One of the worst experiences as a pet owner is falling in love with a dog that makes your eyes water and makes you sneeze your head off.
If you have allergies and are determined to have a dog, you’re likely looking for one that is hypoallergenic.
The question among many is whether or not Shih Tzus fit the bill.
Yes, for many allergy suffers, shih tzu’s are a great breed.
Let’s take a deeper look to find out.
What Causes Pet Allergies?
While some breeds are more allergy-friendly than others, no dog is entirely hypoallergenic.
To determine which ones are the most allergy-friendly, it’s essential to start with what causes the allergies in the first place.
It is a common thought that a dog’s fur can stir up allergies, so most allergy sufferers steer clear of long-haired dogs.
The truth of the matter is that it’s not actually the fur but what’s trapped in it.
A dog’s dander, meaning its skin cells, as well as saliva, urine, and dust, all get caught in a dog’s fur.
It is these things that produce allergic reactions in humans — not the fur itself.
What Does That Mean For Shih Tzus?
It is also a common misconception that the longer the hair, the more they shed.
The shedding, in theory, would lead to more exposure to allergens.
As Shih Tzus typically have longer hair, many allergy sufferers choose a different breed.
In reality, Shih Tzus can be much gentler on your allergies than many other breeds.
Their fur is hair-like, and it comes in a double coat.
This means that as they shed, their fur does not fall off around your home.
Instead, it gets caught in the second layer, keeping those allergens buried until grooming time.
Tips for Owning a Shih Tzu If You Have Allergies
Before going any further, remember this: no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic.
However, you can minimize potential allergic reactions by following a few tips.
- Brush your Shih Tzu every few days. This will prevent such a significant buildup of allergens that it finds its way out of that second layer of hair.
- Have someone else do the brushing and other grooming. Brushing away all of that dander can quickly kick up your allergies, so it’s better if someone else does it. If you live with a roommate or a partner, trade that chore off for another one.
- Don’t groom them inside. No matter who does the grooming, have them do it outside if possible. Otherwise, you’ll still get exposed to the allergens.
- Wash the dog regularly with moisturizing dog shampoo. The drier your pup’s skin, the more the skin sheds. Keeping it moisturized can reduce this issue.
- Vacuum and dust your home regularly. This will help pick up any dander that happened to escape the second coat. If you are going to be handling these chores, consider wearing a mask while you do.
If you have allergies, owning a pet might not be the best idea.
If you are determined to have a pet despite your allergies, though, a Shih Tzu is a good choice.
With regular cleaning and grooming, a Shih Tzu can be one of the most allergy-friendly dog breeds around.