Imagine this, you have always wanted a furry little friend to accompany you every day, but there’s just one slight problem; you get a terrible allergy attack in their presence, rendering you unable to lead a comfortable life around them.
Research shows that as many as three in 10 people in the US have allergic reactions associated with cats dogs. However, there’s good news for all the dog lovers out there. You don’t have to decide between living a life without allergic reactions and keeping a dog. The simple solution is to adopt a hypoallergenic dog.
However, to simply answer the question, German Shepherds dogs are not hypoallergenic. In fact, there is not such a dog—or cat—that is truly and entirely hypoallergenic. 100% hypoallergenic cats and dogs do not exist. But when we, or pet groomers, say that a certain breed is hypoallergenic, it just means that this breed sheds minimally, reducing the chances of giving its owners allergies.
The Hypoallergenic Dogs
Hypoallergenic, which means being “below average” or “slightly” allergenic, is a term that refers to the fact that something causes fewer allergic reactions. The term was first used in 1953 in an advertising campaign for cosmetics. Recently, as the world is getting used to the concept of adopting pets in their lifestyle, this term has risen in popularity. The main question people ask before deciding on a certain pet is whether the animal would trigger an allergic reaction to someone prone to pet allergies.
Dog allergies include many symptoms, such as an itchy nose, coughing, congestion, and even an asthma attack. These allergies may appear immediately after exposure, or they may even take up to an hour to start occurring.
Hypoallergenic dogs constitute low-shedding breeds that produce an almost negligible number of allergens—so little that they do not trigger allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to allergies.
These allergens are found in the fur or saliva of the dog. However, the number of allergens can vary significantly depending upon the breed and environment. Dogs that live outside often have debris and dirt stuck to their coats, increasing the chances of allergies for their owners.
Such dogs are ideal for individuals who want to experience the joy of owning a dog but are not prone to allergies.
All in all, dogs that don’t shed produce far less dander than those who shed, which is how hypoallergenic dogs are distinguished. Allergy-sensitive individuals should be on the lookout for hypoallergenic breeds.
Technically, dogs that are 100% hypoallergenic do not exist, but bringing home a fairly hypoallergenic dog is as good as it gets. In addition, cleaning their bed, grooming them adequately, and vacuuming the dog hair are some of the few ways to reduce allergens in the air.
The Worst Dog Breeds for Allergies
There are many breeds of dogs that are not meant for individuals with dog allergies. Some of them include Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, and Doberman Pinschers.
While these dog breeds are wonderful and friendly to have around in the house and as part of the family, they are heavy or seasonal shedders. It’s a trait that can only be managed, not prevented. If they don’t shed heavily once, they shed throughout the year, which may be reduced by constant brushing, but again, the shedding cannot be eliminated.
Thus, having these breeds in your home could trigger your underlying conditions, which won’t be ideal for you or your pet. It’s best to choose breeds more suited to your health conditions to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
Dander and Dogs
The dog equivalent of dandruff, which is referred to as dander, is the main underlying reason that causes allergies in humans. Dander is the microscopic bits of skin that get loose. The problem arises when dogs shed their top layer of coat, which happens approximately every 21 days. Consequently, the loose dander lingers in the air and attaches to walls, sheets, and furniture. Not only this, but double-coated dogs are far worse when it comes to shedding, which subsequently leads to an even greater number of allergy attacks.
On the other hand, while we have noted down some of the best dog breeds for allergy-sensitive individuals, we should also take a look at some of the least ideal breeds for such people.
German Shepherds, for example, are the prime example of such a breed. These dogs used to be herd dogs, because of which they required an extremely thick coat to survive the unforgiving winter cold in the mountains.
German Shepherds have a double coat that is quite thick. The undercoat is meant to be utilized as a layer of insulation against the cold—keeping the dog dry and warm. In addition, the coarser outer coat purely serves as a protection against ice and snow.
Unfortunately, this double coat means that the dogs shed all year long, especially during the summers. This phenomenon occurs so that they don’t overheat in the unforgiving summer heat. Otherwise, they could fall under the risk of a heat stroke or even death.
There is no doubt that shedding is crucial for German Shepherds, but the amount of fur that these dogs shed makes it especially harder for people with dog allergies to overcome this hurdle.
Some may think that shaving the dog would save them from the trouble of dealing with their allergies. However, a German Shepherd’s coat is of the utmost importance. Without it, the dog would not be able to protect himself from the harsh winter temperatures.
Not only that, but the coat protects them from sunburn, and shaving them would render them completely vulnerable.
How to Deal With an Allergy Prone German Shepherd?
If you are an individual who loves German shepherds but is also a victim of allergies, there may be some ways to diminish the chances of allergic reactions.
First and foremost, ensure that your dog is well-groomed and clean. Brush your dog regularly, if not daily. This will keep you on top of things.
Moreover, bathing your dog regularly is also an efficient way of getting rid of all the dry skin cells and dander. Use a shampoo that suits their fur, as a dry coat can lead to more shedding.
All this can be done with the help of a professional groomer, who might be better at keeping them well-groomed.
In addition, it might be time to lose the carpet in your house. Dander adheres extremely well to carpeted floors. In essence, if you have both a German shepherd and a carpet, you have the floor made of dander.
Hardwood floors are the more optimum option since it is easier to wipe them clean. However, if letting go of the carpet is hard, you can always vacuum it regularly. It should also be noted that dander can settle in linens and cushions as well. Clean them every week to keep the allergens at a minimum.
Interacting with your pet is one of the most wholesome moments of your day. This is why it is a good idea to have specific clothes that you only wear while you are with them. These clothes can vary from old outfits to more casual wear—basically, anything which they don’t mind getting dirty.
Doing this would ensure that your other clothes, such as your gym attire and your work outfits, remain dander-free. You don’t want to be sneezing and itching all day at work because of the pet fur attached to your clothes.
Besides, you need to be extra careful while putting clothes in the wash. If you put something with fur and dander attached to it, it will most likely end up sticking to other clothes as well. Shake them out or vacuum them before doing your laundry.
One simple step that you can incorporate into your daily routine is to wash your hands. It may sound like an insignificant step, but washing or sanitizing your hands after interacting with your pets can go a long way to ensure those pesky allergic reactions are kept at bay.
At last, having pet-free zones in your house will allow you to have spaces where you can be free from any allergy symptoms. If your dog is allowed to roam free, it will spread dander everywhere. It is a good idea to allocate places where you can seek refuge from allergens.