Many people find themselves torn between their love of dogs and their allergies to dogs. While some people make it work, it can be extremely difficult to manage allergies to a pet that lives in your home, making it impractical to impossible for some people.
The desire to have a dog leads many allergy sufferers to seek out hypoallergenic dog breeds, with many people considering poodles to be at the top of this list. If you’re allergic to dogs and considering getting a poodle so you can have a dog that doesn’t irritate your allergies, read this first!
Are Poodles Hypoallergenic?
To answer this question, you first have to understand what it is about dogs that lead to allergies. Many people mistakenly believe that poodles are hypoallergenic because they are a low-shedding dog breed. Unfortunately, allergies to dogs aren’t caused by fur but by the proteins in dander. All dogs have dander, regardless of breed. While less shedding can lead to less dander in the environment, it doesn’t eliminate dander. This means that poodles are not a truly hypoallergenic dog breed.
What Is Pet Dander?
Dander is essentially just the dead skin cells that your dog naturally sheds. Animals with fur and feathers produce dander, which means that dogs, cats, birds, and even humans produce dander. Reptiles and fish, on the other hand, don’t produce dander.
Many people with allergies to dogs are also allergic to the proteins in their saliva and urine, not just the proteins in their dander. This means that it’s important to avoid contact with these proteins to reduce or prevent allergy symptoms.
Ways to Reduce Allergens from Dogs
By regularly having your dog bathed and brushed, you can reduce the loose dander that may flake off of them. Obviously, if you are allergic to dogs, you may not be able to be the person who performs this task. Professional grooming is a great option to prevent extra dander from being added to your environment by brushing and bathing your dog inside your home. Routine grooming will also remove urine and saliva proteins from the skin and coat.
Regularly washing linens your dog comes into contact with will reduce the free dander in the environment. This applies not only to linens that you come into contact with, like blankets and pillowcases, but it also applies to your dog’s beds. Even if you’re not spending time in your dog’s bed, a dirty dog bed can collect dander that gets kicked into the air every time your dog gets in and out of bed. Make sure to change clothes after handling your dog to reduce extended exposure to potential allergens.
When was the last time you washed all of the dog toys in your house? By washing both hard and soft toys, you’ll be able to reduce the dander in your home, as well as the saliva proteins. Soft toys, like bedding, can collect dander and release it into the environment during play. Hard toys can become an irritant for you whenever you handle them.
Dusting and Vacuuming
It’s generally recommended to dust and vacuum once or twice per week. Too much cleaning can just keep dander stirred up in the air, while too little cleaning can cause dander to get kicked up every time you move around. Adding a HEPA filter to your ventilation system can help reduce dander in the environment by capturing these particles.
Handwashing is the easiest and most effective way to reduce allergy symptoms related to your dog. Wash your hands after handling your dog, items that belong to your dog, and any items your dog regularly comes into contact with. Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after finishing up cleaning, and if you’ve had prolonged direct exposure with your dog on your skin, a shower is a good idea.
Poodles are not truly hypoallergenic, but their low shedding rate can make them suitable for some people with dog allergies. To manage allergens within your home, you have to understand how your dog’s presence irritates your allergies. Many people overlook some of the most simple management options, like handwashing, vacuuming, and cleaning bedding routinely. It may take some time to come up with a management plan, but many people can happily and comfortably share a home with a dog with proper planning and care.
See Also: Poodle Health Issues
Featured Image Credit: Anna K Majer, Shutterstock