If you love dogs but find it difficult to pet them or be with them due to your allergies you may not be all out of luck but if your choice is a golden retriever, you may need to reconsider. Golden retrievers are not hypoallergenic. As a matter of fact, no dog is actually 100% hypoallergenic. If you are allergic to dogs, you are allergic to dogs. You will not be allergic to one breed and not the other. But the degree of allergic reaction will be a lot different from breed to breed. 

False assumptions

  1. Dog Hair and shedding is the cause for allergies : No. Not really. ITs not the hair which causes the allergy but the dander. Dander is more or less the dead skin which calls off the dogs body along with the hair. This is a natural occurrence in all dogs. Even if the dog does not shed a lot, there is a good chance that the dander will cause allergies to some degree.

    How do you rectify : Rectification of this problem requires a two pronged approach. Don’t blame the dog for your allergies, though its the reason for it. Keep your home clean, and air it out well. The best option for closed rooms are an air purifier. Try a hepa air purifier for your home to get the dog dander out and clean the air at home. This itself should control your allergies to a great extent. Think of every thing you can keep the dander out and your home clean. Avoid carpets and furnitures that trap dander and dust. IF you cannot remove the carpets, ensure that they are shampooed frequently. Do not allow your pets on the furniture, specially those which are poros and can trap dander and dust.

    Now to the dog. Shampoo and bathe the dog at least once a week. Twice is better but at least once a week is important. This ensures that the dander leaves the body of the dog and it does not shed it all over your house increasing the symptoms of allergy
  2. The second false assumption is that some dogs are hypoallergenic and others are not. The fact is that all dogs are a problem if you are allergic to them. Its just the degree of allergy which differs. Smaller dogs usually shed little dander than larger breeds. A Golden retriever is a medium sized dog and sheds quite a lot. Chances are you will have more spells of allergic symptoms with a Golden retriever as compared to a pug. So if you are allergic to dogs, choose a smaller breed. Smaller breeds like Shih Tzu with lots of hair are actually less allergic to people than short coated breeds like rottweiler or a Labrador or even the Golden retriever. Think Small if you are allergic to dogs. Its much safer and less allergic to own a smaller dog. The smaller the dog does not mean that the affection it gives you is smaller. They are always a bundle of joy, no matter how big or small they are.

Puppy vs Adult Golden retriever allergy

A lot of dog owners who were perfectly well with their dogs when they were young find it hard to be with them when they are adult dogs. Golden retriever owners and other big dog owners find this situation confusing and blame the breed for their allergies. They are also not sure why the allergy started off suddenly while they had no allergies a year ago when the pet was a puppy!

The reason for the allergy is the same as that of why people find smaller dogs more tolerable than larger breeds when it comes to allergies. Larger the dog, the more they shed. We are not talking about the hair that they shed but the dander. Puppies don’t shed a lot at all. They are growing, have wonderful skin and coat and rarely have problems. As they grow older, they start to shed hair and dander is common. So the golden retriever which was an adorable pup just a few months ago is now a cause for allergies.

Also Women may have symptoms of allergies if they are pregnant with dogs. This is not particular to any dog but is clearly related to the dander which is shed by the dogs. While these allergies are bad for the time being, it also helps build antibodies which may result in the baby being resistant to dander in the future. 

Can you own a Golden Retriever if you are allergic to dogs?

The answer is almost and always a yes but… but with some effort and lifestyle changes and may be a bit of interior decoration.  Owning a dog is more or less like bringing a baby home. You need to make the home baby safe. Ensure the electric sockets are covered, the hard edges are blunted out or covered with protective layers and a whole slew of measures. The same applies when you bring in a dog and especially if you are allergic to them.

You need to follow a procedure to ensure that your allergies are in control. The dog will eventually produce dander and shed hair at some point of time. Golden retrievers are known to shed and they shed a lot. Its not the hair you should be worried about, but the dander, the small specks of skin which is not visible to the eye. 

If you intend to own a golden retriever and if you are allergic to dog, prepare yourself for a daily and a weekly schedule, dedicated to the attention of your dog and your home.

