How to Live with Dogs if You Have a Dog Allergy

A dog lying in a field of yellow flowers.
A dog lying in a field of yellow flowers. Photography by holly hildreth photography.

Riggins, my 11-year-old mixed breed, and I share a lot of things from our love of watermelon to the pillow we both use to rest our heads on in the morning. The one bad thing we both share is environmental allergies. It might shock you to learn that, as a dog sitter, I have a dog allergy. Luckily, it’s one I’m able to manage. Here’s what I do to keep my dog allergy in control:

Dog with flowers by Shutterstock.
Dog with flowers by Shutterstock.

Nix the carpet

Vacuuming can make things worse by kicking up allergens. Keep dogs contained to rooms without carpet. Choose throw rugs that can be washed with hot water, and when you do clean, wear a dust mask.

Keep your dog out of the bedroom

To help ease your guilt, get your pup a nice, comfy bed, pillow and blanket.

Get HEPA air filters

Do they work? There seem to be arguments on both sides. I can tell you I have one and it runs almost 24/7 in my house. It sure makes me feel better. 

Get removable covers for your furniture

… For anything that dog fur can stick to, like your sofa, dog bed or pillows. Wash those covers frequently. My sofa is covered with a thin bed comforter, and it has saved my sanity. It’s so easy to just pop that cover into the washing machine.

Have a family member who isn’t allergic to dogs bathe your dog weekly

While you’re at it, brush your dog daily. Actually, delegate these two tasks to the member of your family who doesn’t have a dog allergy.

Isolate your dog allergy

You can be allergic to any or all places where allergens can be found on your dog, including his fur dander, urine, feces and saliva. For example, if you get red and itchy when your pup licks your face, then his saliva is probably to blame. Best to rub his belly and skip out on the kisses. Don’t forget to wash your hands post belly rub!

Know that here’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog

All pups can carry allergens. Dogs with non-shedding coats shed less dander and therefore tend to be a better fit for anyone with a dog allergy. Go to for a list of dog breeds that tend to work better for allergy sufferers.

Get a proper allergy diagnosis from your doctor  

Your symptoms could be from something else, and your dog is just a scapegoat. Luckily, cleaning tips for dog allergy sufferers work for most household allergies, too.

Thumbnail: Photography by holly hildreth photography

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Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned dog sitter, which keeps her busy being a dog chauffeur, picking up poop and sacrificing her bed. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area. Learn more about them on Facebook at The Active Pack and on Instagram at /wnewell.

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