The growing popularity of all kinds of doodles (poodle crosses) is, in part, due to their reputation for being suitable for people with allergies to dogs. Many websites claim that breeds which don’t shed are less likely to cause allergic reactions, but this is not true.
Allergies to dogs (and cats) are not really due to the hair they shed, but to their dander (dead skin cells) and saliva. Some people may find non-shedding breeds less of a problem as they don’t drop saliva covered hairs into the environment, but they will still shed skin cells.
If you suffer from allergies it is a good idea to spend some time with dogs of your chosen breed before you commit to buying one; however, an absence of symptoms with one dog doesn’t mean you won’t be allergic to another. If you take on a dog or cat and then find a family member is allergic, what can you do?
Rehoming doesn’t always have to be the answer. Mild allergies can often be controlled by restricting the areas the pet can go and keeping them off soft furnishings, and especially beds. Wooden or tiled floors are easier to keep free of pet hair and dander, and pets can be bathed using a special shampoo which reduces the allergenic proteins on the pet’s skin.
Dogs and cats should not be allowed to lick people with pet allergies and can learn to interact with allergy sufferers from a distance. Other treatments for pet allergy sufferers include antihistamines, immunotherapy injections and asthma medications, which your GP can advise you on.
Please don’t forget that although children can grow out of pet allergies and may become tolerant of their own pets they may still react badly to other dogs or cats.