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My boyfriend is allergic to dogs, but I can't live without one and we live together in an apartment. We're not huge fans of most of the breeds that claim to be "hypoallergenic." Ideally we'd like something medium sized with short hair, a sweet disposition, and not high energy. How can we get a dog we really want and reduce allergens like saliva and shedding so my boyfriend doesn't have to suffer?
 

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If your boyfriend is allergic...he's going to suffer...even if it's just running nose all the time. If it gets worse...itchy skin, hives....you might end up getting a dog, falling in love with it...then finding out he just can't live with it.

If he's been around dogs long term before and knows what to expect...then that would be something he would have to accept and deal with stuffy nose and sneezing from the point on after the dog comes into your life.

I know mentioned you didn't like the looks of the dogs that claim to by hypoallergenic...but you might want to reconsider.

I have a forum friend from another board and she has an american hairless terrier and an Italian greyhound, (IGs only get a little over a foot tall). She loves dogs but is slightly allergic to them but found she could live with the short hair/no hair breeds. The only thing is...both are energetic dogs...but it seems like they are something some people can live with and still manage their allergies.

Wish I could say more to help. I have several friends with animal allergies - and I always feel so bad for them, because I know they enjoy animals.

Hopefully some day soon, science will have a way to cure allergies.

Stormy
 

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First of all, no dog is totally "hypoallergenic". Breeds like Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs may not shed or affect allergies very much, but if someone is severely allergic, they may still affect them. But why is it you don't like any of those breeds? Poodles and Bichons would probably fit the temperament you want, and are very smart, playful, and lovable. They may have a reputation for being frou frou dogs but don't hold that against them. They don't know people think they're prissy just because of looks! If you do get a dog that sheds I caution you. You can try to regularly clean the house and bathe a dog that does shed, but there's no guarantee that's going to help.But you don't want to buy/adopt a dog and have to return him in a week because your boyfriend is sneezing and covered in hives. Do NOT think that short hair = little shedding either. For example, Beagles have short hair but shed like crazy and often affect allergies a lot. Also, don't be tricked by "doodle" breeds if you go for a non-shedding one. Many "Goldendoodles" and "Labradoodles" DO shed and affect allergies. If they look more like a poodle, they probably don't, but you'd need to ask first. Either way, the best of luck, and in the meantime meet some non-shedding breeds up close and see that they might actually be the best fit for you, not only coat wise but personality too.
 
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I would invest in a good air filter along with whatever pup you decide on. maybe consider fostering a dog first? This way you know it doesn't have to be forever and it will give you a good trial of how living with a dog would be like for him.
 

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I'm allergic to my dog. As in...I'm supposed to be getting needles weekly (or every 5 days, ideally) in order to be able to breathe properly. I do have a few other allergies as well, so I'm very good at dealing with them now.

No breed is truly hypoallergenic, as was said before. Sometimes you'll react more to different oils-but that varies by dog, not by breed.

Having your dog on high quality food can help. Bathing helps, but can dry out your dog's skin, which causes more problems-so be careful about finding the ideal balance here. Adding oils to the dog's diet can help when you bathe to reduce dry skin.

Dust and vacuum daily. Twice daily, if you can. Clean thoroughly once a week and get under ALL furniture, in vents, and odd places you normally only clean at spring. Yes, weekly. Have an air filter. Go over the apartment with a black light and scrub until you're not grossed out anymore. Vinegar is a good cleaning agent, along with baking soda in the carpet (to remove odors), and aren't harmful to your dog when you're cleaning so frequently. Get a humidifier-and dehumidifier. You'll likely switch them up based on season. It helps a lot.

I honestly think you should choose a dog based off energy level more than ANYTHING else. If you are a couch potato or don't want to do much past basic obedience, and your dog is energetic, you are going to have a bad time-end of story. There's no way around that, while there are other ways to manage allergies, etc. That is one of the most common ways dogs end up in shelters! So choose based off this first, please-it really affects your life the most. Cleaning this much does too, but anyone with allergies knows they need to reduce ALL allergens-so say I'm allergic to dust AND dogs, reducing dog issues but not cleaning the dust away as well will help, but not help THAT much and vice versa.

