Although you or a family member suffers from allergies, there is no reason why you need to avoid inviting a dog into your home. First of all, let's dispel a myth: No dog is totally allergy-proof. That's because allergens are produced in the dog saliva and dander, so no dog can really be considered hypoallergenic. But here are things to consider:
Choose breeds that shed less. Breeds that drop less hair also spread less dander around your house. These breeds are often described as hypoallergenic and might be a better choice for an allergy sufferer. Even hairless breeds such as the Chinese crested produce allergens through their saliva and skin; their hairlessness doesn't make them allergen-free. When selecting a mixed-breed dog, don't assume that because one of the parents is a hypoallergenic breed that the puppy will be the same. Puppies within the same litter can vary on the amount of allergens they produce.
Spend time with a dog before you commit. Every dog is an individual and can produce different levels of allergens. To avoid disappointment, it's a good idea to spend some time with the specific dog or puppy you want to adopt before bringing it home. Ask the shelter or breeder if you can take the animal home overnight for a trial run.
Go small. Smaller breeds might be a better choice than larger breeds simply due to the fact that they are small and therefore produce fewer allergens.
Bathe your dog often. Bathing your dog twice a week will help reduce allergens in the environment.
Keep your house clean. Good housekeeping also reduces dog allergens. Vacuum and dust your home regularly and wash all tile floors.
Clean your air. Use an air purifier in your home to reduce airborne allergens.
Consider less carpet. In severe cases, you might consider minimizing the amount of carpeting you have in your house. Carpets catch and hold dog dander more than wood or tile floors.
Create a pet zone in your home. Consider keeping your pet in one area of your home, such as the kitchen, so you can control the spread of allergens to your bedroom or living room. When weather permits, let your dog spend part of the day outdoors in a safe environment.
Best Breeds for Allergy Sufferers
Here's a list of dog breeds that generally shed less than other breeds.
Small Breeds Considered Hypoallergenic:
Toy and miniature poodle
West Highland white terrier
Dandie Dinmont terrier
Wire fox terrier
Medium & Large Breeds Considered Hypoallergenic:
Kerry blue terrier
Portuguese water dog
Soft-coated wheaten terrier
Irish water spaniel
Standard and giant schnauzers
Bouvier des Flandres
Black Russian terrier