Spanish Water Dog in the woods

If you suffer from pet allergies and would like to get a dog, you may have heard that a hypoallergenic dog is an answer. Hypoallergenic means that something has a small or reduced risk of triggering allergic reactions in people. So, a hypoallergenic dog sounds like a perfect addition to an allergy sufferer’s home.

A Spanish Water Dog is considered a hypoallergenic dog breed. But what does this mean? First, there is no government standard for something to be categorized as hypoallergenic. Cosmetics, clothing, and bedding manufacturers can all say that their products are hypoallergenic.

Regarding dogs, hypoallergenic means that the breed is less likely to trigger allergic reactions in people, but there is no guarantee that this is true. Pet allergy sufferers can still be allergic to hypoallergenic dog breeds. Read on to find out why and learn more about pet allergies.

What Is Dander?

Dander refers to the skin flakes of dogs or cats that are shed from their skin and caught in their hair. When you pet a dog or cat, the dander can end up on your hands or in the air around you, causing you to breathe it in. The dander is the allergen, not the pet itself. More specifically, a protein in the dander is the allergen, and this protein is also found in a dog’s saliva and urine.

When dogs and cats shed their fur, the dander comes with it. It’s attached to the hair and can end up on surfaces around your home and in the air that you breathe. This is why you may still experience an allergic reaction in a dog owner’s home even if the dog isn’t in the room.

Even though they are considered hypoallergenic, a Spanish Water Dog still has dander.

Why Is the Spanish Water Dog Hypoallergenic?

There is no 100% truly hypoallergenic dog breed because all dogs have the protein in their saliva, urine, and skin that causes allergic reactions. The reason that the Spanish Water Dog is considered hypoallergenic is due to their unique coat.

Their curly, wooly coat is low maintenance and doesn’t require frequent brushing. Clipping the coat once or twice a year should be enough to keep it tidy. They have a single coat, which means no undercoat. This lack of an undercoat means that they don’t shed much. They can still lose hair sometimes, but they are considered a low-shedding breed.

If you pet a Spanish Water Dog, you can still come into contact with their dander, triggering allergic reactions. This is especially true if you touch your face or eye right after touching the dog.

Spanish Water Dogs may trigger allergic reactions less often than high-shedding breeds, though, so they can make a good choice for allergy sufferers who want a dog. They are also ideal for those who want a dog that doesn’t shed much. However, they are active dogs and can be challenging for first-time dog owners. It’s best to do research on the breed before inviting this dog into your home, to make sure you can meet their needs.

a Spanish Water Dog at a dog show
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

What Else Can I Do to Reduce Pet Allergies?

If your pet allergies are severe, you shouldn’t share your home with a dog even if they are considered hypoallergenic. Severe allergies mean that you will experience a life-threatening reaction triggered by allergies, such as asthma or anything that makes breathing difficult. Anaphylaxis can cause your throat to swell, leave you feeling dizzy and confused, and can even make your blood pressure drop dangerously.

If you only experience sneezing, a runny nose, coughing, watery eyes, or rashes around dogs, you may be able to share your home with a hypoallergenic dog because they will cause fewer allergic reactions.

Some minor pet allergies can be controlled with over-the-counter allergy medication. Speak to your doctor about which one is right for you.

You can also reduce the risk of allergies by using an air filter to clean the dander from the air. Frequent vacuuming of the surfaces in your home will reduce the amount of dander that you come in contact with, and washing your bedding regularly is helpful if your dog sleeps in your bed.

Always wash your hands after petting or playing with your dog.

Final Thoughts

Spanish Water Dogs have single coats that don’t shed as much as other breeds. Since they are low-shedding dogs that don’t produce much dander, they are considered hypoallergenic. If you take steps to control your allergies to dogs, you might be able to comfortably share your home with a Spanish Water Dog.

Remember that no dog is truly hypoallergenic. Speak to your doctor before getting a dog to understand the risks and learn what medications might be helpful for you around dogs.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock