Searching for the perfect fur baby to add to your home and thinking of adopting a dog from a shelter or pet rescue? Here’s your ultimate guide to finding hypoallergenic dogs for adoption.
Before you race ahead, know that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill, typical guide for how to adopt a hypoallergenic dog!
Allergy sufferers of the world, we have you covered with all the things you’ll need to factor in. From special considerations for allergies to the real costs and processes involved.
You can use the Table of Contents above to jump to any section in the article at any time.
Let’s dive in!
Can You Adopt Hypoallergenic Dogs?
Yes! Most dog shelters and rescues list the breeds of dogs they have available for adoption on their websites. They also often include a category for all hypoallergenic dogs they have available.
If you’re looking for a specific breed but aren’t sure if it’s allergy-friendly, check out our guide to hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Keep in mind that ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs are ones that may trigger less allergic responses. It’s important to spend time around different breeds to find ones that are hypoallergenic to you.
You can visit shelters in person and meet the dogs up front. Make sure to give the shelter a heads up and let them know about your allergies in advance.
We recommend spending loads of time being around the dog you are considering before bringing it home. It pays to make sure it won’t trigger your allergies at the same time as getting to know your potential new fur baby!
The Real Cost of Adopting a Hypoallergenic Dog
Let’s look at what it really costs to adopt a dog as an allergy sufferer. Unexpected expenses and all, we don’t hold back!
In most cases, you’ll likely incur an initial fee to adopt a dog. Then there are ongoing costs. These include medical expenses, food, training and in some cases, rehabilitation.
Remember that you also don’t always know the history of the dog you’re considering adopting.
Some rescue pets have come from loving families. Others have been through hell and back before they were rescued. Sometimes, this may mean you’ll need to spend on things that other pets may not need.
You will also need to spend on accessories and appliances that can help you keep pet allergens to a minimum in your home.
We’ve prepared a breakdown of allergy combatting costs to expect and some that may or may not be needed depending on your situation. It really is a case by case basis and can depend on the severity of your allergies.
If you go down this road, please be a responsible pet owner. Make sure you’re able to handle the financial commitment this decision will involve!
Be kind and fair to yourself, your family and also the rescue dog you bring home.
Can You Adopt a Dog for Free?
Yes and no. While dog adoption fees can be free or quite low, they can also run up into the hundreds of dollars. Your best chance of adopting a dog for free is at a free adoption event hosted by your local shelter.
Keep in mind though, that even if you save on the adoption fee, rescued hypoallergenic dogs can often cost more in other ways.
Consider if the price is your only barrier to adopting a pet. If yes, reconsider your long-term financial standing and if you’ll be able to properly care for your new pet. 30% of dogs that end up in shelters were adopted for free from friends before the new owners realised how much it costs to own a pet.
Don’t be one of those people.
Check out the information further below on what it really costs to bring a pet dog into your home – even if you adopted it for free.
What Does a Dog Adoption Fee Cover?
If you pay an adoption fee, it will go towards covering the costs shelters incur to rescue the dog, train it and look after it until it becomes adopted. In some cases, rehabilitation and vet care are needed and rescue shelters pay for these costs from their own pocket.
If you find a shelter near you that charges an adoption fee which seems high, check in around what the fee covers. Often you’ll find that you can save yourself fees and many vet appointments down the line!
Check with your shelter, in most cases, the adoption fee can include:
- Costs of the rescue
- Boarding and kennel costs
- Transportation to the rescue shelter
- Medical care
- Spaying or neutering
- Vaccinations (generally for Rabies, Bordetella and DHPP)
- Testing for heartworm
- General grooming, chipping and deworming
- Rehabilitation and behavioural assessments
- Discounted (or free) initial vet visit
Most of these are costs you would incur even if you bought a pet elsewhere. Paying an adoption fee, even one that seems high, is often a cheaper alternative in the long run.
Some part of the fees you pay might also be reinvested back into the shelter to fund more rescues of other dogs.
The truth is, some dogs cost a lot to rescue and the adoption fees often don’t come close to covering those costs in full. Many shelters are run by volunteers and they accept donations. If you can spare it, even a small donation, could go a long way to continue to help these shelters rescue other animals!
Do Some Rescue Dogs Cost More Than Others?
Yes. Puppies, younger dogs, small dogs and purebreds often command higher fees. They often need more medical attention and training than older dogs and mixed breeds.
Another factor which could increase the cost of your rescue dog is where the pup was rescued from. Some dog shelters only rescue local animals, which leads to a lower adoption fee. Other shelters rescue dogs that are on death row in nearby states, cities or other countries, including Iran, Taiwan, Korea and more.
The final bill will come down to what went into rescuing the dog and how much medical attention it needed while being in the care of the rescue shelter.
Ongoing Costs of Pet Ownership
Obviously, if you adopt or buy a pet, there are ongoing financial expenses that go hand in hand with that decision. Boy can fur babies cost a fair bit!
Common things that will rack up your bills include:
- Pet supplies
- Vet expenses
- Pet insurance
- Walking or pet sitting services
- Grooming services
If you choose to go for a puppy, you also have the necessary costs of vaccinations and medical checkups that must happen in the first year.
Allergy Reducing Expenses of Dog Ownership
For allergy sufferers, it doesn’t matter if your interactions with the dog showed promising in your initial visits. The bare-bones truth is that bringing a pet home immediately boosts your risk of allergic reactions in your household.
Consider that most allergies to pets are a reaction to substances produced by the pet. Then you can see how the level of allergens in your home will multiply as soon as your new fur baby walks through that door!
