Dogs and Allergies: Living with a Dog When You're Allergic

Learn about how people with allergies can live with dogs.

If you or someone in your home is allergic to dogs, you know how miserable it can be. Some people are dangerously allergic and can't live with dogs. Others can live comfortably with a dog if they take certain precautions.

What Causes Dog Allergies?

People who are allergic to dogs have an immune system that overreacts to specific proteins produced in the animals' saliva. Those proteins get spread around the dog's fur and skin, and they show up in the urine too. They get into the environment, including the furniture and air.

Signs of Dog Allergy in People

People who are allergic to dogs may show some of the following symptoms (or others—check with your doctor if you suspect a dog allergy):

People with asthma may have that condition triggered by exposure to dog allergens, creating life-threatening difficulty breathing. Those people should not live with dogs.

Are There Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no hypoallergenic breed of dog. All dogs produce the protein, which is present in their saliva and urine, that triggers allergies in humans. Dogs accepted to be hypoallergenic may produce less of it, but that hasn't been proven scientifically. Ultimately, how many allergens produced comes down to that individual dog. Some people are triggered by certain dogs and not others.

Modifications for Allergic People Living with Dogs

An allergic person who decides to live with a dog should always check with their doctor first. Here are some tips for helping an allergic person be more comfortable living with a dog:

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