Best Dogs for Children with Allergies

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My friend has a daughter who suffers from allergies, so when they decided to get a dog, they spent a few months visiting the homes of friends who had dogs to see which one her little girl could tolerate without spiraling into a fit of sneezes, sniffles, and watery eyes. That’s how they settled on their white little fur ball, Macy, a maltese. Macy needs to be brushed daily to prevent mats, so every time I visit, I joke that Macy needs a brush-out (instead of a blowout). We give her a bowl of Beneful Chopped Blends and she sits still while we brush her long, silky white hair.

One of the most common misconceptions about dogs is that long-haired breeds trigger allergy symptoms, while short-haired breeds don’t. “In fact, two dogs of the same breed can each give off very different levels of allergens,” says Katy Nelson, a veterinarian and host of The Pet Show with Dr. Katy. “It’s not the dog’s hair or fur that is the problem, it’s the dander — the flakes of dead skin — as well as the saliva and urine.”

Given that any dog potentially can cause an allergic reaction, it’s best to test individual dogs to see if the child can tolerate them. Visiting a few friends with dogs is probably the easiest way to do this before you commit to a pup long-term. Whichever dog you end up adding to your brood, veterinarian Vijay Sasi of Vets Plus in Menomonie, Wisconsin, recommends you clean the house frequently with a vacuum with HEPA filtration; opt for hard surfaces over rugs and drapes; and keep your pets off the furniture, especially the beds. Also make sure to wash the dog’s bed often and indulge him with frequent baths to minimize the dander.

In addition to keeping up with grooming and cleaning, choosing the right dog for your family is key, and luckily there are a variety of breeds that are well known for being good companions for allergy sufferers. Check out this pack of hypoallergenic breeds and see if any of these furry friends might be a good match for your family:

Bichon Frise
This peppy, playful pup looks like a fluffy marshmallow. Their coat is made of hair, not fur, so you’ll have to brush often to prevent tangles, but the good news is there’s virtually no shedding.

Schnauzer
Whether you choose a giant, standard or a miniature schnauzer, these smart, bearded pups produce very little dander and love niños.

Portuguese Water Dog
If it’s good enough for the Obamas, it might be good enough for you. The president’s daughter, Malia, is allergic to dogs, which is why the First Family opted for a Portuguese water dog when they moved into la Casa Blanca. These dogs love the outdoors and have waterproof coats.

Poodle
These whip-smart, fiercely loyal dogs need plenty of exercise, which makes them perfect for an active family. The one caveat: They require frequent grooming.

Xoloitzcuintli
Like the schnauzer, this breed comes in three sizes — toy, miniature and standard — as well as two varieties: hairless and coated. Whether you go for the smoothness of the hairless or the short coat variety, they have moderate exercise and grooming needs, according to the American Kennel Club.

Maltese
These happy, playful cotton balls have long, silky white hair that needs to be brushed todos los dias to prevent mats.

Bedlington Terrier
These lovable dogs are known for their curly, woolly coat, which resembles the coat of a lamb. Moderate exercise and grooming makes it a perfect match for a busy family.

*This post is sponsored by Beneful. The opinions and stories are my own.