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Allergies to dogs can strike anyone at any age, yet with how attached most owners are to their dogs, they seem to chose living with their allergies rather then giving up their beloved pets.
If you find yourself getting congested or suffering a runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, coughing, sore throat, skin rashes or hives, headaches, fatigue, difficulties breathing, or asthma symptoms when you're around dogs, then you probably have allergies.
You can still indulge in your appreciation for canines, but you will need to learn some basic techniques for protecting your health, while still enjoying your pet's company.
Firstly, dog allergens can adhere to clothing, drapes, walls, furniture and even remain airborne for quite awhile. You can ease your allergies by observing some basic rules of cleanliness.
Keep the dog out of areas where you will be sleeping or spending prolonged periods of time. Wash your hands after playtime, petting or grooming. You may need to take an over the counter allergy medication prior to playtime, extensive petting or grooming. A shower and change of clothing may help as well.
Never allow the dog to jump, sleep or play on furniture where you will be sitting, sleeping or using extensively. Dander will pool in these areas and cause a severe allergic reaction. Keep floors swept or vacuumed, and shampoo or steam carpets every second or third month. Keep the dog's bedding, toys and feeding area washed and clean also.
Second. A good HEPA air filter may help keep airborne dander under control, but you will need to maintain a rigorous grooming schedule if you want to prevent dander at the source. If grooming the dog yourself is a problem, you might need to recruit a friend or family member for this job.
Bathing should be once or twice a week, but be sure that the shampoo does not dry out the dog's skin or it will create worse dander. The use of a soft body brush can be daily, if gentle. It will remove loose dander on and in the hair.
A full body scrub down should be scheduled once or twice a week, this will work loose any flakes deeper in the coat. When I say 'scrub' I'm suggesting a firm body brush that will be able to massage the skin but not hurt the dog. If you brush too roughly your dog will quickly learn to dislike grooming, and it will become a miserable chore for both of you!
Third. No dog should be considered completely non-allergenic because, regardless of strict grooming and prevention techniques, all dogs produce dander, saliva and urine, which are the cause of allergies. There are some breeds, however, that produce less dander than others, and sufferers should seriously consider choosing from one of these breeds.
Airedales, Poodles and Schnauzers make the best choices for allergy sufferers. All three of these breeds shed less dander then other breeds. They also shed very little hair, and have very little dog odor if they are kept regularly groomed and cared for.
Airedales are a medium large breed originated in England where they were bred to be a brave, strong, and intelligent hunting dog. Today it is highly prized as a companion for it's beauty, shape and type. They're called the "King of Terriers" by dog fanciers. They have a merry temperament and love to play games. They are good learners, good with children and adapt themselves easily to either home, yard or garden.
On the downside, Airedale's coat should be trimmed by a professional, as they require their hair to be "plucked" or it will cause unhealthy skin problems, severe irritation, itching and of course, more dander.
One of the best features of this breed is choice in size. The standard and giant sized Poodles are a good choice for a family or individual with a large house or yard. They make excellent watchdogs or pets, and are so intelligent that they can be easily housebroken and even taught to do tricks. The miniature and toy poodles are less then 15 inches tall at the shoulder, and are just as intelligent and loving as their larger counterparts.
Poodles are an excellent choice for allergen sensitive owners. They do not shed, and the coat can be clipped quite close by your groomer, making soft brushing less of a chore. In fact, some poodle owners even learn how to clip their own dogs. Bathing is very simple for a poodle with a short coat, just avoid those lion manes and you'll have a perfect companion.
This breed also comes in a variety of sizes from Giant to Miniature, and the best part is that they have almost NO doggy odor! Just like Poodles, the Schnauzer needs to be clipped because they do not shed out hair as most dogs do. But unlike the Poodle, most Schnauzers are allowed to keep their beard and some fuzzy socks. If necessary, however you can modify his furry attire to best suit your needs.
Schnauzers are very brave, intelligent and aristocratic. He is excellent in a family setting, and was even given the name "kinder watcher" for his loving care of the children. They are so talented and versatile that they are equally suited for hunting, tracking, retrieving, security, guarding, military work, agility, competitive obedience and even learning tricks.
So if you find yourself driving past the dog park and thinking about how much you'd enjoy having a dog in your life, now might be a great time to act upon your desires.
You don't have to give up your love of dogs; you just need to find the right balance to fit a dog into your life. These beautiful and loving creatures truly deserve a warm place in our hearts, and the title of man's best friend.
Visit http://www.avidpets.com for additional helpful tips and advice on caring for both puppies and adult dogs.