Yes, you can be allergic to a Poodle. It is less likely than some other breeds of dog, but it really does depend on the severity of your allergies. Steps can be taken to minimize symptoms but ultimately if a Poodle triggers your allergies, it may mean that you are not compatible with the breed.
Have you noticed, during springtime, the weather channel reporting a pollen count in your area? This is for our benefit as some people have an allergy to pollen in the environment, known as hay fever.
An allergy is a reaction produced by the body’s immune system when exposed to a substance. This substance is referred to as the allergen, for example, nuts or latex. And unfortunately for some of us, that includes being allergic to our furry friends, both canine and feline.
Antibodies are then produced by the immune system in response to this allergen.
Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, blocked nose, skin rash, hives, and itchy red or watery eyes.
Symptoms vary from mild to severe, depending on the type of allergen and how one is exposed to it.
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Coat Traits of the Poodle
A typical Poodle has a thick, dense, tightly curled coat. The texture can be coarse, woolly soft, or wavy.
Why are Poodles Considered Hypoallergenic?
The prefix hypo means under. So, the term hypoallergenic means not likely to provoke an allergic reaction.
Some people, however, claim that certain breeds won’t bring on the clinical signs associated with pet allergies. This is simply not true. There is no such thing as a truly non-allergic breed.
Poodles, along with other breeds, are classed as hypoallergenic. What this classification means is that these dogs shed less fur into the environment than their counterparts.
But be aware that Poodles do shed their hair, it’s just that the majority of the fur gets trapped in their curls rather than on clothing or furniture.
Hence the thought that Poodles are more suitable for allergy sufferers.
Can a Poodle Cause Other Allergies?
Pet hair is not the allergen here. Bur rather proteins that stick to the dog’s dead, dried flakes (dander) of the dog’s skin.
These proteins are also found in the dog’s saliva and urine.
The dander is the main offender as it is easily spreadable when the dog sheds its hair or grooms itself.
The dander then sticks to almost anything for example furniture, clothes, carpets, bedding, walls, and other surfaces.
Both dander and dried saliva can become air-borne and last for long periods of time in the environment. Persisting in house dust for up to 6 months to be exact!
Can a Person Suffering from any Dog-Related Allergies Consider a Poodle?
Poodles, due to their short coat and reduced shedding, are an ideal breed for owners wanting less of a mess around the house.
For those with pet allergies, however, it’s not 100% guaranteed that you won’t still develop those clinical signs.
Take a look at this 2017 UK survey conducted by a pet insurance company for instance.
Out of 2,000 pet owner participants, 13% reported that they experience the classic clinical signs associated with a pet allergy.
Within this group, one in five owners bought an alleged “hypoallergenic” breed to help lessen their signs.
…..”a staggering 40% reported to be still suffering with adverse symptoms”
Are There Steps that can be Taken to Prevent Reactions or Minimise Symptoms?
Unfortunately, there are no measures that can completely prevent an allergic reaction from occurring.
The simple answer to the first part of this question would be to not get a dog in the first place.
As harsh as this sounds, it’s the truth. The other option would be to avoid all exposure to the animal where possible. However, this seems a bit unfair to both you and your canine friend. After all, the reason we get pets in the first place is for companionship.
But there is Hope
You may be surprised to learn that there are in fact many veterinary professionals out there who are allergic to animals. Because these guys cannot prevent a reaction as their job requires full-on exposure to these animals, they take precautions to minimize symptoms.
Discuss with your GP or health care professional about your clinical signs. Together you can formulate a plan to help control your symptoms.
The health care professional may recommend:
- Anti-histamine tablets or nasal spray
- Eye drops
- Allergen barrier balm
Try to bear in mind that some treatments may fail. Unfortunately, it’s a case of trial and error and this can take time.
You won’t be curing the problem with this medication but instead masking the symptoms. This in turn should help you feel more comfortable if you have mild allergies.
For those suffering from moderate to severe pet-induced allergies, your doctor may suggest allergy injections.
This works by gradually desensitizing a person’s immune system to pet allergens.
It’s claimed that symptoms will be cleared within a couple of months.
There are several home methods you could try in an attempt to reduce the spread of the allergen and with it, allergy flare-ups:
The Poodle is not classed as low maintenance dog when it comes to grooming. Due to their unique coat, they require regular grooming to prevent mats from forming, in particular areas such as behind their ears, armpits, and groins.
Asking a kind person to brush your Poodle outside on a regular basis will help to get rid of any dander.
According to an American article on animal allergies, bathing dogs at least twice per week reduces allergens and can eliminate reactions.
Create an “allergy-free zone” in your home to keep certain areas off-limits to your dog. This will help to slightly reduce the spread of dander in areas where you spend most of your time.
Damp dust as often as possible to keep dander to a minimum. Regularly clean carpets using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
Wash the dog’s bedding or any other bedding he has access to on a hot wash cycle. It is recommended that any urine-stained bedding be thrown away.
A good-quality air purifier with a HEPA filter can help to filter out any allergens in the air.
How Will I Know if a Poodle will Trigger my Allergies?
Ask yourself the following question:
“Do I have a flare-up of clinical signs I associate with an allergic reaction when I am with my pet?”
If the answer (and be honest) is yes, it is most likely that your pet is the culprit (protein allergen) you are sensitive to.
But to be completely sure that it is your Poodle’s dander and not an allergen being carried on your dog’s coat, for example, pollen or dust, seek medical advice.
In order to get a clear diagnosis of what allergen you are sensitive to you would need to see a specialist at an allergic clinic for allergy testing.
This would involve either of the following tests:
Skin Prick Testing
Also known as scratch testing, is the most common form of allergy testing.
A drop of a dilution of the suspected allergy-causing substance is placed on the forearm. The droplets are then popped with a sterile lancet and the skin underneath is scratched.
Should an allergic reaction take place, a localized red swelling or “weal” will appear within 15 minutes.
This may be performed alongside skin prick testing.
A blood sample is taken and analyzed for specific antibodies.
Some people with mild allergies report that over time, encounters with their own dog have improved. In this case, they may have built up a ‘tolerance’ towards their dog. Although, they may still react to other people’s animals.
As tempting as it may be to get a pet if you have a known pet allergy, I would explore your options. Be sensible and take into account your needs as well as the animals.
Following an exposure, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms listed below:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the throat
- Feeling dizzy or faint