Chihuahua dogs are known for quite a few things, from their Mexican origins and distinct personalities to their pointy features and reputation as the tiniest dogs in the world.
There are many things to consider when taking on a new family pet.
Is the breed friendly? Does it need plenty of hands-on training and exercise? How big will it grow?
But we’re concerned about one critical question today: Are Chihuahuas hypoallergenic?
There are a few different dog breeds that have landed a spot on the exclusive hypoallergenic list, making them ideal for people who struggle with allergies around dogs. Today, we will find out if the Chihuahua makes the cut.
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What Does Hypoallergenic Mean?
In a general sense, something that is deemed hypoallergenic likely contains fewer common allergens than other products. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is no specific set of Federal regulations that organizations have to follow to use this label.
In short, something that is referred to as hypoallergenic may very well still cause allergies in some people, especially since no two individuals will have the same reaction to an allergen.
The parameters surrounding the use of the word hypoallergenic are crucial to understand, as they apply to dog breeds as well. Just as no product can be 100 percent hypoallergenic, neither can any dog breed.
Learning a bit more about so-called hypoallergenic dogs can help us understand this concept a little better.
What Causes Allergic Reactions to Dogs?
There’s a common misconception that those who are allergic to dogs have reactions due to the dog’s fur. So, people turn to low-shedding breeds or those with hair versus fur as a solution.
But allergic reactions don’t occur because of a dog’s hair. Even a low-shedding dog can cause humans to have allergic reactions – and the same goes for breeds with hair.
An allergy occurs any time your body’s immune system has an adverse reaction to a foreign substance. These reactions can happen with medications, foods, pollen, mold, and pets. Those with dog allergies will produce an inflammatory response when the individual inhales or comes into contact with triggers.
So, what are these triggers? Most often, the cause of dog allergies is dander. Dander is dry, flaky, dead skin that dogs – and any pet shed. Dander is the most common culprit, as it lingers on fur and sticks to practically every surface in the house. It even floats in the air.
But it’s not the only allergy trigger in a dog. A dog’s saliva, sweat, and urine are all also allergens. Even if your dog doesn’t shed one flake of skin, a lick is all it takes to cause a reaction.
So, Can Dogs Really Be Hypoallergenic?
To sum it up, no – dogs cannot truly be 100 percent hypoallergenic. However, there are dog breeds that can get pretty close, and it’s just easier to categorize them as hypoallergenic rather than a phrase like “less-than-allergenic.”
Because dander is the main trigger for dog allergies, high-shedding dogs provide a great avenue for this allergen.
Dogs who shed more fur more frequently tend to spread their dander further and in higher doses. They may not necessarily produce more dander, but it travels wherever they go via their shedding fur.
Low-shedding dogs don’t release as much fur as other dogs, so their dander doesn’t travel as far and tends to be less concentrated in particular areas. However, they still produce dander, which still flakes off of their bodies.
You can help reduce the number of allergens in the air by practicing proper grooming habits, such as bathing and brushing your dog. Still, since allergens are also found in saliva and urine, it’s impossible to get rid of them altogether.
Are Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, Chihuahuas are not hypoallergenic dogs. To be clear, we’ve already reported that no dog breed in the world is truly hypoallergenic. That being said, there is a list of dog breeds with this label that may be less likely to cause an allergic reaction than others.
Chihuahuas do not make this list.
If you have pet allergies and a Chihuahua is your dream dog, don’t give up hope just yet. For starters, some people with pet allergies are specifically allergic to pet dander. If that’s the case for you, good news; dander is something that you can – kind of – control.
With a low-shedding breed like a Chihuahua and proper grooming, you may be able to live with one depending on the severity of your allergies. However, it’s always best to check with a doctor before committing to a new pet.
Chihuahuas may not be hypoallergenic, but individuals with pet allergies can often still enjoy them as pets by learning how to control their dander.
Controlling Chihuahua’s Dander
If you have your heart set on owning a tiny and adorable Chihuahua, here are some tips you can follow to control as much dander as possible and keep your allergies at bay.
Keep Up With Grooming
Some dogs are low maintenance, while others are high; either way, every dog needs a consistent grooming schedule.
Luckily, Chihuahuas are low-shedding dogs, and many breed varieties have short hair. To keep dander at a minimum, be sure to bathe and brush your Chihuahua at least once per week. This will help get rid of loose fur and dead skin cells.
It’s not enough to keep your dog clean. If you have pet allergies, you also need to keep your home clean. No matter how much grooming you do, your dog will still leave fur and dander around your home.
Maintain a weekly cleaning schedule that includes dusting, vacuuming, and mopping. In addition, be sure to wash your sheets and vacuum plush furniture surfaces consistently.
Use an Air Purifier
You may be able to control dander and fur on the surfaces of your home, but what about the particles that float in the air?
A pet owner with pet allergies simply must own an air purifier. Air purifiers cycle and filter the air in your home, removing harmful allergens, dust, and other particles for clean, healthy air.
Having an air purifier in your home can minimize the number of pet allergens you breathe in regularly.
We understand if you can’t live your life without a pet dog. After all, dogs are man’s best friend. If your allergies are too much to manage, you can always try taking an allergy medication designed to control pet allergies.
The best way to navigate this route is by speaking directly to your doctor. They will be able to recommend the best options for daily use.
About the Breed
Chihuahuas are very recognizable dogs, known for their small stature, pointed ears, and outstanding personalities. While many Chihuahua variations have short, smooth coats, others have long coats.
However, coat type and length are not always an indication of allergen levels. Chihuahuas are fairly low-shedding breeds. This may be excellent news for Chihuahua owners, but it doesn’t minimize their impact on those with pet allergies.
Occasional brushing and bathing are recommended for short-haired Chihuahuas, while long-haired varieties will require more frequent brushing to avoid knots and mats in the fur. Regular grooming can help lower the amount of fur and dander in your home, which can contribute to allergic reactions.
Chihuahuas: Not Hypoallergenic
Sadly, Chihuahuas are not considered hypoallergenic dogs. But, they do have a few things going for them still.
The Chihuahua is a low-shedding breed. While they don’t produce any less dander than other breeds, they may not shed as much as other dogs. That makes it easier to control the spread of their dander.
Chihuahuas are also very small. They’re easy to groom, and their small size keeps dander management easier than with a large, high-shedding pup.
As long as you can commit to a strict grooming and cleaning schedule and perhaps a new medication, a Chihuahua can still make an excellent pet for someone who suffers from pet allergies.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.