There's good news and bad news when it comes to being an allergy-riddled dog owner. On the upside, dogs are less likely than cats to cause an allergic reaction, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. On the downside, 10 percent of the United States population still suffers from dog allergies.
With this in mind, you may be asking yourself: is the Pit Bull pup I'm considering hypoallergenic?
To be hypoallergenic, something has to be "relatively unlikely to cause a reaction." In short, American Pit Bull Terriers are not hypoallergenic. However, this does not mean you have to avoid bringing one home or getting rid of your current Pit Bull pooch.
Keep reading to find out which dogs are the most hypoallergenic and where Pit Bulls stack up. Then, learn how you can reduce the chance of a reaction and keep your lovable Pit Bull pup around.
What makes a dog hypoallergenic?
First off, it is important to note that no canine is 100 percent hypoallergenic or resistant to inducing allergy symptoms. Some breeds simply cause fewer issues for their owners than others.
Factors such as how much your dog sheds, the amount of dander it produces and how many allergens are lurking in its skin, saliva and urine all contribute to whether a dog is considered hypoallergenic.
Shedding is a natural hair loss process that many dogs undergo. Some dogs shed yearlong, while others experience seasonal undercoat shedding.
While not all dogs have an undercoat, dogs bred for colder climates often have a second layer of fur to hold in heat. The undercoat tends to be soft fur, while the outer hair is typically stiffer. During seasonal undercoat shedding, dogs drop their warm winter coats for cooler spring and summer. However, while stripping down its hot hair may be useful for your dog, it can cause extra irritants for you.
When you are having an allergic reaction to your dog, it is likely your body negatively responding to dander. Often carried on your dog's fur, this makes shedding a bigger issue than just dog hair clinging to your black pants.
So, what exactly is dander? In addition to shedding hair, your dog frequently sheds dead skin cells as well. These tiny flecks are called dander.
Quickly attaching to your carpets, bedding, clothes and furniture, this brings on pet dander allergy symptoms in owners like fever, runny nose and sneezing, wheezing and difficulty breathing.
Dogs that frequently shed like Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies and German Shepherds are often the most likely to spread dander. On the other hand, dogs with non-shedding coats that hardly leave hair around your home tend to be considered the most hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Hair and skin aren't the only culprits when it comes to housing unwanted allergens. If your dog continually drools or has frequent accidents in the house, allergy symptoms are likely to follow.
After all, the harmful protein that causes bothersome health issues for pet owners is also contained in a dog's saliva and urine.
Which are the most hypoallergenic dog breeds?
With everything considered above, dogs with single coats or no hair at all help reduce shedding and the spread of dander.
In addition, it is best for allergy-sufferers to opt for dog breeds that are less likely to drool and avoid puppies and senior dogs that have frequent accidents.
With that in mind, these are some of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds:
- Bichon Frise
- Chinese Crested
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Italian Greyhound
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Shih Tzu
- Scottish Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
However, if you are committed to keeping up with constant clean-up, you can help your pup stay in the house and boot the harmful allergens out.
Why is a Pit Bull considered not hypoallergenic?
Iagology/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0
So, why didn't American Pit Bull Terriers make the hypoallergenic list? In reality, they aren't the most hypoallergenic, but they don't land on the list for worst dog breeds for allergies either.
While Pit Bull’s are short-haired, they do shed their coats typically twice a year. Like we mentioned above, with the departing hair often comes harmful dander. Moreover, Pit Bull Terriers house dander on their fur, which can latch on to owners during petting sessions.
Since dog allergens are so lightweight and small, they can stay airborne for long periods, making it easier to transfer from your Pit Bull to you and thus spread the allergens. Because of its movable nature, dander is the most significant danger when it comes to causing an allergic reaction from your Pit Bull.
Besides issues with shedding and dander, Pit Bull owners also experience problems when it comes to being allergic to dog saliva. After all, Pit Bulls often come with plenty of slobber. Like hair, this extra drool also attaches to nearby household items. If gone unnoticed or left unclean, the saliva will dry and become airborne.
Finally, Pit Bulls can spread allergens in their urine and sweat, making dog beds and lounging spaces harmful breeding grounds for allergies.
10 tips to minimize Pit Bull allergens in your home
While American Pit Bull Terriers may not be the most hypoallergenic dogs around, there are additional steps you can take to make living together a better experience.
The following tips include practices and products that can improve the cleanliness and air quality in your home and the health of you and your Pitbull pooch.
1. Keep Up With Grooming Your Pup
When it comes to dogs, Pit Bulls are generally pretty clean and don't require constant maintenance. However, if your pup is causing your allergies to act up, frequent grooming will help reduce the problem.
Luckily, a groomer isn't necessary to get the job done. Instead, you can groom your Pit Bull from home by investing in the right tools.
The primary grooming tool you need is a functional brush. After all, brushing is beneficial when it comes to controlling shedding. When you brush your dog once or twice a week, you contain hair fallout to one location, thus making irritants easy to remove and stopping allergens from spreading.
When deciding which brush to use, opt for a choice like the Pet Neat grooming brush, which removes dead hair, skin and stubborn tangles without pain in 10 minutes. The company offers a lifetime warranty for its customers, giving your investment the ultimate protection.
2. Bathe Your Pit Bull Once a Week
The second half of grooming is bathing your Pit Bull. While Pit Bulls can typically go up to a month between baths, reducing the time to a weekly rinse-off will help keep allergens at bay.
It's also important to include additional baths if your dog participates in an extra long walk or park play. Excess exposure to the environment brings in other irritants and causes more sweat, making allergens more likely to appear.