To manage the effect of dog-related allergens, we suggest you invest in the following:
- Meticulous grooming practices to remove dander and excess fur or hair
- Dog wipes for removing pollen and outdoor allergens quickly and easily
- An air purifier or air cleaner that is specifically designed for pet allergies
- A vacuum cleaner that is sure to capture dander and pet hair
- Filters for your air purifier and also your vacuum cleaner (make sure to keep replacing these so they continue to work in tip top shape)
- Medication in case you experience an allergic reaction
We also suggest you invest in training your dog to ensure they follow your rules to a tee!
You can better manage your exposure to dog allergens by training them to:
- Stop licking you
- Stay out of bedrooms and other zones in the home
- Stay off your bed, couch and other furniture
- Shake their fur outside
- Pee outside!
Remember, pet allergies are usually linked to proteins which are not only found in dander and hair but also in your dog’s saliva, urine and mucus. Keeping the spread of these substances to a minimum within your house is the best way to go!
Adopting vs Buying a Hypoallergenic Dog
It’s totally up to you whether you choose to adopt or buy from a reputable breeder! Breeders can’t guarantee that a dog will not trigger allergies. Which means the considerations on adopting vs buying a hypoallergenic dog are similar to those of any other pet.
No matter which method you choose, spend enough time around the dog you’re considering to make sure it is hypoallergenic to you.
The level of shedding is important to know if you suffer from breathing allergies. Though, the amount of saliva and dander present is also important if you suffer from allergies to dog proteins.
If you are still considering the option of buying a dog, make sure you check out the breeding practices used.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you adopt or buy your new fur baby, they will love you and be loyal to you just as much as any other dog.
That’s the beauty of pet ownership, isn’t it?
Should Hypoallergenic Dogs be Adopted?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s up to you and what you’re looking for. We think the benefits of adopting a dog are pretty strong though!
Benefits of adopting a dog include:
- Saving not one, but two lives
- Saving up to 90% on initial fees
- Saving big on medical expenses
- Helping end pet homelessness
- Choosing a pet of any age
- Skipping the expensive puppy year
- Ongoing support
Read more on the benefits of adopting a dog here.
If you plan to take your dog to the show ring or need to know the puppy’s history and genetics, adopting may not be the right way to go.
Buying a dog from a reputable breeder can offer you assurance (and papers) that will help. Read our Guide on Buying a Hypoallergenic Dog if you think buying is a better option for you (coming soon!).
Please note, we choose to leave the decision of adoption up to you. We sit on the fence when it comes to adoption vs reputable breeding options. There are pros and cons either way and we aim to inform you in either situation.
Ready to Adopt a Hypoallergenic Dog? Here’s the Process…
If you have decided that adoption is the way to go, nice one!
Every shelter has the number one goal of finding loving homes with people who are committed to looking after and nurturing the dog they take home. Many shelters have a thorough adoption process to help them make sure that you and your pet-to-be are a match made in heaven.
Essentially it’s like personality matching for pet companionship!
Most sheltered dogs have thorough vet examinations and behavioural assessments before they are made available for adoption.
The people at the shelter and the vets helping out know the animals that come through and do their best to match them up with the right owners.
Finding a Shelter with Hypoallergenic Dogs
As an allergy sufferer, it is important that you find a shelter that has hypoallergenic dogs before you visit in person. You can start your search online.
Many pet shelters list the breeds they have available on their websites. Some, like Pet Finder, allow you to make alerts for specific breeds or in general for all hypoallergenic dogs.
You might also be able to find pet shelters that only take in specific breeds or which are dedicated to hypoallergenic pets. These aren’t always available but in some areas, they can be found.
Visit the Shelter
Once you find a shelter near you with hypoallergenic dogs or the specific breed you are looking for, the next step is to visit. We suggest you make a booking and let the people at the shelter know about your allergies.
They may be able to ensure you do not come into contact with other pets that can trigger your allergies.
If your pet allergies lean towards the low to mild end of the spectrum, you might be ok with a small number of visits to know that a specific dog won’t trigger your allergies. But if you have more severe allergic reactions, we suggest you book several visits to really make sure that your new pet won’t cause a problem in your home.
Many shelters are willing to accept returned pets. Have a conversation with the people at the shelter about what would happen if you started to experience allergic reactions down the line. This way you can feel safe and secure that you aren’t backing into a corner you won’t be able to get out of!
Your first visit is also a chance for you to check out a number of dogs as you narrow down the search for YOUR dog. Sometimes dogs are a little shy or reserved in the shelter. Ask if you can see the dogs out in a yard and look at the differences in behaviour that the dogs might show.
Pre-Adoption Checklist: Do You Fit the Bill?
After your initial visit, you can expect to be interviewed or otherwise questioned on your lifestyle, living arrangements, financial stability, expectations and more.
You will likely be asked probing questions that are designed to ensure you’ve thought this decision through, rather than acting on impulse.
Another function of this process is to ensure the dog you’ve chosen is the right fit for your lifestyle and home environment. You’ll get to find out more about your chosen dog and its personality too!
Choosing the Dog for You
This will likely take multiple visits not only to narrow down your choice but also to ensure a minimal chance of an allergic reaction.
Once you have chosen a specific dog you think is the best fit and matches your lifestyle and home environment, you can arrange an official meet and greet.
All members of your household must come, including other fur babies. It’s your chance to see if you all get along before making the commitment.
The Deal is Done
If you find your perfect dog and the vets and people at the pet shelter agree he or she will be a good fit in your life, you’re ready to roll! The last step is filling in the paperwork and paying the adoption fee.
You will likely also receive support during the initial stages of bringing your new pet home. Make sure to ask about what level of support you can expect and any recommendations to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
Once your dog is cleared to become a member of your family, there will also be some things you will need to arrange pronto!