Because humans are allergic to pet dander, rather than the actual hair or fur on a dog, there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs. With that being said, Shih Tzu’s are great dog breeds for people who suffer from allergies and are considered by many a hypoallergenic dog breed.
This is because of their hair-like coat as opposed to typical dog fur. But, some people with allergies can still experience allergic reactions based on their sensitivity to a particular dog. In the end, it depends on the person and their allergies rather than the breed at large. However, there are many steps you can take to keeping your Shih Tzu’s dander to a minimum.
What Causes Pet Allergies?
The first step in determining if Shih Tzus are hypoallergenic is to understand what causes pet allergies. Many people make the common misconception that dogs’ fur is what sends their allergies through the roof.
However, it is actually an allergen found in pets’ dander, saliva, and even urine. Therefore, there is truly no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog.
There are dogs that are less prone to setting off an individual’s allergies, but because all dogs have dander, saliva, and urine, it is impossible to truly classify any dog as entirely hypoallergenic.
Are Shih Tzus Good For People With Allergies?
Even though there are no breeds that are completely hypoallergenic, there are certain breeds that are known to be better suited for people with allergies. Because Shih Tzus have a hair-like fur and a double coat, it is common for hairs that shed to get stuck in the second layer of the coat instead of falling on the carpet or furniture.
Since Shih Tzu’s shed less than other dogs, there isn’t as much dander that gets in the air. Because of these qualities, Shih Tzus are less prone to igniting allergies.
Tips For Controlling Allergies
People with bad allergies can have allergic reactions from even the most allergy friendly dogs. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to help ensure your allergies are kept under control with your new Shih Tzu. The first step is to spend time with your potential new dog before committing to taking him home.
A responsible breeder should allow you to return the dog if he sets off your allergies, and most shelters will let you spend significant one-on-one time before adopting your new four-legged friend. By spending time with your Shih Tzu prior to bringing him into your living space, you eliminate the chances of creating an unpleasant living environment for both you and your new pup.
Since allergies are ignited by pet dander, aim to keep your Shih Tzu’s dander to a minimum. Do this by grooming your Shih Tzu regularly. If you are the person with the allergy, it is best if you are not the one doing the grooming.
Shih Tzus should normally be brushed every few days, but to minimize allergies, brush your dog daily. This will help keep excess hair and dander off of the floor and furniture. In addition to daily brushing, you should keep your Shih Tzu’s coat short.
Even though this breed is known for their beautiful, long hair, this hairstyle is much harder to groom. Make your life easier by having the groomer style your Shih Tzu with a traditional puppy cut.
The final grooming technique you can adopt is bathing your dog. It is extremely important to note that if your dog’s skin becomes too dry, his skin will flake and shed even more.
Therefore, when bathing your Shih Tzu, you should use a natural, moisturizing shampoo. This will help wash away dander and excess hair.
After shampooing, you should use a conditioner that moisturizes the coat and skin. This step is key to keeping your dog’s skin hydrated so that shedding and dry skin does not occur.
In addition to grooming, cleaning around the house will also keep your allergies at bay. This includes washing your pet’s bedding, washing any soft surfaces your Shih Tzu frequents, vacuuming and sweeping. Even though this will keep your house looking sparkly clean, the purpose is to catch any pet dander before it affects the person with allergies.
To make cleaning easier, train your Shih Tzu to sleep in the same designated areas. Although it goes without saying, you should also keep the Shih Tzu out of the room of the person with the allergies.
Even though some sources say that Shih Tzus are hypoallergenic, there is no way to know until the unique individual comes in contact with the dog. This is because every person’s allergies are different and therefore, it is impossible to make a sweeping generalization.
However, if you love Shih Tzus and are allergic to dogs, there is a good chance that this breed will work for you. By following the regular grooming recommendations and keeping your living area clean, it is possible for you to keep your allergies under control.