dog saliva and urine.

If you are allergic to dogs but still would like to have a dog in your family, see your doctor to get an appropriate diagnosis before you begin your dog search.

Many rescues and shelters also will let you do a trial run or a foster-to-adopt situation to make sure the dog is a good fit for your family and your allergies.

They say your soul isn’t truly awakened until you experience the love of a dog. Even if you’re allergic, with a little bit of research and thoughtful consideration, you just might be able to have that dog you’ve always wanted after all!

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a 501(c)3 nonprofit no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at arno.advocate@gmail.com, http://www.animalrescueneworleans.org or (504) 571-1900.