You may want to consider adopting a dog-you can see which dog he reacts to the least at the shelter, as well as temperament varies greatly (so a dog that is no longer a puppy will have a more stable temperament). This way you can choose the energy level, personality, and see how things go MUCH better. The rescue staff can also help you find the right dog more easily this way, and it works out for everyone.
 

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I'm hyped up on antihistamine all the time because technically I'm allergic to both cats and dogs - I chose to work at a vet clinic; I'm a sucker for punishment. I also do my best to vacuum my house weekly and wash my bedding as well - keeps tessera's dander at bay... slightly. I also clean out my filters for my house/furnace monthly.
 

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I'm also allergic to dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, hamsters etc pretty much any cute furry animal I want to cuddle.

My reactions were mostly itchy eyes, rashes and breathing problems. The first time I had a reaction I had gotten a hair in my eye and rubbed it so much that the layer of my eye began to come away because it was so overwhelmed by the reaction, that side of my face also sunk in that's how bad it was. When my mum first saw me she thought I'd been hit in the face with a baseball bat.

But allergies can be managed, I don't have breathing problems or rashes with my BC who is long haired but my mums two shorthair BC's I have trouble breathing and always have itchy eyes. A lot of the time I personally think it depends on the dog, I can walk and spend all day with my friends Lab and nothing, but my neighbours Lab I'm sneezing like crazy!

I have to use an inhaler throughout the day, take anti histamines and take eye drops. Along with cleaning like crazy, make sure Buster is brushed regularly and that my house is well aired.

I agree with Kwenami on the energy level thing, that would be my number one! You could find a dog that your BF tolerates but it's energy level is totally out of whack with yours.
 
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I've seen products online like dog shampoos and special brushes that are suppose to reduce shedding. Does anyone know if things like that work?
 

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I've seen products online like dog shampoos and special brushes that are suppose to reduce shedding. Does anyone know if things like that work?
They may to some extent, but not to where it's going to make much difference for someone allergic to the animal. The allergens are very small and nearly impossible to contain in such a manner.

In my opinion, of course.
 

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I've seen products online like dog shampoos and special brushes that are suppose to reduce shedding. Does anyone know if things like that work?
The fur is not your enemy. It's the dander, or dead skin cells that naturally slough off throughout the dog's life. Your best bet for reducing skin dander is feeding a top notch diet and supplementing with salmon and coconut oil.

If you get a dog that sheds, brush it, but don't overbrush it. You don't want the undercoat to get impacted because thats where dander collects and could cause problems. But you also don't want to irritate the skin by overbrushing and make it flakey. I wouldn't use any deshed combs like the Furminator because they can be really irritating. You should also aim to brush the dog outside, or even take it to a groomer regularly for de-shed. That way the dander is not staying in your house.

Baths should be done no more than once a week, and only with a premium dog shampoo that has no harsh detergents. Again, you don't want to dry out the skin or irritate it.
 

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I've seen products online like dog shampoos and special brushes that are suppose to reduce shedding. Does anyone know if things like that work?
They work somewhat, but only on some of the dander for THAT day, meaning it needs to be reapplied pretty much everyday as it wears off. That's not at all good for any dogs coat or skin. Plus If your allergic to the saliva then well...your screwed, there is nothing that helps that. As @BusterBCsMum has said, I too am allergic to some dogs more than others. My neighbours Lab gives me hives. My lab mix, nothing but a bit of a stuffed nose. Same thing happens with some cats. It's just a matter of how much of a reaction you're willing to live with.

I'm willing to live with breathing issues (I'm asthmatic), stuffed noses, and the occasional itchiness, so long as I'm not covered in a rash/hives and my eyes aren't swollen shut - but lets be honest I'd rather get injections for my entire life then give up the pooper.

