The answer to this question could be subjective since it can depend largely on how sensitive are the humans who come in contact with the animal. However, having said that, it cannot be denied that in the pecking order, the Shih Tzu breed appears to be a much safer dog from the allergy perspective. If the pet owners take the right precautions, they can make sure Shih Tzu are hypoallergenic. Before you understand what these steps are, it is important to know the background and place the issue in perspective.
Allergy Caused by Pets – Common to Most Breeds of Dogs
Scientific studies have indicated that humans can contract allergies from pets like dogs, primarily from three sources, their dander, urine and saliva. These three are common for any breed of dog. The other important element in this equation is the human being already having an allergy or is highly sensitive to allergy-causing things. By this reckoning, if the pet owner keeps the household clean and does not come into direct contact with any of the three sources of allergy, he can stay safe. And this can apply to any breed of dog, not just Shih Tzu.
What Sets Shih Tzu Apart from the Other Breeds?
This brings up the next question on why we must single out Shih Tzu as a hypoallergenic dog in preference over the others. There are a few reasons for this. When you have dogs around your house, you can identify if they have urinated where they shouldn’t. Similarly, you can stay away from their saliva. Dander is something that dogs shed and cannot be easily located. By the nature of hair that Shih Tzu dogs possess, they don’t generate much dander and if you take adequate care of the pet, you can succeed in not having any dander at all. This is a major reason why Shih Tzu are rated as hypoallergenic.
Steps to Take Care of Shih Tzu
If you already have a Shih Tzu or plan to bring in one as your pet dog, there are a few actions you can take towards ensuring no allergic reactions occur:
- Bath the Shih Tzu as often as you can. The reason for this is not far to seek. Dander is more akin to dandruff and is caused by the dog’s skin going dry. Keeping the skin of the Shih Tzu hydrated is very important. More importantly, use a good dog shampoo that has a moisturizing effect. There are conditioners available in the market which can be used along with the shampoo. These will help in keeping the dog’s skin from going dry and generating dander that keeps falling. You should try and choose a shampoo that has very little added fragrance. This is because there is the risk of the shampoo’s perfume irritating the dog’s skin. This will increase the chances of dander.
- Brush the Shih Tzu Daily: You may find this advice a little odd since you may be an admirer of the beautiful hair that this breed of dogs possesses. However, from the point of view of allergy-causing dander, you will have to keep its hair short. You can take the help of a groomer to style your pet’s hair to enable you to brush the dog daily. By doing this daily brushing, you are preventing any dander from falling on the carpet or furniture. Alternatively, you can keep the Shih Tzu’s hair long and brush it daily. This can result in any dander in the undercoat stay within the hair and not fall out.
- Clean Up the Place: You should turn yourself into a cleanliness freak, not exactly to the extent of OCD, but giving it a lot of attention. These include washing the sheets on which the pet sleeps. You can clean the other soft areas like the sofa that the Shih Tzu frequents and so on. You may vacuum the house more frequently than you would normally do. All these steps are meant to minimize dander around your living area and not contracting an allergy.
- Keep the Person with Allergy Away: Is there a person within your household who is susceptible to allergic reactions? You can keep your Shih Tzu away from him/her. Dogs can be trained to behave and if they understand that they are unwelcomed into a room, they will not go there.
- You Can Check it Out Before Buying: Try and spend some time with the Shih Tzu you have selected to buy from a breeder or a shelter. This is a normal practice. The potential buyer of a dog is allowed to spend considerable time with the pet. Some allow you to take home even for a week to know if the dog settles down in the environment your home provides.
Other Logical Reasons Why Shih Tzu Can be Hypoallergenic
Those with a strong conviction that the Shih Tzu breed of dogs is indeed hypoallergenic have some of their logical reasoning to offer. These are
- Shih Tzu have hair and not a fur coat on their body; this leads to reduced shedding of dander
- In terms of their average size, Shih Tzu dogs are comparatively smaller; less surface for dander to generate and fall
- There is sufficient evidence to suggest that the Shih Tzu breed of dogs shed far less than most other breeds
- If trained as a puppy, bathing and brushing of Shih Tzu will not pose any problems. The pet will comply and not resist
Obtain Expert Advice
If you are still in doubt about the hypoallergenic nature of Shih Tzu, you can consult with your vet. Vets can possibly add to the points above and suggest better ways to stay safe from any allergy-causing actions. You can join forums where owners of the pet share their personal experiences with Shih Tzu. You can post your doubts or questions seeking answers. These are first-hand owners of Shih Tzu and love the breed. They will provide you with the right guidance.
Good Grooming and Training the Best Ways
Some suggestions may apply to any pet you have at home. You must have time at your disposal to take care of your pet. If you grow a Shih Tzu, the same principles apply. You should not miss the steps like the grooming part. Bathing the dog, making sure the right shampoo and conditioner are used, brushing its hair, and the general upkeep should be done promptly. You have to keep your house very clean to avoid any type of allergic reaction due to the dog being around.
Train the Shih Tzu to obey your instructions. That way, many problems can be averted.
Ultimately, the person with an allergy has to be alert to the risks involved.