If Rover is making you sneeze or wheeze, don't despair. You may not have to rehome him. Various products and canine grooming can make living with dog dander allergies easier to bear. If you're in the market for a dog but have allergies, consider buying or adopting a hypoallergenic breed.
Air cleaners suck allergens out of the environment, including pet dander. Use a high-efficiency particulate air filter that covers the entire house, or smaller cleaners for individual rooms. If you're allergic to other substances, such as pollen, HEPA air cleaners helps you cope with those irritants.
If you suffer from a dog dander allergy, your vacuum cleaner is your friend. Buy the best vacuum cleaner you can afford, withthe strongest sucking power. Some models are designed especially for use in homes with pets. Vacuum any carpets, bedding or upholstered furniture where Buddy spends significant time. Vacuum daily, if possible.
No matter how much your pooch wants to sleep on your bed or in the bedroom, don't let him do it. Your bedroom, where you spend eight hours out of 24, should be a dog-free zone. If possible, keep him out of there 24/7. It's also a good place to put an air cleaner.
Bathe the dog frequently with anti-dandruff shampoos suitable for pets. You can also spring for trips to the groomer if that's easier for you, allergy-wise. Between baths, wipe your dog down with a moist washcloth to keep dander down.
Visit your allergist for testing to determine exactly what triggers your allergies. It's possible dog dander is only one item on the list. Your doctor may recommend immunotherapy shots for symptom relief. While it's often effective, you are committing yourself to a regular series of shots for desensitization that can take years to complete.
While there's no such thing as a dog that is dander-free, some breeds or mixes reputedly don't trigger allergic reactions in many sufferers. These are generally poodles and poodle mixes, and the similar-looking Bichon Frise. These dogs have hair rather than fur, and they don't shed. It's not unusual for some people to react allergically to certain breeds and not others, or even particular dogs and not others. If there's a breed of dog you've spent time around without allergic incident, consider whether that type of canine suits your current lifestyle.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.