If you are allergic to dogs but still want a pup, then getting a hypoallergenic dog could be a good way to solve this issue.
"While there are no completely hypoallergenic dogs, breeds with non-shedding coats that produce less dander are less likely to trigger allergic reactions," says Caroline Cochran, veterinary technician and writer at Dog Food Heaven. "These breeds are generally either hairless or have a unique coat texture, like Poodles."
Along with Poodles, other hypoallergenic breeds include the Chinese Crested, Bichon Frise, Havanese, Maltese, Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzer, Shih Tzu, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, and Yorkshire Terrier.
While these dogs are certainly cute, they have their own unique needs when it comes to grooming. Here are some products you can purchase when grooming your hypoallergenic dog at home to ensure his skin and coat are as healthy as possible.
The first product you'll need is a slicker brush. Rachel Cassidy, veterinarian consultant at Animalso.com, recommends a traditional slicker brush like Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush and the electrical PETRIP Dog Hair Dryer Pet Dryer Professional Grooming Blower Dog Slicker Brush.
"For breeds such as the Shih Tzu and Maltese, their hair grows around half an inch every month, giving plenty of opportunities for mats and tangles to develop," she says. "The best grooming brush for such breeds is a slicker brush, whether traditional or electrical, that can remove dead hair and comb out tangles. The same thing is true for curly-haired hypoallergenic breeds such as Poodles. You will also need to clip their fur to keep them clean and presentable."
Another type of brush you'll need to invest in is a detangling brush.
"Poodles and other breeds with textured coats need to be brushed multiple times per week to prevent their curly fur from forming mats," says Cochran. "Since these dogs don't shed, the best brushes for them are detangling brushes."
Again, Cochran recommends Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush to help with detangling as well. This brush works on dogs of all sizes and hair types, penetrates deep into the coat without scratching your dog's skin, and will leave the coat shiny and soft.
You'll also need to use clippers if you have a Poodle or another hypoallergenic breed with a textured coat, according to Cochran. She says that the Wahl Clipper Pet-Pro Dog Grooming Kit is a good choice for poodles and other hypoallergenic dog breeds with textured coats.
"Many poodle owners like to keep their dogs' coats clipped, but other clippers often lack the power necessary to tackle their unique fur," says Cochran. "This clipper model features a power drive motor, snag-free blades, and a significantly lower price tag than other heavy-duty options."
Unfortunately, hypoallergenic breeds are more prone to developing skin issues, according to Cassidy, which is why you should choose a natural shampoo. "Make sure you always use a gentle shampoo and dry them thoroughly," she says. "Damp areas on the skin can lead to fungal infections."
When shopping for a shampoo, it's best to look for natural ingredients like oatmeal. She recommends Wahl Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs, which is made with oatmeal and smells like coconut lime verbena, and Burt's Bees Natural Shampoo for Dogs, which consists of colloidal oat flour and honey. Pup N Friends agrees that Burt's Bees is great for dogs, saying, "Burt's Bees dog shampoo is ranked as one of the best shampoos you can use in case your dog has dry skin."
"Stay away from heavily fragranced shampoos that are filled with parabens, which may aggravate the skin," says Cassidy. "In serious cases, parabens can cause hormonal changes."
If you find that the shampoo is too strong and causing skin problems, then you could try diluting it so it's not too strong. Cassidy says she finds "a 50/50 ratio works well, but if your formula is extremely thick, you can dilute it further."
Cochran also says that natural shampoos are better for hypoallergenic pups, and recommends using Pro Pet Works All Natural Organic 5 in One Oatmeal Pet Shampoo + Conditioner. "Harsh shampoos can easily dry out their skin, so I prefer using oatmeal shampoos that include oils to keep their skin moisturized.
If your hypoallergenic dog has gotten a fungal or bacterial infection, then using an anti-fungal shampoo could keep him healthy. "Anti-fungal shampoos can help prevent these adverse reactions," says Cochran. "Just make sure they also include hydrating ingredients to limit dryness."
She recommends Veterinary Formula Clinical Care, which is made from Colloidal Oatmeal and allantoin and is free from dyes, parabens, and soap.
If you have a hairless hypoallergenic dog, then you're going to need sunscreen.
"A lack of protective hair makes these breeds susceptible to painful sunburns," says Cochran. "While some owners may use human sunscreen on their pups, I recommend Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray for Pets because it is developed by veterinarians to be safe for canine use."
Canine Journal says, "Epi-Pet's 30 SPF sunscreen spray is an excellent choice because it's safe for dogs (and horses). The aerosol spray is so easy to apply anywhere on your dog's body. It's also the only pet sunscreen that's FDA-approved."
With these grooming products, you'll be able to keep your hypoallergenic dog safe and happy, ensuring he has a beautiful coat and hydrated, healthy skin at the same time.