Can I Have a Dog If I Have Asthma?

Being a dog lover with asthma can be very devastating. Just the thought of a sweet and innocent puppy unknowingly triggering your attacks is heartbreaking. It’s also upsetting how they have no idea why you keep them out of your room or avoid giving them kisses and hugs.

The good news is, not all people with asthma are allergic to animals. Some can still keep furry friends at home with a few considerations. We’re here to help you weigh the benefits and disadvantages of having asthma and keeping a dog in your house.  

We provide insights into allergy testing, the importance of cleanliness, and “hypoallergenic dogs”.

If you have always wondered whether you can have a dog if you have asthma, read on to find out!

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dogs and asthma

Animal Allergens

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 30% of people with asthma are also allergic to animals, while 60% of American households have pets in their homes. People who are allergic to animals can be triggered by their dander, saliva, and urine, causing a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and asthma attacks.

This situation is common when the animal has long hair that is prone to shedding and dandruff. Moreover, their coat can also carry dust mites, pollen, and mold.

How to Know If You Can Still Have a Dog

If your asthma attacks aren’t triggered by animal allergens, then you are certainly fit to get a four-legged friend! But how can you be sure of this beforehand?

Ask for Allergy Testing

Lorene Alba, in her article, explains how 60% of people with asthma are triggered by allergies. Considering AAAAI’s statistics, we can say that half of them are due to animals. To know if you’re one of the unfortunate 30%, allergy testing is highly recommended.

These tests will help you find out exactly the things that you are allergic to so that you can build a strategy that will prevent unwanted asthma attacks and other reactions.

If you do find out that you are susceptible to animal allergens, it’s not yet the end of the world! Remember to consult your doctor and find out the possibility of owning one without getting severe reactions.

The key is to understand your allergy. Know how much you can tolerate dog dander, do a self-examination of your sensitivity, and check if limiting contact with pets can prevent your condition from worsening.

Preventing Asthma Attacks While Living with a Dog

If your doctor approves of you having a dog, they will likely provide you with a few health recommendations. It is important to follow each and every one of these rules to ensure your own safety! We know it will be hard, but remember that your puppy needs a healthy caretaker, too!

Consult a Vet, Too

We know that it is important to seek information from your own physician about your personal health, yet veterinarians play a crucial role here, too! They can explain what your doctor can’t about how you can live with your pet healthfully through proper training and helpful products.

They will also make you realize that we shouldn’t create homeless dogs just because of the assumption that pet allergy is the thing that’s triggering your asthma.

Keep Your Household Clean

Control pet dander and fur by frequently vacuuming inside your house with a HEPA filter. At least twice a week of this is enough to reduce your risk of asthma attacks. Vacuuming instead of sweeping will lessen fur flying in the air and just land on the ground as well.

Watch this video to see how a HEPA filter should work and which cleaner specialized for allergic people is a winner!

You are also advised to mop and use microfiber cloths to make sure that the dust is held well and safe from becoming airborne.

One last part of the house that needs extra care is your bedding. Change your own covers and your pet’s beds as often as possible since dust mites love to thrive on them!

Let Someone Groom Your Dog

Now there are two things to remember here. Get regular grooming for your dog and get someone else to do it. First, we know that your dog’s hygiene is critical to your own health. Frequent haircuts and brushes are recommended along with products that help to neutralize dander. These come in the form of shampoos and sprays.

Dander is basically scales or flakes from your dog’s skin, and when their saliva sticks to it, it can cause your asthma attacks.

Lastly, it’s essential for someone else to groom your dog to lessen your risk of being exposed to the triggering particles.

With that said, you can also make some homemade dog shampoo for shedding. It’s fairly easy, find out how you can by reading our article here.

Reduce Contact with Your Dog

This is self-explanatory. We all know that the best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid the allergen. Reducing contact with your dog includes controlling their access to your bedroom, playing without kissing, and washing your hands immediately after petting them.

It is possible to take care of your amazing dog while also creating allergen-free spaces for yourself!

Consider Medications and Immunotherapy

Your allergies can be treated short-term or long-term. Quick-relief medicines can immediately loosen the muscles on your airways to stop your wheezing or coughing within only a few minutes.

Meanwhile, long-term control medicines are taken over a long period of time (whether you’re feeling fine or not) to alleviate the allergy.

The most common maintenance medicines are corticosteroids. Allergy shots or immunotherapy can also be considered as a long-term solution for your allergy to dogs. These are administered once or twice a week over several years and may even require an insurance co-payment for each visit.

“Hypoallergenic” Dogs

According to Lucy Tan, DVM, a veterinarian at Laingsburg Animal Hospital, hypoallergenic dogs are a myth since all dogs shed. Although there are breeds that are considered allergen-free, they can still produce dander and triggering proteins like saliva and urine.

Aside from your own sensitivity, these dogs’ unique characteristics can either worsen or lessen the risk of your asthma attacks and allergic reactions.

Best Dog Breeds for You

No two dogs are alike. Some pets are more likely to be an asthma-trigger, while some are not. To help you out here are some dog breeds that are less prone to shedding and dander. Take note that American Kennel Club’s list is made purely out of generalizations!

  • Bichon Frise
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Chinese Crested

Yes, it is still possible to have a dog if you have asthma. You can consult with your doctor and a vet to see which specific dog breeds are best for you, and to ask for a list of necessary precautions you need to take when you’re planning on adopting a dog. We have a complete list of hypoallergenic dogs that you can find here.

P.S. Help a friend with asthma find out if they can have a dog by pinning this! 

can I have a dog with asthma