  1. Bathe the dog : Ensure that your dog is bathed and shampooed at least once a week. Bathing removes all the dander in your dogs body and keeps it from shedding for the next few days. This will keep you without symptoms for at least 4-5 days
  2. Groom the dog : This is more or less a daily task. Spend 10-15 minutes a day to groom the dog. Brush the dog well, entangle the hair and ensure that the entire body gets the attention needed. Give special attention to the belly, ears and the tail. We often overlook some of these areas. 
  3. Restrict access : Ensure your dog has no access to certain areas of your home, specially those where you frequent more often. Ensure that they are not on rugs and carpets. Avoid access to the couch if they are made of cloth of any kind. Access to bedrooms should be restricted. 
  4. Invest in an Air purifier. Air purifiers are more common these days with increased pollution but its also great for people with allergies. IF you own a golden retriever or any large dog breed, an air purifier is an investment worth considering.
  5. Remove carpets or shampoo them frequently. If your home is carpeted, you may want to consider removing them altogether. If this is not a possibility, ensure that the carpets are shampooed once in a week, specially if your dog has access to the carpeted area. 

If you can maintain your home and your dog, provide a hygienic environment for both you and your pet, chances are you can still own a golden retriever and live quite well with it without a problem.

Diet considerations for dogs with allergic owners

If you are the one with the allergy, its the dog which needs the care and attention. Think of food which is good for skin. What really helps your dog have better skin and coat? These are the foods your dog needs to help YOU minimize allergic symptoms. Some of the common dog foods to improve skin and coat include 

  • Food with high omega 3. This includes Fish like Salmon
  • Coconut oil. Coconut oil is safe if ingested and also work great for topical application on dogs with dry skin. 
  • Avocado. Avocado is a great fruit not just for humans but for dogs too. Avocado is known to increase coat shine and leave the dogs skin moist and health.
  • Apple cider vinegar. For reasons unknown, apple cider vinegar is great for dogs overall health and even its skin. Adding a few drops of ACV to the dogs food or water can leave the dog skin and coat shining.

Certain unorthodox methods are also practiced once in a while to maintain overall health of the dog which benefits the coat and skin of the dog. Fasting the dog for 24 hours helps the dog clean out its bowel and detox efficiently. Fasting should only be done once a month and water should be provided at all times during fasting. Detoxing the dog can also help the dog maintain its skin and coat.

The most common dog breeds for allergic dog owners

Don’t Worry if you cannot own a golden retriever. There are plenty of other dogs which are less allergic to you than you would know. Some of these dogs are adorable. They may be as loving and caring as a golden retriever too. 

  • Bichon Frise : Bichon frise is a toy dog, small in size and a wonderful family dog. They get along well with children if trained to do so. They do not shed and are considered hypoallergenic.
  • Miniature Schnauzer : Miniature Schnauzer are small family dogs. Loyal, attention seeking and playful. They get along well with people and other pets. Though they look like lap dogs, they arent. 
  • Poodle : poodles are high energy dogs, need attention, constant care, exercise and socializing. Socializing is key to these dogs and should be done from the beginning. They are not kennel dogs.Proper grooming is mandatory. They are easy to train
  • Yorkshire Terrier : Yorkshire Terrier  are wonderful companion pets and work great with elders and those who are afraid to own a larger breed. They are devoted, loving and affectionate. They are great personal companions and family dogs.
  • Shih Tzu : If you have kids, the shih tzu is a great companion for them. They are great with children and great family pets. They have a docile personality. 
  • Maltese : The maltese is a big dog in a small package. They are small but has every quality of a dog thats big. They are alert, loving, caring affectionate, highly energetic and love to learn new tricks. Excellent family dog , barks with every unknown noise and always alert.
  • Portuguese Water Dog : the Portuguese water dogs are the introverts. They are affectionate to their own family and kids if they are introduced early in life. They are cautious with strangers but show no reservation when showing love to the members of its pack and family.
  • Scottish Terrier : the scottish terrier is yet another dog which requires little attention. Its also one of those few dogs which has a big dogs personality but a small body. They require a firm hand and a strong leader.