My one labrador gives me a rash, the other gives me no problems at all

Min ena labrador ger mig utslag, den andra ger mig inga besvär alls

Many allergy sufferers get a rash from certain dogs, while others can be had without problems - even if they belong to the same breed. With more knowledge about dog allergens and through allergen tests, it will soon be easier for allergy sufferers to find the right dog.

Viveka Brännström is 65 years old and lives with her husband on Möcklö, an island in the Karlskrona archipelago. There, a large part of her life revolves around dogs - they spend a lot of time together and she often hunts geese and ducks together with them. Despite being diagnosed as allergic to dogs and horses, she still chose to have fur animals. In our interview, Viveka talks about, among other things, that "my Labrador gives me a rash" - a common phenomenon in dog owners with allergic problems.

- I like them so much, so that's why we have dogs. Even though I have allergies, I cannot imagine a life without dogs. Right now we have two Labradors and a springer spaniel, says Viveka.

Research shows that allergy sensitivity in dogs differs more between individual dogs than between entire breeds (Read more at Hypoallergenic dog breeds – a myth? ). Viveka has experience of that. Her springer spaniel does not cause allergic problems, nor does the one labrador. But the third dog, also the labrador, she reacts to.

My labrador gives me a rash

my labrador gives me a rash and a picture that illustrates what a labrador looks like

Labradors can have both light and dark fur.

- My labrador gives me a rash, Assar, but my other doesn't cause any allergic problems at all. When Assar licks me or happens to tear me, it immediately starts itching and I get a rash on my skin, that never happens with my other labrador, she says.

Other dogs can also give Viveka a lot of trouble with rashes, runny nose and itchy eyes. But she has noticed that she felt her allergy more when her own dogs were puppies, compared to when they grew up.

- I am always more allergic when they are puppies, but after a while the allergy becomes milder. When they are small, they also tend to misbehave and tear more, and I have been lucky to be able to get used to all close contact, while other allergy sufferers can have major problems even when the dogs have grown up, she says.

She talks about her brother-in-law, who is also allergic to dogs.

- When he comes to visit us at home, it takes half an hour before he starts sneezing and his eyes get completely red. But even though he reacts so strongly to our dogs, he has been lucky enough to find a labrador that he can keep at home and that does not cause any allergic problems.

Allergen tests and allergy profiles make it easier to find the right dog

They are not alone in the fact that Viveka and her brother-in-law react strongly to certain dogs and not at all to others - even though they may belong to the same breed. In other words, my labrador giving me a rash, or my German shepherd or poodle giving me a rash, is a relatively common experience for people with dog allergies.

Today, there are six known dog allergens that dog allergy sufferers can react to, which can be compared with, for example, cat allergy where over 90% are allergic to a dominant allergen. None of the six dog allergens is equally dominant and that makes dog allergy more complicated (Read more at Allergic to dogs ).

Allergy diagnostics will make it possible to find out which allergen(s) you react to the most. For example, if you are allergic to Can f 2 and Can f 3, you could spend time with a dog that secretes mainly Can f 1 and Can f 4. For Viveka, her brother-in-law and other allergy sufferers, this means that you can more easily find a dog that causes the least possible inconvenience.

A first step towards a working allergy diagnosis is to test your dog (Read more at Test your dog ). In this way, it will then be possible to find out how allergy-friendly the dog is, and later compare the result with his personal allergy profile. For Viveka, who does not let her allergy stop her, it would simplify the choice of dog. She is now planning to buy a puppy, despite her allergy. Dogs are her life.

- We will soon be bringing home a little labrador puppy. Then it will be a matter of getting used to it again, she says, laughing