Hypoallergenic Dog Explainer: Can You Own a Dog if You are Allergic?

Aug 10, 2023

Hypoallergenic Dog Explainer: Can You Own a Dog if You are Allergic?

3 minute read

Hypoallergenic Dog Explainer: Can You Own a Dog if You are Allergic?

What is a Dog Allergy?

It’s extremely common to be allergic to dogs and other pets. In fact, an estimated 10 to 20% of the world’s population has a dog allergy.

Having a pet allergy is very similar to having inhalant allergies like hay fever, with typical respiratory and nasal symptoms. When somebody is allergic to dogs, it means their immune system overreacts to proteins from the dog’s skin (dander), hair or fur, and saliva.

People who are allergic to dogs often experience a variety of symptoms. The most common include:

  • Sneezing or runny nose
  • Itchy, red eyes
  • Nasal congestion and post nasal drip
  • Itchy mouth or throat
  • Sinus pressure
  • Asthmatic symptoms, like wheezing and difficulty breathing

Here’s the good news: being allergic to dogs doesn’t automatically mean you can never be a pet owner. Investing in a hypoallergenic dog may be the answer.

Truths and Misconceptions About Hypoallergenic Dogs

People often think hypoallergenic dog breeds are completely allergen-free, although this is not the case.

The word “hypoallergenic” comes from the latin root “hypo-” meaning “beneath” or “less.” Therefore, hypoallergenic directly translates to “less allergens,” meaning that hypoallergenic pets produce less allergens than others.

The misconception that hypoallergenic dogs produce no allergens comes from the belief that people are only allergic to dog hair or fur. This is untrue, as dog dander and saliva are the prime culprits for allergic reactions.

When dogs groom themselves, the proteins in their saliva spread to their skin and coat. When they shed, the proteins are released into the environment, whether that be on clothes, furniture, or in the air.

Dogs that shed less are usually dubbed hypoallergenic because there is less protein-covered hair in the environment in which they live.

That being said, there is no surefire way of knowing how somebody with dog allergies will react to a hypoallergenic breed. Every dog is different, just as every individual with allergies is different.

Most Popular Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

Hypoallergenic dogs are usually those with curly coats or less hair. Long-haired dogs also tend to be hypoallergenic because of how often they need to be groomed to stay healthy.

Are poodles hypoallergenic? The poodle is a prime example of a dog that sheds very little and may be a good choice for pet owners with allergies. Poodles have curly hair and a single coat, unlike many breeds with two coats that shed seasonally. The dense, curly hair traps any loose hair instead of letting it shed around the home.

Most well-known hypoallergenic breeds are crossbred with poodles. These include:

  • Cockapoos: Cocker Spaniel-Poodle mix
  • Goldendoodle: Golden Retriever-Poodle mix
  • Yorkiepoo: Yorkshire Terrier-Poodle mix
  • St. Berdoodle: Saint Bernard-Poodle mix
  • Labradoodle: Labrador Retriever-Poodle mix
  • Schnoodle: Schnauzer-Poodle mix
  • Sheepadoodle: Old English Sheepdog-Poodle mix
  • Maltipoo: Maltese-Poodle mix

Poodle mixes that will shed the least are those crossed with other single-coat breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers and Malteses. This means the Maltipoo and Yorkiepoo mixes are the best bet for hypoallergenic dog breeds that are not purebred.

Other hypoallergenic dogs If you’re not a fan of the curly-haired Poodles, many shorter-haired dogs are also considered hypoallergenic. Some of these include:

  • Border Terriers
  • Australian Terriers
  • Italian Greyhounds
  • Wheaten Terriers
  • Schnauzers
  • Brussels Griffons
  • Airedales

How to Decrease Your Dog’s Allergen Load

Approximately half of all American households have a dog as a pet. Don’t let allergies get in the way of you finding your own furry friend.

Adopting or buying a dog breed known to be hypoallergenic is the best way to limit your allergic symptoms. That being said, there are a handful of actions you can take to lead a healthy life with pets.

These include:

  • Grooming: Get your dog groomed and cleaned regularly by a professional service, making sure the coat is being brushed.
  • Cleaning your floors: Vacuum your rugs and carpets often, and wipe down your hardwood and tile floors with soap and water.
  • Making dog-free zones: Keep your dog out of your bedroom and closet to limit your exposure to allergens.
  • Filtering the air: Use a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for heat and air conditioning to eliminate proteins in the air. Also, cover your vents with filtering material, like cheesecloths, to prevent allergens from spreading around your home.
  • Changing your clothing: After spending an extended amount of time with your dog, make it a point to put on a fresh outfit.

If your allergies really start to bother you, medical intervention is an option. Immunotherapy, steroid and antihistamine nasal sprays, and oral antihistamines are all treatments for handling dog allergy symptoms.

If you suspect you are allergic to dogs, or are interested in learning more about managing your symptoms, Cleared by LifeMD can help. Make an appointment today and start living a healthier life with your dog by your side.


Dr. Payel Gupta

Medically reviewed by Dr. Payel Gupta



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