As others have said, definitely look at the energy level and be honest with your self. My dog is pretty much my upper limit, any subsequent pooches will be of equal or lesser (fingers crossed for lesser lol) energy. She's always on the go, figures things out quickly, and gets bored just as easily - definitely a border collie trait. Don't just look at a dog's physical needs either, mental energy is much more difficult to keep drained then physical. Also when looking at a pooch, don't just look for looks. I mean, yeah they play apart, but if I hadn't had an open mind I wouldn't have wound up with my pooch. I didn't want a black dog, wanted a smallish medium sized dog, and a low energy one....hahahaha

Good luck with the search!

**Edit to add - furminators need to be used mildly, especially if you choose a dog with a labs coat. The oils in the coat are required to keep it weather proof. The furminator, if used too often can cause too much removal of said oils and a whole lot of skin and coat problems
 
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My stepson is allergic to our dog, so I did quite a bit of research on this. I switched my dog to a completely raw diet because it reduces the production of dander. Short of raw, it must be a very high quality food. At the advice of my vet, we do not bathe him much (not since June as he hasn't needed it). Vet says that bathing dries out the skin and increases dander (and vet has allergies! so is quite knowledgable). We also have air filters all over the house and vacuum often with hepa filter. Dog is not allowed in some rooms.

After all that, it turned out that dog dander was barely registering on his blood test--pollens were way, way higher! And the hives that he has are idiopathic (cause can't be determined), but managed with ongoing medication. So it is very important that you have a good idea of how allergic your boyfriend is, and how his symptoms manifest. If he is highly allergic (like asthmatic), a dog is out of the question (sorry). Do you have any test results? If it isn't bad, it can be managed with medications and allergen control. I would get a small dog, and try it on a trial basis only. Try not to get attached until you have some real answers, or you may have heartache.
 

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Let me ask -- what kind of dogs do you like? What kind of temperament, activity level, look, drive etc do you like in a dog?

From your original post, you described my dog..except for she's *low* energy and also hypoallergenic. I feel that you can find a hypoallergenic dog that fits your requirements by careful selection through an experienced breeder.
 

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Let me ask -- what kind of dogs do you like? What kind of temperament, activity level, look, drive etc do you like in a dog?

From your original post, you described my dog..except for she's *low* energy and also hypoallergenic. I feel that you can find a hypoallergenic dog that fits your requirements by careful selection through an experienced breeder.
See, I grew up with labradors, a pit bull mix, and now I have a German Shepard Dog who is living with my parents. My boyfriend doesn't want a big dog though because we travel a lot and will be living in apartments for a while- plus, he's just not a fan of huge dogs. But I couldn't live with a small dog because I'm really clumsy and I trip a lot and I'm pretty sure I'd end up breaking it. So we're compromising and have decided we want a medium sized dog. He needs something with really short hair because what he is SUPER allergic to are the things that get caught in long fur, like pollens and grasses. He is pretty much allergic to the planet we live on, most animals and most things that would be found outside. He already takes prescription meds and gets regular shots, but we both really want a dog. We're pretty low energy so we want a pup that will be willing to cuddle up and snuggle on the couch, but we also want to take it for walks and play ball and have it play with our parents' dogs when we go to visit. (Yes, his parents have a dog, and yes, he is allergic to him, but it's to a livable extent. His parents' dog is a german shorthair.)
 

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I really would recommend a Bichon Frise. They don't shed and they're smaller but not delicate like Chihuahuas or Yorkies. They like to cuddle, play and go for a romp, do tricks, and are generally friendly to other people and dogs unless something happens to them. From what you describe it doesn't sound like your boyfriend could handle a dog that sheds. The only others I think might suit your desires are poodle mixes with a non-shedding coat, Cairn Terriers, Westies, Border Terriers, and MAYBE a standard or mini-Schnauzer. However if your boyfriend is that severely allergic I'm not sure if having a dog would be realistic. I think it's safe to say having a shedding dog is not realistic.
 

