Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hypoallergenic Dogs / Dogs that Don’t Shed

What Causes Dog Allergies?

Allergens are the agents that cause allergic reactions.  The primary allergens produced by dogs that affect people are dander and saliva.  Dander is composed of skin cell that slough off as new skin cells are produced.  Saliva is produced by the tongue and is transferred to the dog’s fur by licking.  As fur sheds, dander and saliva from the dog are carried to come into contact with people.  Hypoallergenic dogs shed less and therefore are thought to produce less allergic reaction.  Since all dogs produce dander and saliva, all dogs have the potential to cause allergic reactions.

Cake that looks like small white dog
This dog is hypoallergenic!  What other choices are available?
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Which Dog Breeds are Hypoallergenic? 

Some dog breeds are known as hypoallergenic.  These breeds shed less fur than others.  The lists below contain dog breeds that are known to shed less than most.

Hypoallergenic Small dogs:
  • Maltese
  • Poodles (Toy, Miniature)
  • Schnauzers (Miniature)
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Chinese Crested
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Xoloitzcuintli

Hypoallergenic Large dogs:
  • Standard Poodle
  • Schnauzers (Standard, Giant)
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Portuguese Water Dog

Hypoallergenic Hybrids (Designer Dogs):
  • Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever x Standard Poodle)
  • Mal-Shi (Maltese x Shih-Tzu)

Labradoodle with curly golden fur
Labradoodle: A Hypoallergenic Hybrid of Labrador Retriever and Poodle
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Less is More

Small dogs have less surface area, and therefore produce less dander.  Another advantage of small dogs is that they are easier to groom and bathe frequently, which will reduce the amount of dander and saliva that they carry.

Dogs Bring Pollen From Outside

Dogs also can pick up pollen outdoors and carry it in their fur, causing allergy problems in addition allergies related to the dog itself.  Frequent bathing can reduce the amount of pollen that dogs carry in their fur as well and may reduce allergic reaction.

Dogs Have Individual Differences

Since there is variability in dander and saliva characteristics and amount of shedding among individual dogs, it seems like a good idea to spend time with the particular dog to gauge the amount of allergic reaction to expect.

Reducing Allergic Reaction to Dogs

  • Choose a hypoallergenic breed that sheds less
  • Choose a small dog that will produce less dander
  • Frequently bathe your dog to remove pet dander and pollen from outdoors
  • Frequent brushing can help remove loose fur and dog dander which will reduce exposure to allergens from your dog
  • Sweep and vacuum frequently to remove as much dog fur and dander from your house as possible
  • Keep your dog off of your bed to reduce exposure to allergens from your dog

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