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Robert H. Shmerling, MD,
Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
To Ms. Butner: Poodles! hypo-allergenic, non-shedding and smart!
For people with allergies to pet dander, there are breeds that do not shed hair or dander. One example is a Schnauzer. I have a Miniature Schnauzer and he is an old man now. He has been a wonderful pet; very playful, loyal and loving.
What about cat owners? They follow you like a dog and can fetch a
thrown ball. I think they are really intelligent and understand
when spoken to. Their constant purring can lower anyone’s blood
pressure. Let’s hear it for the cats!!!
What would you recommend for people with allergies to dog dander, yet who would like the benefits of having a dog (and love dogs!). For some the suffering from the allergies to dogs is so great (asthma, rash, itching, sneezing) that living with one would be very difficult. Is there hope for such individuals?
I’d like to see more people who get dogs appear to have a better understanding of the needs of the dog as well as the need to do basic obedience training with or of their dog (if they can’t do it, hire a trainer!). Too many people (at least where I live) get dogs, then don’t exercise them enough, even if they’ve gotten a mix or breed of dog that clearly requires (if a specific breed is known to need) substantial exercise and/or socialization. Yet not be willing or able to pay a dog walker or for dog day care.
If you are unable tor unwilling to do more then a walk around the block 2 times/day & don’t have alot of space for the dog to run (and be out there to toss balls or whatever to make sure the dog does run/exercise–every day), get a dog that is temperamentally & physically satisfied by a low activity level. If you’re not interested in dealing w/a frequently barking dog (usually barking at nothing or people passing by or your neighbor spending time on his/her property within view of the dog) either provide your dog with information/training regarding when barking is ok, when it is not, or get a breed that rarely barks.
Bored/poorly/untrained/inadequately exercised dogs often bark at anything, whether it’s a neighbor spending time in their yard (and the dog’s seen the neighbor 30 times before), people walking by, a large vehicle, a squirrel . . . . and keep barking. It’s really annoying. In some rentals, it’s enough to eventually get you & your dog evicted. It’s pretty selfish behavior to “improve” your health by getting a dog, while increasing all of your neighbors’ stress levels because you can’t be bothered to adequately exercise or train your dog.
Plus, a well trained dog is a wonderful companion; the training process deepens one’s friendship & partnership w/one’s dog or any dog you spend some time with–that has been my experience. If something happens to you or for some reason you cannot keep your dog, a well trained dog is far more adoptable & likely to be kept by the new owner(s)/family then one that is not. If you care about your dog (and your neighbors) train it. Training a dog will improve your mental & physical health.
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