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See, I grew up with labradors, a pit bull mix, and now I have a German Shepard Dog who is living with my parents. My boyfriend doesn't want a big dog though because we travel a lot and will be living in apartments for a while- plus, he's just not a fan of huge dogs. But I couldn't live with a small dog because I'm really clumsy and I trip a lot and I'm pretty sure I'd end up breaking it. So we're compromising and have decided we want a medium sized dog. He needs something with really short hair because what he is SUPER allergic to are the things that get caught in long fur, like pollens and grasses. He is pretty much allergic to the planet we live on, most animals and most things that would be found outside. He already takes prescription meds and gets regular shots, but we both really want a dog. We're pretty low energy so we want a pup that will be willing to cuddle up and snuggle on the couch, but we also want to take it for walks and play ball and have it play with our parents' dogs when we go to visit. (Yes, his parents have a dog, and yes, he is allergic to him, but it's to a livable extent. His parents' dog is a german shorthair.)

So you need the dog to be short haired? How much grooming are you willing to do? Most of the supposed hypoallergenic dogs are long haired, but some can be shaved, others I would never recommend shaving since it will ruin the coat.

I do agree with Traciek88, it might not be realistic for y'all to have a dog, or if you decide to go ahead with it then a lot of trial and error may be needed. I have a friend who is very allergic to dogs, but she has built up a tolerance to her dog, I'm wondering if that's what happened with your bf's parents dog. Another thing to be aware of is the opposite can happen, the allergies could get worse and if that happens you won't be able to keep the dog. At one point my aunts allergies got so bad that being around dogs would mean she had to go get treatments at the hospital. Gonna agree that fostering may be the best option for y'all, that way you can see how it goes.

You might want to get an adult dog rather then a puppy. Puppies are a heck of a lot of work and as a rule, there are exceptions, they do not cuddle unless they are sleeping.
 

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Okay, so I know puppies are a lot of work and I know "it may not be realistic for us to get a dog." That's the stuff I don't need to hear. I've spent my entire life with dogs, I've worked with trainers, groomers, and I've raised several puppies. I know stuff. But I haven't had a lot of experience with allergies. I'm a crazy dog person and I need to have a dog, my boyfriend has accepted this and is willing to put up with some stuffy nose and wheezing. I'm just trying to figure out ways to make it as painless as POSSIBLE for him. I've done research on HEPA air filters and air sprays that claim to reduce allergen levels. Are there specific things anyone here recommends?
 

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Okay, so I know puppies are a lot of work and I know "it may not be realistic for us to get a dog." That's the stuff I don't need to hear. I've spent my entire life with dogs, I've worked with trainers, groomers, and I've raised several puppies. I know stuff. But I haven't had a lot of experience with allergies. I'm a crazy dog person and I need to have a dog, my boyfriend has accepted this and is willing to put up with some stuffy nose and wheezing. I'm just trying to figure out ways to make it as painless as POSSIBLE for him. I've done research on HEPA air filters and air sprays that claim to reduce allergen levels. Are there specific things anyone here recommends?
Other than air filters, try to reduce the amount of upholstry and cloth in your living space. Fabric holds dander. Rip up carpets and go hardwood or laminate if you can, and if not, vacuum 1-2 times a day. Get leather of vinyl furniture. Wash curtains regularly.

Keep the dog out of the bedroom and the door closed. Let that be a strict no-dog zone so your boyfriend has somewhere he can retreat to.

Feed the dog as high quality a diet as possible.

That's really about all you can do. Reduce dander on the dog. Reduce dander in the environment.
 

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Why don't you see if you can "borrow" a dog from a friend for a week and see how he reacts with different air cleaners and things like that? I would also consult a good allergist on what they recommend.
 
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