If you’re like me, one of your worries about getting a dog is possibly the likelihood of you or your loved ones developing allergies. So, if you’re wondering whether poodles will set you off into a sneezing frenzy, this article is here to answer your concerns.
So, let’s get down to it…
Are poodles hypoallergenic? Yes, poodles are hypoallergenic. This means that poodles are less likely to expose you or your loved ones to allergens from shed fur and allergenic proteins in their body (through the saliva and skin). Below, I explain why poodles are your best bet for a hypoallergenic dog and easy steps you can take to further minimize allergens.
First, let’s understand what happens when someone develops allergic reactions to dogs.
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How dogs cause allergies
It is important to emphasize that people who develop allergies near dogs are not actually allergic to dogs. Instead, they are allergic to the triggers that dogs usually shed. These include dog hair, saliva, dander, urine, and feces.
When someone sensitive to these triggers encounters them, the following happens:
- The receptor nerves register the presence of the allergens.
- The body starts releasing antibodies to combat the allergens.
- The antibodies cause the release of such chemicals like histamine to remove the allergens from the body. Histamine may cause a number of reactions such as a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, or swelling.
Therefore, the process starts with the registering of allergens. If the allergens are never registered, then the immune system’s reaction to them never happens, and the individual never experiences the allergies.
This is why, if you’re prone to allergies, the best way to prevent allergic reactions is to expel allergens from your surroundings.
Why are Poodles hypoallergenic?
The bottom line is that poodles have less dander. When you’re allergic to dogs, it’s your body’s aversion to dander released from dogs when they shed fur. Dander is the equivalent of dandruff for dogs – it is actually shed skin cells.
Since poodles generally shed little fur, they subsequently release less dander – less dander to trigger your allergies.
Fun Fact – Poodles are known to be low-shedders. This means that they shed lesser fur than your typical dog. The reason for this is that poodle fur typically grows as human hair does.
While other dogs’ fur grows to a certain length, dries, and is shed, poodle fur can grow even larger and does not have to dry up and be shed. Therefore, even for significantly furry poodle varieties, much fur does not actually mean more dog hair scattered on your couch or carpet – actually, their curly hair has been known to trap shed hair!
Besides, poodles are less likely to drool. We know that most people who self-report as being sensitive to canine allergens actually have a high sensitivity to dog saliva. Therefore, a dog that drools can be particularly triggering – this is not so with a poodle.
That being said, poodles are not completely hypoallergenic.
Really, no dog can be 100% hypoallergenic – perhaps hair-less dogs can come close; but until those come around, it’s important to manage even the little allergens problems that poodles may cause. Here are a few things you can try:
Clean your home
This is a no-brainer. Like other dogs, poodles will leave around dander where they live. If the place is not cleaned well, then the dander can accumulate and trigger allergies. Therefore, cleaning your home is paramount when you have a poodle living in.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filter to ensure that you collect the dander from the floor. In addition, clean your couch surface and any clothing that your poodle gets into contact with.
Some clever sources recommend switching from carpet flooring to laminate flooring (bare hardwood flooring, for instance) because carpets trap more allergens. The same goes for abandoning curtains in favor of window blinds. I think this makes a lot of sense and it’s worth considering.
Ventilate your home properly
Enable constant circulation of fresh air within your home. Personally, I can attest to the fact that fresh air can greatly improve your body’s adverse reactions to allergens.
For instance, when coping with allergens, nasal congestion or sneezing may be a common side effect. Fresh air clears up your respiratory system, which can alleviate some of the discomfort created by the allergies.
Apart from helping you cope with allergic reactions, the circulation of fresh air will help to reduce such allergens as the allergic protein that is released through your poodle’s skin – if the air is dingy and stuffy, all you can smell is this allergen.
Bathe your poodle weekly
Most people with allergies to dogs are actually allergic to certain proteins exuded from dogs’ skin. In addition, dander is something of concern even if you have mild allergies. Therefore, cleaning your poodle will ensure that you clean the allergic protein and dander that he exudes.
Use a mild, moisturizing dog shampoo and try to make a party out of it – make sure your poodle enjoys the bath.
Groom your poodle regularly
Groom your poodle every three days or so in order to remove the little shed hair that could be trapped in his curly hair. This is also a good time to apply natural oils to your poodle’s hair. Natural oils will make your poodle’s hair more resilient and even less likely to shed.
As a precaution, you should probably get someone who is not sensitive to the allergens to do the grooming. If not, wear protection for instance face masks, isolate the grooming area, and wash your hands carefully after the grooming session.
Feed your poodle well for a healthy coat
A healthy coat will release less dander. As I mentioned above, dander is dead skin cells; an unhealthy coat may have more flakey skin that releases more dander. To ensure that your poodle maintains a healthy coat, feed him a balanced diet with ample antioxidants.
Limit unnecessary exposure to your poodle’s allergic triggers
If you’re sensitive to allergies, digging your face into your poodle’s fur will feel great for about the first two seconds! Then the real trouble begins. These instances can be prevented.
Maintaining good hygiene when interacting with your poodle is important. For instance, wash your hands regularly to prevent transmitting the allergens to your nose, eyes, and mouth.
In addition, since poodles are always open to instruction through good training, you can try teaching your poodle not to lick your hands or face or items in your home. This will prevent you from allergic protein that may be contained in your poodle’s saliva.
This measure is the last one on my list because you shouldn’t take medication if you have taken the above measures. However, I understand that some allergies can be particularly persistent and severe.
Symptoms may include skin rashes or difficulties in breathing. In case you notice these and other severe symptoms, consult your medical doctor on appropriate medication for you.
The Last Word
Allergies are not the end of the world. However, if you’ve experienced them before, you know that it’s impossible to have a nice time while coping with allergies. You don’t want allergens to come between you and your furry companion.
Thankfully, poodles produce fewer allergens and are less likely to trigger allergies. Therefore, if you’re sensitive to dog allergens, poodles are your best bet. In addition to being really fun companions, they are hypoallergenic; you can have as much fun as you can manage at the least risk of allergies. Win-win!