woman with dog allergies sneezing

Millions of people around the world are enjoying improvements in their quality of life thanks to the loyal companionship and friendship of an emotional support dog. ESA dogs are extremely popular because they can help reduce the symptoms of a wide range of mental health conditions.

Unfortunately, many people who would benefit enormously from ESA dog ownership are not currently availing of treatment because they have dog allergies. People who are allergic to dogs experience symptoms that range from mild irritation to intense and debilitating itchy rashes and swelling.

If you suffer from a mental health condition and also have a dog allergy, don’t worry – all is not lost! There are solutions that can allow you to enjoy the benefits of emotional support animal treatment while still avoiding the discomfort of intense allergic reactions.

Dogs are the most popular type of emotional support animal. Other popular ESA species include cats, potbellied pigs, domesticated rats, hamsters, and miniature horses.

Dogs are such popular emotional support pets because they are intelligent, social, loyal and easy to train, and they enjoy the company of humans.

hypoallergenic bichon frise esa
Image by Seth Reese on Unsplash: Wondering what to do if you want a dog but are allergic? Read on!

What Mental Health Conditions Do ESA Dogs Help To Treat?

Emotional support dogs can alleviate the symptoms of a wide range of mental health conditions. They do this by:

  • Offering friendship, companionship, and love
  • Providing a reason for their owner to go outside and enjoy the benefits of fresh air, exercise, and interacting with other dog owners
  • Providing their owner with a sense of purpose and responsibility

The most common mental health conditions that ESA dogs help to treat are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • OCD
  • Insomnia
  • Loneliness
  • PTSD
  • Phobias

What To Do If You Want A Dog But Are Allergic

If you have a mental health condition that you think would benefit from ESA dog treatment, but you have allergies, there are some options you can explore. You can set up your home in a way that minimizes the impact of fur and dander on your sinuses – and remember, not all dog breeds trigger allergies to the same extent.

What Dog Can I Get If I’m Allergic?

If you have allergies, you may still be able to enjoy the company of an ESA dog that is of a hypoallergenic breed. These dogs have either a coat that does not shed, or no hair at all.

What Dog Breeds Are Worst For Allergies?

The following dog breeds are some of the worst for people with allergies because they tend to shed a lot:

  • Bulldog
  • German Shepherd
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Pug
  • Saint Bernard
  • Siberian Husky

Which Dogs Are Hypoallergenic And Don’t Shed?

While there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog, the following breeds are quite hypoallergenic and tend not to shed:

  • Afghan Hound
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Komondor
  • Maltese
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Shih Tzu
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Xoloitzcuintli
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Can You Desensitize Yourself To Dog Allergies?

Yes, you can desensitize yourself to dog allergies. Your success will depend on how intense your allergic reaction is, but it is quite possible to desensitize yourself, through a course of immunotherapy, to the extent where you can have a hypoallergenic ESA dog and experience no allergic reaction.

Here are six possible solutions if you want an ESA dog but are allergic.

1. Get A Hypoallergenic ESA Dog Breed

As mentioned, if you choose a hypoallergenic dog breed, you will experience a much less severe allergic reaction or none at all. While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, any dog from the list above will provoke little or no allergic reaction in most people who usually suffer around dogs.

2. Try A Course Of Immunotherapy

A course of immunotherapy can be very effective at ridding a person of an allergy to dogs. Immunotherapy gradually desensitizes a person to the stimulus that they have an allergy to until they can come into contact with the stimulus without having any reaction at all.

3. Take Allergy Medication

For people with mild allergies, allergy medication, such as antihistamines, can be very effective at subduing allergic reactions. If you have a hypoallergenic dog and get mild reactions from time to time, antihistamines should be effective at managing these symptoms.

4. Allergy-Proof Your Home

Keep your home clean and tidy and minimize the number of surfaces that attract allergens, such as carpet, curtains, and soft furniture. A clean, tidy home with hardwood or linoleum floors and blinds rather than curtains will be optimally allergy-proof.

5. Wash Yourself And Your Clothes Regularly

Allergens such as dog hair and dander cling to clothing. To avoid having an allergic reaction, be sure to regularly wash yourself, your hands, your face and body, and also your clothing.

schnauzer esa dog
Image by Sebastian Coman Travel on Unsplash: What dog can I get if I’m allergic?

6. Choose A Different Type Of Emotional Support Pet

If your dog allergy is too intense and none of these solutions work, you can always choose a different type of ESA. Other popular, intelligent, social, and friendly ESA species options are:

  • Cats
  • Potbellied pigs
  • Rats
  • Hamster
  • Miniature horses

How Do You Get An Emotional Support Animal Letter?

Hopefully, these solutions have made it possible for you to enjoy the massive benefits of ESA treatment. In order to get an official ESA letter, all you need to do is register at the Moosh online clinic. Once you have registered, you will have a fully remote, telemedicine consultation with a state-licensed mental health professional who will verify your suitability for ESA treatment.

Once the consultation is complete, the mental health professional will write you an official ESA letter and email it to you immediately. This letter will bestow official ESA status on your pet of choice for one year.

Featured image by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels