I must admit, as a non allergy sufferer (yes, I am lucky!), I only discovered a few years ago that dogs, like cats, can cause allergic reactions. Yet, there is the belief that there are some non allergenic dog breeds, due to the fact that the dog is short coated, whereas some dogs shedding hair can cause allergies. With all this in mind, it is only but natural that, especially if you are an allergy sufferer, you may ask yourself: ‘Am I allergic to Border Terriers?’. It is a legitimate question, especially if you are considering getting a Border because of his or her outstanding personality traits.
So, let’s find out together whether Border Terriers is one of the non allergenic non shedding dog breeds.
What Causes Allergic Reactions
At the risk of stating the obvious, I feel the duty of briefly explaining why we get allergic reactions. This is, I am sure, for the minority of people who, like me, do not suffer from allergies – or at least from pet allergies. Truth be told, I do react to perfumes, and am intolerant to strong smells, including perfumes. But that’s another story.
In layman terms, people who suffer with allergies have reactions in their body, due to the fact that their immune system reads foreign bodies that are generally harmless in the same way as it reads bacteria and germs, and attacks them by reacting to try to get rid of them.
In dogs, what causes allergic reactions is the shedding of flakes of dead skin, called ‘dander’.
Are There Any Dog Breeds That Do Not Cause Allergies?
I am going to have to burst a massive babble here. Unfortunately and potentially, if you are sensitive to allergies, virtually all dogs can trigger a reaction in your body.
The old belief that some dogs will cause allergic reactions because they have long hair; or that dogs that don’t moult are safe for allergy sufferers; all of these are really not true.
This is because all dogs, like humans, loose dead skin flakes in the atmosphere.
Border Terriers shed dead skin flakes too.
If you suffer from allergies, however, you can also react to dogs’ saliva and urine, or to certain chemical elements present in them.
Border Terriers, like any other dog breed, will not urinate on you – not unless they are not trained from puppies, or if they have some medical or psychological condition affecting their ability to control their urethra. But drops of urine can be found virtually everywhere in a house where a cat or dog are present.
Likewise, if you react to dogs’ saliva, you may find that you will react to your Border Terrier, if your Border Terrier is a dog that likes to give you ‘kisses’, or rather to lick your face for affection.
Signs Of An Allergic Reaction Caused By Your Dog
As you can see, I am referring to dogs in this section, rather than to Border Terriers specifically. This is because, as mentioned above, Border Terriers are found not to cause allergies any more or less than any other dog breed.
The typical signs that you are reacting by being close to a dog are the following:
- watery eyes and runny nose;
- itchy eyes, nose and throat;
- coughing and sneezing
- wheezing, especially if you also suffer from asthma;
- on more severe episodes and sufferers, blotching and itchy skin reaction and hives.
The interesting thing about allergy caused by the proximity to a dog – including, I am afraid, Borders – is that individual dogs from a same breed may or not cause a reaction.
This is to prove that allergic reactions are not at all linked to the breed, but in fact to the individual dog.
Likewise, the individual factor plays its role on humans too. The fact that you generally suffer from allergies does not necessarily mean that you will be allergic to a dog – let alone to a Border.
How To Avoid A Reaction
Unfortunately, if you don’t want to take a chance as you have already had bad experiences of severe allergic reactions, you may never want to find yourself close to a hound of any breed.
But let’s admit it, it can be a bit difficult.
How to avoid walking by a dog in the whole of your lifetime? of refusing to visit a friend or family member for as long as they have a dog?
On the other hand, we dog owners can be understanding too. And we would never get offended to be told that the only way to meet up is so long as our dogs are not around. Please don’t take offense if family and friends make such a request to you – they may suffer from an allergy that they may not want to disclose.
But, the fact that you suffer from allergies does not necessarily mean that you will never be able to own a dog.
As it is clear that it is the individual dog, rather than specific breeds, that causes an allergic reaction, the best approach is to spend a short time with the dog you want to purchase or adopt, allowing him or her to give you kisses and play with you.
Remember, dander is air borne, and as such you do not need to be in close contact with a dog in order for your body to react to the dander the dog has shed.
In houses where a dog lives, dander has been identified in so many hidden and most unexpected places – even places that your dog would never go to!!!
In other words, like with all allergy tests, the good old ‘trial and error’ approach may be the only one to establish whether you are safe around a specific dog or not.
What To Do If You Get An Allergic Reaction
The answer is one and one only. Especially if this is the first time that your body reacts at the presence of a dog, you MUST seek medical advice immediately.
Doctors will prescribe drugs such as antihistamine, decongestant and steroids, depending on the severity of your attack.
You will also most probably be required to do blood tests to establish whether the cause of your allergic reaction way due to you being near a dog rather than other allergenic factors, such as pollen for instance.
Not all the times blood tests are as conclusive as we would like. In order to be sure, and so as to avoid more reactions, if you are a dog owner your doctor may ask that you live without a dog for a period of time. This will help your doctor establish for sure whether your dog is the cause of your unwell being.
I Am Allergic To My Border Terrier – What To Do
If you find out you are allergic to your Border, or indeed to your dog of any other breed, it doesn’t mean you have to give your dog away. Oh my goodness, far from it!!
Don’t get me wrong, you must implement precautions in order to avoid flare up episodes in your allergy, but you do not have to get rid of your dog at all.
It is expected that you would have worked out a clinical plan with your doctor or consultant, so as to manage your allergies through a regular course of antihistamines.
- However, the following measures are also essential:
- clean the house more regularly, by hoovering material based furniture and carpets using hoovers which are best suited to catch pet hair and dust;
- declutter your house of textile and material based furniture – hard flooring is preferable to carpets and rugs, and likewise leather or faux leather sofas and chairs are better for allergy sufferers as they prevent dander from embedding, and they are easier to clean;
- do NOT allow your dog in your bedroom;
- limit areas in the house where your dog can roam freely, allowing you to have rooms which are completely dander free;
- use air purifiers around the house – using air conditioners or dehumidifiers will only help move dander from one point to the other in the house.
Do Border Terriers Cause Allergies? – My Verdict
To sum up, I do not believe Border Terriers cause any more allergies than other dog breeds.
Remember, Border Terriers do moult. In fact, if we look at the maintenance of Border Terriers’ coat, remember that Borders require hand stripping in order to eliminate the top coat, which comes out naturally along with the flakes of dead skin.
This means that Borders do shed dander as much as any other dogs. But not more than other dogs.
Some owners to be may be tricked in thinking that Borders do not cause allergies, nor do they moult, because, especially with tan coated Borders, you do not see their hair on carpet nor on hard flooring. Yet, all you need to do is check your hoover after vacuuming the place, and you will notice the massive amount of hair shed by your Border.
It is not easy to have a dog if you suffer from allergies, but it’s not impossible.
And finally remember, the fact that you are an allergies sufferer, does not necessarily mean that your body will react to dogs. Some dogs may cause an allergic reaction, some others will not, even in people who have never had an allergic episode in their life.
If unsure, give it a try. You might be surprised at how well your body copes surrounded by the loving company of a Border.
As ever, you are welcome to leave your comment below to share your experiences as well as to make suggestions. I shall respond to all of you as soon as I possibly can.