If you suffer from allergies, you are likely hoping to find the right companion for your home that won’t cause you to have bad reactions. If you’ve fallen for the Vizsla, you may know that they have short, sleek coats and might be wondering if they are a safe breed to bring into your home.
Vizslas are definitely not hypoallergenic dogs, though they don’t shed quite as badly as many other breeds. Here, we discuss how dog allergies work and how you can potentially make your home more livable with a Vizsla.
What Makes People Allergic to Dogs?
Dog allergies are triggered by a protein that dogs secrete, which is found in their dander, saliva, and urine. Dander is the worst culprit because it’s quite tiny and light and attaches to the dog’s hair. When the hair sheds, it floats around your home and lands on many surfaces. From there, it enters your lungs and eyes.
A key factor in what causes allergies is how much a dog sheds. This is why it’s a common belief that people are allergic to dog hair. They’re actually allergic to the dander hitching a ride on the hair. It remains true, though, that the more a dog sheds, the worse a person’s allergies will be.
What Makes a Dog Hypoallergenic?
There is no such thing as a purely hypoallergenic dog. All dogs have dander, and all dogs shed—it’s just that some dogs shed less than others. So, hypoallergenic dogs are basically dogs that don’t shed that often.
Why Isn’t the Vizsla Hypoallergenic?
Vizslas don’t shed as much as most other breeds, but they do shed more than traditional “hypoallergenic” dogs. They are also not small dogs, which means more dander-laden hair, and finally, during the spring and the fall, they shed more than usual.
In the spring, most dogs shed their heavy winter coats in favor of lighter coats for summer, and in the fall, the summer coats shed to make room for the heavy winter coats.
This means that while Vizslas don’t shed too much in general, they will shed quite a bit during the shedding seasons.
Are Female Dogs the Better Choice?
Some allergy sufferers are only allergic to male dogs. Experts have discovered that 40% of allergy sufferers are allergic to the prostate protein, which is only found in male dogs.
This means some people who have allergies to dogs are only allergic to male dogs and can live comfortably with a female dog. It requires a specific blood test to determine if you’re only allergic to males, though, so speak to your doctor.
How to Live With a Vizsla
There are a few steps that you can take to make living with a Vizsla quite possible, but be prepared for a great deal of cleaning!
However, if you or someone in your family has severe allergies, you’re better off considering a hypoallergenic breed.
Vizslas need a bath about once every 2 or 3 months or whenever the need arises (like when they roll in something). You’ll want to use a good moisturizing dog shampoo, so aim for shampoos with things like aloe vera and oatmeal.
You can bathe your dog more frequently but still not more than once a month. Too many baths will dry out their skin and can cause more dander.
Vizslas have short coats and don’t need much brushing, but you should use a soft bristle or rubber brush several times a week. During the shedding seasons, you’ll want to brush them daily to keep up with the shedding. You can also use a damp cloth to run over their coat, which can quite effectively remove loose hair.
The more loose hair you remove from your dog, the less will cover your home. Ask a family member to do the brushing, or consider wearing a mask if no one can help. Lastly, only brush your Vizsla in an enclosed room or outside.
You should make your bedroom off-limits to your dog, which will help you have more restful sleep without your allergies waking you up. You should also keep your Vizsla off the furniture unless they have their own special chair that you don’t use.
Remember, keeping them out of the bedroom means you must never allow them to enter the room, and you’ll want to ensure that everyone in the family is aware of this rule.
HEPA Air Filters
HEPA air filters are extremely effective at removing many particles, including dander, from the air (as much as 99.7%). You’ll likely need to invest in several air purifiers so you can place them in key areas around your home.
You’ll need to invest in a HEPA vacuum cleaner and try to find one manufactured specifically for pet owners. You should vacuum several times a week or as often as possible. Be sure to vacuum every nook and cranny, and use the attachments to vacuum things like the curtains and furniture. You must also use a damp cloth to dust surfaces, including the walls.
Feeding your dog high-quality food that contains omega fatty acids can help keep their coats healthy, which helps with shedding. You’re essentially keeping your dog moisturized from the inside out!
If you suspect that your Vizsla might have skin problems, speak to your vet. They can ensure that your dog is in good health or get them on a special diet to help with any conditions. Also, ask them about adding supplements to your dog’s food.
If you haven’t already, seek help from an allergy specialist. They can test you for other allergies, and you might even discover that you’re not allergic to dogs but something else in your environment.
You can also try allergy shots, which can temporarily reduce your allergy symptoms. There are the usual antihistamines and nasal sprays too.
What Breeds Are Hypoallergenic?
If you’ve decided that owning a Vizsla might be too much work, there are several breeds considered to be hypoallergenic. People can still have an allergic reaction around these dogs, but it might be more bearable:
What Are the Signs That You’re Allergic to Dogs?
There are several symptoms and signs of pet allergies, including:
How Common Are Allergies to Pets?
It’s been estimated that approximately 30% to 40% of the world’s population have allergies and that 15% to 30% of those individuals are allergic to cats and dogs. Cat allergies tend to be twice as common as dog allergies.
Living with a dog as an allergy sufferer is not easy, so it might not be in the cards for you, particularly if your allergies are severe or life threatening.
But if your allergies are more on the mild side and you’ve decided that you’re willing to put up with extra cleaning and not being able to snuggle your dog as much as you’d like, the Vizsla will be an excellent companion and worth the effort!
Featured Image Credit: photohun, Pixabay