Dogs and asthma

Does someone in your family have asthma, and you’re wondering if keeping a dog in the house would be safe? For an animal lover, it may be disappointing to hear that pet dander can trigger asthma symptoms. Dog’s dander and other substances (such as saliva and fur) contain proteins that could possibly induce an immune reaction, triggering shortness of breath, chest tightness, or wheezing.

However, this does not mean that everyone with asthma will experience the same reaction to dogs. The good news is that there are still some ways to reduce the risk of dog-induced asthma symptoms while keeping a beloved furry friend! 

Table of Contents:

  1. Hypoallergenic Dogs
  2. Living With a Furry Friend and Asthma
  3. Bidding Goodbye

Hypoallergenic Dogs 

Have you ever heard of the term “hypoallergenic dogs”? Generally, certain dog breeds are known to be safer for those with allergies and asthma. However, did you know that research also suggests that the gender of a dog also makes a difference? In fact, owning a female dog instead of a male could help you reduce the chances of triggering asthma symptoms.

According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology (ACAAI), dogs traditionally considered to be hypoallergenic include: 

  • Afghan Hound Poodle
  • Airedale Terriers Maltese
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Samoyed

Although no dogs are completely hypoallergenic, these breeds produce less dander and mostly do well with allergy sufferers.

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Living With a Furry Friend and Asthma 

If you or your loved ones have asthma, but you’re also eager to have a dog, here’s what you can do: 

Ensure your dog:

  • Gets neutered 
  • Has a clean shower once or twice a week 
  • Is regularly groomed and brushed every week
  • Is wiped down with a wet cloth or baby wipes every day

House tips to follow:

  • Keep your pet out of the bedroom
  • Use a HEPA filter or vacuum cleaner​ to remove asthma-inducing residues from your home 

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Bidding Goodbye

We understand that giving up a dog can be a really difficult decision. Nonetheless, if the above measures do not help in reducing allergy and asthma symptoms, it might be best to bid farewell to your furry friend. Try getting a close friend or family relative to adopt your dog so you can still continue visiting your loyal companion.

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References:

Bass, Pat. “Which Dogs Are Safe for Asthma?” Verywell Health, www.verywellhealth.com/dogs-and-asthma-201238

Fall, T., Ekberg, S., Lundholm, C. et al. Dog characteristics and future risk of asthma in children growing up with dogs. Sci Rep 8, 16899 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-35245-2.

“Hypoallergenic Dogs?” American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, www.acaai.org/resources/connect/ask-allergist/hypoallergenic-dogs.