Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Considerations Before Buying an Allergy Friendly Dog


To dream of owning a dog yet be faced with the harsh reality that the dog may trigger an unpleasant allergy reaction, can be both upsetting and a source of great frustration for dog-loving allergy sufferers. Buying an allergy friendly dog may be the only way they can tolerate having a dog in their home. Even though they may still experience allergic attacks, such occurrences may be less frequent and severe.

Choosing a dog that meets your expectations, budget and situation can be difficult at the best of times but this is further complicated when the issue of dog allergies exists. Most people who suffer from allergies in one form or another learn to adapt their lifestyle to cope with it, and so do large numbers of people who experience dog allergies. Except for the minority of dog allergy sufferers who experience a severe allergy reaction, the vast majority will be able to enjoy the company of a dog so long as they are patient, plan for it diligently and choose wisely.

As a generalization, due to the traits that distinguish an allergy friendly dog, they tend to be on the smaller side and consequently have a reduced allergen load e.g. produce less dander, saliva and urine compared to a larger dog. In addition, dispersal of the allergens tend to be lower due to the nature of their coat (and often a lack of an undercoat) coupled with reduced shedding. Therefore, even though nature decrees that all breeds of dog carry certain allergens, a dog allergy sufferer may put the odds in their favor by choosing an allergy friendly dog.

The chances of a successful outcome can be further enhanced by minimizing the build-up of detrimental allergens. As was pointed out in the various articles in allergic to dogs prevention, this can be achieved in a number of ways such as by making sure the dog sleeps in its own bed in a designated area and never in a person’s bedroom, undertaking house cleaning, vacuuming and wiping down of surfaces on a regular basis.

A point worth remembering is that allergies can manifest themselves at any point during a person’s life (See: Dog Allergies Symptoms – Allergic to Dogs Symptoms – Variability of Allergy Symptoms). Just because you have never had a problem with being around dogs doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t develop a problem at some point in the future. Even if you don’t suffer from dog allergies at present, the option for choosing an allergy friendly breed is still worthy of consideration and can be viewed in terms of erring on the side of caution given the lifespan of the average dog.

Interestingly, not all dog allergy sufferers respond to a given breed, or an individual dog of a particular breed in the same way. Therefore, when narrowing down the range of breeds to just a few favorites, it pays to spend time in the presence of a dog from each breed to see how you respond. If you don’t know anyone who owns such a breed, make a point of visiting several breeders in your locality.

During the visit be sure to get down to the dog’s height and stroke and play with them. This will bring you into close contact with their allergens and give an indication of the degree of sensitivity you have to this breed. However, be aware that even if you purchase an allergy friendly breed, it still may take a while for your body to adjust to the presence of their allergens. Fortunately, your symptoms should show a decreasing trend after a month or two, although some people may take longer.

Dog Size and Your Accommodation

Another factor to bear in mind is the size of the breed of dog in relation to the size of your accommodation. Common sense dictates a large dog will on average carry a greater volume of allergens than a small one, and that a smaller accommodation will facilitate a more rapid build up of allergens when compared to a larger one. Therefore, it is generally prudent to match a small dog to a small house or apartment to minimize the risk of allergy attacks. Conversely, larger dogs are better suited to larger homes.

Although some people try to circumvent this issue (i.e. those who choose to house large dogs in small apartments) by undertaking walking the dog frequently or leaving it in an outside yard for longer periods, the result long-term is that the dog may become a burden rather than the bundle of joy it should be.

Considerations Before Buying an Allergy Friendly Dog - Dog Size

Dog Temperament

The issue of dog temperament is an important one, especially if you have a family with young children. Although every dog is unique, certain breeds of dog tend to have a more consistent temperament and be safer around very young children.

Associated with this aspect (discussed below in greater detail) is the question, “What is the best age to buy a dog; puppy, young adult or a mature dog?” Regarding temperament, opinions are divided. There are those who feel that if a puppy is brought up in a loving environment and trained appropriately, it will develop a stronger bond long-term with the family and be safer for children to be around. The opposing stance points out that it is better to introduce into a family environment a young/fully adult dog that has already been trained properly. In reality both sides have their pros and cons. For example, puppies and younger dogs by nature are more unpredictable in their behavior, whereas an older dog whose background and upbringing is not fully known, means that you might be introducing into your family a dog with behavioral and temperament issues.

