Got allergies? Dog bless you…

Nearly 80% of respondents to a recent DogTime survey say they suffer from allergies — and the impact the allergens have touch every aspect of these pet owners’ lives.

Imagine… a problem more serious than a busted remote control. A situation more limiting than chronic wallet misplacement. I’m talking about allergies so severe, they make it impossible for pets to sleep in the same bed with their humans. Believe it or not, as many as 28% of DogTime readers are plagued by such a condition.

Ok, so maybe there are fates worse than separate beds for you and your dog, but allergies are a very real – and irksome–predicament. In fact, of respondents to a DogTime survey conducted earlier this spring, 21% avoid visiting friends and family with pets, thanks to allergies.

Readers rely on over-the-counter and prescription medications to ease the suffering. Zyrtec is the brand most commonly called upon, followed by Claritin and Benadryl, and Allegra. Claritin D and Sudafed were also mentioned.

In addition to medicine, readers report actively working to alleviate their allergy symptoms. Washing hands after handling pets is the number one method. Cleaning the houseand laundering pets’ bedding are also popular approaches to reducing dander. Regular pet grooming and using a HEPA filtration system were also cited.

And for the 23% of allergy-suffering readers who don’t use medication? Respondents say they rely heavily on washing hands, laundering bed and blankets, cleaning house, and bathing the pets themselves.

Fortunately, a dog or cat allergy is not a sentence to a pet-less existence. If the methods mentioned above don’t provide enough relief, it may be time to consider an animal who’s as close to hypoallergenic as one can get. (Barack Obama did, opting for a Portuguese Water Dog to compensate for daughter Malia’s allergies.)

Poodles and Terriers (and their mixes) are two of the most common dogs preferred by allergy sufferers, and there are plenty of them waiting for homes in rescues and shelters. Check out the complete list of low-shed dogs here, and be sure to read up on other recommended ways to live happily and healthily as a pet-owning human with allergies.

Results from our allergies survey are in