Just like with humans, simply throwing water on your pup is not enough to keep its body clean. On the other hand, using a gentle shampoo helps to neutralize pet smell and treat dandruff and dander.
When giving your Pit Bull a weekly bath, suds up their coat with Bodhi Dog Oatmeal Shampoo. While some dog shampoos dry out dog fur, this natural alternative uses oat proteins, aloe vera, coconut, fruit extracts and vitamins A, D and E to soothe inflamed skin and condition hair.
3. Don't Let Your Dog Lick You
Pit Bulls often get a bad rap for being angry dogs. However, as many Pit Bull owners know, the breed is actually quite lovable and friendly.
Like many dogs, your Pit Bull probably loves to give slobbery kisses. While the affection is endearing, the shared saliva also means shared allergens.
It's best to avoid lovable licks, especially near your face. Show your love with some extra toys and treats.
4. Wash Your Hands After Petting or Grooming
This brings up the next tip. After petting or grooming your dog's fur, it's important to head to a sink and thoroughly wash your hands.
Both petting and grooming have a similar effect of brushing your dog's fur. As you learned above, brushing dislodges dead hair and dander.
While containing it to one area is a good thing, you also don't want that area to be you. Washing your hands helps to transfer allergens to the trash can and not to your skin.
5. Clean and Vacuum Your Home Regularly
In addition to keeping your dog and yourself clean, it's also essential to apply that concept to your home. With most dogs, hair transfer to lounging areas, beds and couches is inevitable. Pit Bulls are no exception, and slick surfaces and carpets need regular vacuuming.
While standard vacuums work well at lifting everyday dirt and dust, they have more trouble when it comes to pet hair. Investing in a vacuum specifically tailored to remove dog hair ensures your carpets stay cleaner.
The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away removes dog hair from carpets and stairs and effortlessly swivels under hard-to-reach areas like couches and beds. LED lights also make leftover irritants easier to spot and basic fingertip controls shift suction settings from carpets to slick floors.
However, the best part about the Shark vacuum is that it sucks allergens into its sealed system instead of recycling them back into the air. The system uses a HEPA filter, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air. The filter is made from a fine mesh that traps dander, dust, pollen and smoke in the vacuum.
6. Limit Carpet That Dander Clings To
If you are moving or have the means to make some home improvements, trading out carpet for hard floors makes hair and dander easier to remove.
The woven fabric making up carpeted floors locks dog dander deep in its grooves. Even with the most high- tech vacuums, it's difficult to be 100 percent sure you removed all the irritants.
With hard floors, there is no hiding place for dust, dirt or most importantly dander. Stray hair and irritants become more visible and easier to remove in a timely fashion.
7. Set Boundaries in the House
While cleaning helps, it's best to block off certain rooms altogether. Most importantly, if you are strongly affected by pet allergies, fight the urge to sleep with your Pit Bull Pup.
Close-quarters cuddling in the bedroom gives you hours-long exposure to allergens while you sleep and can leave you waking up with cold symptoms. While setting boundaries may start with some whining at the door, eventually the overnight space will help keep your sinuses clear and your dog will adjust to the change.
Thankfully, you don't have to cut out all common areas with your pup. After all, Pit Bulls don't do well sleeping outside with temperatures that are either too hot or too cold, so owning one means putting up with some shared space in the house.
Instead of laying down with your dog in your bedroom, give your pup its own space in your living room. Next to the couch, slide in a dog bed, where your dog can comfortably lounge and hang out with you while you chat with the family or watch TV. This also condenses your clean-up duties.
8. Replace old Air Filters
Since dander and saliva are often airborne allergens, it's important to consider the air quality in your house.
As spring warms up the weather, Pit Bulls shed and spread dander. However, this is also when you start running your air conditioner more regularly. The combination often leads to clogged air filters.
In a house without pets, the air filter on your AC needs to be changed every three months. Add in a cat or dog and the time limit drops to two months. When you tack on pet owner allergies, the air filter needs to be changed every month.
For added support in keeping the air clean, adding a HEPA Air Purifier to your living room or bedroom ensures the ultimate airborne allergy defense. The Levoit model reads the air in the room and adjusts between three settings to accommodate your needs, while also determining filter life.
9. Change Your Dog's Diet
Introducing Omega-3 fatty acids to your dog's diet will help reduce dry skin and dander. Omega-3 is found in fish oil and other fish-related products.
The Omega-3 ingredient is also useful for senior arthritic dogs with joint issues because it reduces inflammation and helps fight off infection.
Thankfully, introducing Omega-3 doesn't have to mean feeding your dog fish oil straight. Instead, the Purina Pro Plan Focus comes in flavors like salmon and lamb, which are both rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Moreover, this dog food is designed to be sensitive on your dog's stomach and skin while improving overall digestive health.
10. Consult Your Doctor for Allergy Medicine
The final change likely includes a trip to your doctor's office. This change is about you, not your dog or house. With allergies, stronger relief is often needed beyond the capabilities of cleaning up or regularly washing your hands.
Allergy medicine often comes in handy to tame stubborn symptoms and allow you to return to your daily activities. If after everything else your allergies persist, consult a doctor to see which medications are best suited to combat your pet allergy symptoms.
While American Pit Bull Terriers are at the middle of the pack when it comes to being hypoallergenic, living with your lovable Pit Bull pup is still possible with a few changes to your routine and household products.
Understanding how dander and allergens spread is half the process. Next, following the tips above provides the best defense against your Pit Bull allergies.