Not many people can resist the charm of the Chihuahua. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of adopting a dog simply because they have fallen in love with it— pet allergies are a thing.
But not all dogs will trigger an allergy, even in sensitive people. Such dog breeds are referred to as hypoallergenic. So, is the Chihuahua hypoallergenic? The short answer is no.
Chihuahuas are not hypoallergenic and could make you sick if you are prone to allergies. However, there is more to it than whether a breed is hypoallergenic or not when choosing allergy-friendly dogs. With the right approach, you might just be able to live with a Chihuahua despite your allergy.
Why the Chihuahua Is Not Considered Hypoallergenic
As mentioned, the Chihuahua is not hypoallergenic. It is important to state that looking for an allergy-safe dog is like looking for a unicorn because no dog truly is. The term “hypoallergenic” is thrown around by marketers to suggest no chance of allergy, but it only means “less likely to cause allergy.” Therefore, there is still a chance that a “hypoallergenic” dog could cause an allergy.
The most allergy-friendly dogs tend to be either non-shedding or hairless breeds. This is because the substance that you are allergic to is dander, which tends to stick to dog hair. This is why breeds that shed heavily are a terrible match for people with dog allergies, as those breeds leave hair with dander everywhere.
As such, coat density and shedding rate are the two most important factors to consider when determining the allergy-friendliness of a breed. When it comes to the Chihuahua, they can come with either a short coat or a longer coat.
Nonetheless, both are medium shedders, shedding neither too much nor too little. This means that there is a good chance that a Chihuahua can trigger an allergic reaction to those with pet allergies.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize that risk.
Tips on How to Live With a Chihuahua When You Have a Dog Allergy
The following tips will make life with a Chihuahua more manageable. However, no one can make promises that you will never run into trouble.
1. Regular Grooming
As mentioned, allergens – the substances that cause allergic reactions – in dogs are found in their dander. This dead skin sticks to dog hair and comes off with it. Therefore, one way of preventing an allergic reaction would be to ensure that your pet has as minimal dander in their fur as possible.
This is why regular grooming is recommended. A proper bath is a good place to start as it will effectively remove dander and other potential allergens. The frequency of those baths will depend on the amount of time your dog spends outside.
If your Chihuahua goes outside every day, you will need to bathe them at least two times a week. If they go out occasionally, a weekly bath will suffice.
Also, consider giving your Chihuahua a thorough brushing at least thrice a week. Regular brushing prevents their fur from matting reducing the chances of dander getting trapped. Of course, you should delegate the task of grooming your pet to a non-allergic individual.
2. Restrict Access to Your Bedroom
If you have pet allergies, you are already taking a big risk by allowing a dog into your home. Therefore, it is important to establish boundaries right away regarding the places the dog has access to. Considering that you spend at least 8 hours in your bedroom, you cannot afford to have allergens in that space.
As such, make sure everybody knows that the dog cannot enter your room or that of any other person in your family who also has a dog allergy.
3. Install Air Purifiers with HEPA Filters
Studies indicate that installing an air purifier with a HEPA filter can help control symptoms of asthma, as well as dog allergies. HEPA filters can trap tiny particles, such as pet dander, which is something normal filters cannot do.
Therefore, even though air purifiers with HEPA filters tend to cost more, they are worth it. Remember to change the filter regularly.
4. Remove Dust-Capturing Fabrics
Carpets, upholstery, and draperies are your enemies when it comes to managing dog allergies. This is because they trap dust, dirt, and dander, which all are carriers of allergens.
Therefore, consider wood flooring over your carpets, leather couches over upholstery, and replacing your draperies with roller shades. While at it, buy plastic covers for your mattresses.
Taking these measures will allow you to manage dirt and dander more effectively.
5. Keep Your House Clean
A clean house is likely to have fewer allergens. For starters, consider vacuuming at least once a week. It would be a good idea to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, as this will be more effective at removing dander.
Additionally, wash the floors on a weekly basis while dry mopping every other day. Lastly, change your dog’s bedding frequently to prevent the accumulation of dander. Let someone who has no allergy handle this task.
There is no denying that Chihuahuas are adorable, but they aren’t the best dog breed for you if you have a pet allergy. But if you can’t keep your hands off these dogs, you must take the necessary measures.
Let’s face it, no amount of grooming will make them hypoallergenic, but a Chihuahua can still be your ride or die. If you ever change your mind, check out this list of the most hypoallergenic dog breeds in the world.
Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock