By Alfred J. Plechner, D.V.M.

If you or any member of your family has allergies to dogs, there are a number of different options you might consider without having to place your dog in a new home. Allergies to dogs come from exposure to the hair and the dander especially in a dog that routinely sheds its coat. If you already know you have allergies to a dog, but you are still interested in getting a dog, your veterinarian can help you pick a breed of dog that does not shed but may need to have an occasional hair cut. In any event, having a dog sleep in the same room with a member of your family that has allergies to dogs allows for a dander allergen build up in the room and can cause the person with the allergies to the dog, suffer more severe allergy symptoms.

If you already have a dog and you want to make that dog less allergenic to that member of your family, have a non-dog allergic member of your family bathe the dog at least once a week with an antidandruff shampoo followed by a conditioner. The purpose of an antidandruff shampoo is to remove all the free allergenic dander which is the major cause of allergies to dogs and at the same time remove loose hair that can also cause allergies. It is equally important to use a conditioner after the shampoo to help polarize the skin and coat in order to avoid particulate allergenic matter being released into the air from the dog between bathes. Often the antidandruff shampoo may already be combined with a conditioner which certainly makes giving a weekly bath a little easier and less time consuming.

It is significantly important that your dog does not suffer from any type of skin disorder because this can definitely increase the dander and shedding which can make the allergic symptoms much worse for the member of their family that is allergic to dogs. Your veterinarian can definitely help you with this problem.

Hopefully these options will help allow a person with allergies to dogs to still be able to enjoy the love and companionship of a dog without suffering from allergy symptoms.

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