Many people have two loves in their life: their pup and their human partner. But what are you supposed to do if your partner is allergic to your dog? Besides the super sad solution of getting rid of one cutie or the other, there are a couple of other tactics for making the relationship a little more comfortable on your human love, according to experts.
"What people are allergic to is the dander that sheds off of a pet's skin," Russell Hartstein, CDBC, CPDT-KA, a certified professional dog trainer and founder of Fun Paw Care, tells Bustle. Even if you have a dog breed that's supposedly hypoallergenic, like a Poodle or a Shih Tzu, their bodies can cause an issue. "There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, as much as breeders want you to believe that," he says. "Hypoallergenic dogs simply have less dander, not no dander and also typically shed less." While having less dander and less shedding probably means a person who is allergic to dogs won't be affected as much as they would to a pup who is super furry, it doesn't completely eliminate the problem.
There might be some good news if you and your partner recently started your relationship, or if you just adopted your fur baby. "People have been known to grow immunities to their dogs and cats over time," Hartstein says. "Maybe it's love, maybe it's their immune system changing, maybe it's habituation, who knows." But if your partner's allergy is serious enough that you can't really wait around and see if their body adapts, there are other steps you can take.
"Treatment for dog allergies depends on the severity," Ruth MacPete, DVM, veterinarian and author of Lisette the Vet, tells Bustle. "If your partner has mild dog allergies there are things you can do to help improve their allergy symptoms," she says. For one thing, do your best to keep your home clean by sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping on a regular basis. This can help remove dog dander so that there's not as much in the environment to irritate your partner's allergy. Air filters can also be useful here, Dr. MacPete says, so consider investing in one that's HEPA-certified to filter allergens from the space.
If your partner does not live with you, keeping your dog out of your bedroom also has the potential to make a big difference, Dr. MacPete says. Since they'll spend a solid eight hours in the confined space if they sleep over, it's extra important that the bedroom is as dander-free as possible to ensure that they can still get a good night's sleep when they're at your place.
"I also recommend bathing your dog weekly with a moisturizing pet shampoo," Dr. MacPete says, "to decrease airborne dander." If steps like this don't seem to help, or just don't seem to help enough, then it might be time for your partner to talk with their doctor, she says. If they have severe dog allergies, allergy shots to address the issue might help make them more comfortable around your sweet pup.
No matter which solution ends up working best for your lifestyle and your partner's allergy situation, do your best to be patient. It may take a while to find out a routine that works, but it will be so worth it when your two favorite cuties are able to interact happily.