Having pet allergies when you adore dogs can be incredibly unfair. One way to reduce your reactions is to look for a hypoallergenic breed. But if you have your eye on the adorable Akita, you might wonder if these dogs are safe to own for allergy sufferers.
Unfortunately, this is a solid no. Akitas are quite the opposite of hypoallergenic.
Here, we discuss a few methods that you can use to make living with an Akita more bearable if you suffer from pet allergies. We also look at what breeds you should avoid, as well as the top hypoallergenic breeds.
What Makes Us Allergic to Pets?
Our allergies to pets come primarily from three things:
- Dander: Almost all mammals with fur have dander, which consists of dead skin cells. Many people believe that they are allergic to fur, but when dogs shed their hair, dander sheds with it. When dander comes into contact with the eyes, nose, and mouth, it can cause an allergic reaction.
- Saliva: Dried saliva is a large part of the problem for allergy sufferers. When dogs lick their fur, it eventually dries up, flakes off, and becomes airborne. Like with dander, it can cause an allergic reaction when it hits you.
- Urine: This isn’t always the cause of allergies because dogs usually urinate outside, but accidents can happen inside, and it’s another allergy trigger.
Why Are Akitas Not Good for Allergy Sufferers?
Akitas are spitz-type dogs bred to be hardy workers in the cold climates in Japan. So, like other spitz breeds, they have profusely thick fur with dense undercoats. What this means is plenty of shedding!
They need brushing at least once a week during the summer and winter because they don’t shed too much at these times. But in the spring and fall, they “blow” their coats. This means they will practically create a blizzard of fur inside the house. This is when daily brushing is in order — an allergy sufferer’s nightmare!
Can an Allergy Sufferer Live With an Akita?
Is it still possible to bring an Akita into an allergy sufferer’s home? There are a few steps that you can take that might make things easier, but this also depends on how bad the person’s allergies are.
- Fabric: Think about replacing any furniture covered in fabric that tends to attract hair — velvet, wool, etc. Consider denim, leather, silk, and satin, as hair doesn’t stick to these surfaces quite as much.
- Baths: Akitas shouldn’t be bathed too often, or you’ll dry out the skin, which also means more dander. When you bathe your dog, only use shampoo for dogs, which can also help reduce shedding.
- Cleaning: You’ll need to work extra hard at cleaning and vacuuming to eliminate the excess dander and fur on all surfaces. Consider a vacuum for pet hair, and be thorough — vacuum the stairs, curtains, and furniture. You’ll also want to regularly wash your dog’s bedding and anywhere else that your dog tends to hang out. A HEPA filter in an air purifier could also help.
- Brushing: You might need to get someone else to do the brushing if you’re the one with the allergies. Either way, you’ll need a slicker brush and an undercoat rake. Brush them a minimum of once a week in the summer and winter and every day in the spring and fall. Try to do it outside, especially when they are blowing their coats.
- Off-limit bedroom: If you don’t allow your Akita in your bedroom, this will give you one safe room without allergens.
What Other Dog Breeds Should Allergy Sufferers Avoid?
You’ll want to avoid dogs that tend to drool and shed frequently or have many skin folds, which include:
- Basset Hounds
- Cocker Spaniels
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherds
- Labrador Retrievers
- Saint Bernards
- Siberian Huskies
Breeds to Consider for Allergy Sufferers
There’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic breed, but some dogs have a coat type that makes them easier to live with if you have allergies.
- Afghan Hounds
- Bichon Frise
- Chinese Crested
- Portuguese Water Dogs
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers
- Yorkshire Terriers
The beautiful Akita is not the best choice for someone with allergies, but it’s doable if you are diligent with your cleaning and if someone can give you a hand with the grooming part. If having an Akita simply isn’t in the cards, there are many amazing dogs that are easier for allergy sufferers to live with.
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