Whatever the case, always bear in mind that no matter how long you have had a dog or whatever the breed, no dog can be guaranteed to be 100 percent safe. Therefore, always apply due diligence and educate young children about the reality of owning a dog.

Age of Dog

The question of “What is the best age to buy an allergy friendly dog?” is a common one. From an allergy perspective, because a puppy is smaller it will tend to produce less allergens than when fully grown. However, there are 2 schools of thought regarding this issue:

  • Some people believe that a gradual exposure to increasing amounts of allergens (as the puppy matures into an adult dog) allows the owner’s immune system to adapt better. The result is that the owner’s symptoms remain stable or even improve as the dog matures. This idea draws parallels with an allergist’s use of regular injections (allergy shots) to build up a dog allergy sufferer’s immunity.
  • Conversely, there are those who feel that it is beneficial to buy a fully developed dog as you will know sooner rather than later whether there is a compatibility issue. This helps avoid the heartbreaking (but fortunately rare) scenario of having to sell an older dog that you have bonded with from a puppy.

Aside from the issue of allergies, there are various pros and cons to buying a dog at different stages of its life cycle. At the heart of the matter lie the questions of how much time and energy you are able or willing to devote to the dog, what is the size of your accommodation and if the dog is to be part of a family, what are the ages of the children?


The thought of bringing home an adorable little puppy has great appeal for many people. However cute they may be and attractive the proposition, the reality is that puppies require far more of your time and energy than an older dog. They are at the stage of life of being intensely curious of the world around them and this inquisitive nature may manifest itself in behavior that we consider destructive. Puppies by nature will want to have fun, play a lot, interact with their new human family and certainly not be left alone. This is especially the case for the weeks after being separated from their mother and siblings when they will be pining for their family.

Anyone who buys a puppy must be prepared to invest considerable time and effort in training the dog properly. This aspect is of paramount importance for correct socializing of the animal around both people and other animals. Due to dogs being intelligent creatures, training appropriate for their point of development can be implemented shortly after settling in. Training will involve various aspects such as toilet training, understanding a variety of commands, walking on a lead correctly, and learning what is, and what is not, acceptable behavior. However, one must remember that not only are there differences between various breeds and their rate of learning but also, no two dogs of the same breed will learn at the same rate e.g. toilet training dogs can take anywhere between 4-9 months, although some may take longer.

Although the process of training a dog will at times require you having to discipline it, if the training is carried out in a loving, consistent but firm manner, not only will the trained animal form a special bonding with the trainer but it will also learn that humans are ‘top dog’. This makes its temperament more predictable and subsequently safer around other people and especially children. It’s a win-win situation, for people will enjoy being in its company more, and as a result, the dog will receive more praise and affection.

Young Adults and Older

Puppies are not for everyone. Buying an allergy friendly dog that is a year or older is the answer for those who have limited time to train their dog. Young adult dogs are still active with a zest for life, but they are more independent and less mischievous than puppies. If the thought of owning a dog that responds to basic commands, enjoys being walked on a lead, lets you know when it needs to go the toilet and generally sleeps for longer is appealing to you, then buying a trained young adult may be the best choice.

Young adults and older dogs can be sourced through appropriate dog associations, via adverts in newspapers, local shops or the internet, animal shelters and dog homes or pounds. People either sell or abandon such animals for a variety of reasons and although these dogs might well come from loving homes, some may have been mistreated and abused. In all probability, with an extra dose of love and patience at the beginning, the majority of such dogs will adjust to their new home quickly once trust has been established.

However, although it is possible to obtain an older allergy friendly dog in this way, determining its breeding authenticity without the correct registration documents can prove very difficult. You may end up taking home a lovely faithful non-allergy friendly breed or one that has the appearance of an allergy friendly breed but who has lost its allergy friendly traits due to inappropriate cross breeding. Also, be aware that a minority of dogs have notable behavioral problems resulting from their innate nature or serious mistreatment in the past. In the interest of safety and despite the best of intentions, this type of dog would not be recommended for a family with young children.

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