The scoop on the hypoallergenic dog is that there is no such thing. All dogs secrete a specific protein through their skin, urine, and saliva which is the root cause of allergic reactions. Therefore, no dog can truly be hypoallergenic. However, there are certain breeds you can own and certain things you can do to drastically limit your allergic sensitivity to the Great American Fuzzy Butt.
A Hypoallergenic Dog Just Makes you Less Itchy
It’s true. The myth of the hypoallergenic dog is now firmly planted into our psyche. It IS a myth, but like any good myth, it’s based in fact. A hypoallergenic dog is still allergenic, however it is LESS allergenic than other breeds. Hypoallergenic dogs are simply dogs that either shed very little or not at all. Remember the article I wrote on why some dogs are hypoallergenic? If not, I’ll recap. All dogs secrete the protein which causes our allergies through their saliva, urine, and skin. What makes it really terrible on all of us allergy sufferers is when a dog sheds. All of that shedding hair – and the skin cells on it – floats around the house and into our respiratory tracts. That’s what gets us. So if you go with a breed that doesn’t shed, nine times out of ten, you’ll be golden.
How to Make Your Hypoallergenic Dog Truly Hypoallergenic
You can’t. Not really. HOWEVER, you can do some things that will work in conjunction with certain breeds’ less allergenic properties that will allow you to have a cute little pooch.
Pick a Breed
Here are a few breeds that are great for a person with dog allergies.
- Shih Tzu
- West Highland Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
These are all great breeds for the allergy sufferer. While there is no hypoallergenic dog, these breeds come close. They don’t shed, they don’t make huge amounts of urine, and they’re generally very clean breeds.
Keep it Clean
Although the breeds I just listed are high on the hypoallergenic dog scale, you’ll still need to combat dander, urine, and saliva in order to keep your allergies at bay. Here are a few tips for keeping yourself allergy free.
- Dust Once a Week: Although hypoallergenic dog breeds don’t shed, some skin cells will still drop off. Dusting twice a week will help remove any rogue cells that land on your surfaces.
- Vacuum Twice a Week: Just like with dusting, routine vacuuming helps get rid of any skin cells that make their way to your carpet. It also helps remove any dried saliva that may have gotten onto your carpet from your dog licking its feet.
- Bathe Your Dog Twice a Week: Bathe your dog every couple of weeks with a high quality aloe and oatmeal shampoo. This does two things. It keeps their skin healthy, reducing flaking. Reducing flaking in turn reduces your allergic response.
That’s it. A hypoallergenic dog is like a unicorn. We all want to believe they exist, but they don’t. However, if you get a breed that has a low propensity to trigger your allergies and you keep your home routinely cleaned, you should be fine. Dogs are wonderful friends, and I would hate to think that any dog lover is without one just because of their allergies. So go out and adopt a cute cuddle bug. Just make sure it doesn’t shed and make sure to vacuum and dust. =D
Did this help you better understand the “real scoop” on the hypoallergenic dog? Did you learn anything new? Tell us in the comments!