There are a lot of myths and misconceptions regarding shedding and non shedding breeds. There is also some discussion on how to properly care for their coats. And, of course, we need to tackle the allergy myths.
Being a professional dog groomer and vet assistant for many years, I wanted to clear the air on these topics.
But first, here’s a quick note on human allergies.
- Hypoallergenic Dogs and Human Allergies
- 4 Common Myths
Hypoallergenic Dogs and Allergies
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: as many as 3 in 10 people in the United States have allergic reactions to dogs.
Each person suffering from allergies will have different reactions. Some people are allergic to all dogs, while some are only allergic to shedding breeds.
The truth is there is no truly hypoallergenic dog breed. They all produce some level of allergens.
However non shedding breeds do better with allergy sufferers due to their minimal pet dander.
We also have to consider mixed breeds. Mixing a shedding and non shedding breed can (expectantly) have mixed results. One of the biggest culprits being the Labradoodle (which we cover in more detail below).
4 Common Myths About Non Shedding Dogs
1. “If I shave my shedding dog, then I won’t get an allergic reaction.”
Hair does not create an allergic reaction, the real culprit is Pet Dander.
What is pet dander? They’re tiny particles of dead skin that become airborne and come in contact with your skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
These are particles of dead skin that naturally shed all year long and are the primary cause of your reaction. Shaving your dog will further expose the skin, and may make your allergies even worse.
Some owners mistakenly believe that shaving their shedding (double coated) dog will not only relieve their own allergies, but help their dog in hot weather. In reality this practice is a determinate to the health of both you and your dog.
There is a much healthier alternative: Bathing.
As we said earlier, all dogs produce allergens. Even ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs will release dander that can get trapped within a long coat.
Regular brushing and bathing will remove excess particles and may provide some relief from your allergic reactions.
In short: you cannot shave a double coated dog (except under rare medical circumstances). However, you can greatly reduce allergens with regular bathing and brushing.
“With regular brushing and bathing, you decrease the amount of dander/hair present, which will in turn lessen allergic reactions to these highly antigenic proteins”
Dr. Karen Halligan – Director of Veterinary Services at SPCALA
2. “I’ll get a non-shedding dog because they’re maintenance free”
Even though you won’t have to vacuum your house as much, these dogs require special attention.
Non shedding dogs continually grow hair. And just like the hair on your head, if left unkempt it will tangle and grow bacteria.
Hair tangles are much more of a danger for dogs.
Tangles continue to tighten up on the surface of the skin, which leads to bruising and severe pain. These injuries, with the development of bacteria, leads to severe skin infections.
The best way to avoid matting and tangles is through regular brushing and bathing. Maintaining a brushing schedule twice per week, and a haircut every 6 to 12 weeks (depending on breed) will maintain their coat and overall health.
3. “I don’t have to brush my dog if they visit the groomer”
This is unfortunately a common trait among customers of grooming salons.
The reality is that not brushing your dog for several weeks can lead to severe matting. Tangles will continue to get tighter and tighter, pulling on the skin, which can lead to bruising and even permanent hair loss.
Besides the health concerns, this is also costing you extra money. Dogs that come in with heavy matting require extra time and care. Which means your groomer is charging you more.
Save your pup from discomfort while saving some money by brushing your pup twice per week.
4. “My dog is a Poodle-Mix or Labradoodle, so they’re hypoallergenic”
Not all poodle mixes (including Labradoodles) are hypoallergenic. It all hinges on your dog’s genetics. If you’re lucky your dog may have hypoallergenic traits passed on from their poodle parent. However, it’s a roll of the dice.
If you want an (almost) guaranteed hypoallergenic poodle mix, then you’ll need one from a 3rd generation litter. Meaning both parents, and both grandparents, must also be non-shedding and hypoallergenic.
This goes for all crossbreeds between shedding and non shedding dogs.
Learn more here: Are Labradoodles Hypoallergenic?