I’ve always had pets, and I’ve always had allergies. I remember when I was a kid, I broke out in hives after feeding some hay to my horse, Sonny. When you have allergies but also love pets, you tend to just suffer through it and take meds. That’s what I do. Every day, I take Zyrtec, put a little Pataday in my eyes, sniff some Flonase and use my asthma inhaler as needed. Over the last few years though, my allergies have gotten worse. Our longhaired cat, Kitty (yes- I know! Such a clever name!), puts me in a sneezing frenzy. Our yellow lab, Tobi, shed so much every day, my eyes were always watering. We had Tobi until he passed away at the age of 13. I never once thought of rehoming my pets due to these allergies, but there have been some pretty bad days.
I started seeing an Allergist, Dr. Martin. He had me do a skin prick test. It involves scratching your skin in multiple places on your back with different substances like pollen or dust. Basically, if your skin reacts to it, you’re allergic to that substance. So they tested me for about 40 common allergens and here was my result:
I was allergic to EVERYTHING they tested me for!
“Am I allergic to horses and dogs? What about cats?” I asked. “Super allergic” said the nurse practitioner. They had stopped my test early to give me Benadryl because I was reacting so strongly to everything. I always knew I had allergies, but I never realized how bad it was. I guess I didn’t know any different.
Tobi passed away in July of 2020. I’m thankful it happened during the pandemic because I got to spend every possible moment with him, rubbing his paws and letting him know how much I loved him. He had bone cancer that had spread to his organs very quickly. We miss him every day.
Our son, Silas, grew up with Tobi.
When we were ready for a new pet, I decided I wanted a dog that didn’t shed as much. I thought it might help with my allergies. I did some research and found a lot of claims about doodles (poodle mixes) being hypoallergenic. I asked my allergy doctor about that. He said “not exactly”. He explained that people can be allergic to the dog’s saliva and skin dander, not necessarily the fur. But he said it might help if I MUST have a dog, to get one that sheds less.
So, I found a Goldendoodle breeder in Houston, and fell in love with one of her puppies. It was love at first sight! I still need my allergy medication, and I need to dust and clean a lot to keep my allergies under control. But I can definitely tell a difference now that there’s less dog hair on the floors. We have 3 dogs now: a Maltipoo, a Goldendoodle, and a Standard Poodle. There’s less shedding with these 3 dogs than with our 1 yellow lab. So even though they’re not exactly “hypoallergenic”, having doodles has been helpful for me.
Some other things I do to control my allergies:
We have very little carpet in our house. Carpeted areas are pet-free zones because the carpet will trap their dander. I also use an EcoVac every day. It’s a robotic vacuum that has a built-in mop. I can’t live without it! Click on the picture to learn more:
Another thing I do is frequently wash dog bedding and toys in hot water. We even use a washable 5 x 7 rug in our living room. It’s made by Ruggable.
Lastly, I use all natural cleaning products that are safe to use with pets. I like “Sensitive Home”.
I hope this has been helpful. No breeder can tell you with certainty that you won’t be allergic to their dog breed. I can’t make that claim about Goldendoodles. But as an allergy sufferer, I can tell you that it has personally made a difference to have pets that shed less. In general, the Goldendoodles that have more Poodle DNA (like the F1B Goldendoodles) will shed less than an F1 Goldendoodle (50% Poodle, 50% Golden Retriever). However, each dog’s genetics are different, so you can never know for sure how much they’ll shed. If a breeder makes a promise about shedding, I wouldn’t buy from that breeder.