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Everything You Need to Know About Samoyeds and Allergies
When people say ‘allergy-friendly dogs’, the thought of Schnauzers and Poodles springs to mind. But they are just two among a whole host of hypoallergenic dog breeds. One of the hypoallergenic dog breeds is the Samoyed.
But wait… doesn’t the Samoyed shed its fur? Yes, it does, Samoyeds shed heavily during some seasons. Then how can you consider a Samoyed hypoallergenic? In this article, we will cover all the aspects that make Samoyeds the hypoallergenic dogs of choice.
Is my Samoyed hypoallergenic?
Yes, Samoyeds are an ancient canine breed that falls into the category of big hypoallergenic dogs. Famous with their fluffy coat and heart-warming smile, Samoyeds are extremely friendly and naturally show a caring attitude towards children.
Being among dog breeds with hypoallergenic fur, it is not surprising why many experts consider them an ideal dog for kids with allergy.
Are Samoyeds Good For Allergies?
Yes! The Samoyed is a gentle, friendly dog that is bereft of any doggy odor. They also produce less dander and drool than other breeds. That is why veterinarians consider them a hypoallergenic dog breed.
It is the dander and not fur that triggers allergic reactions in people with preexisting pet allergy conditions. While fur may indirectly contribute to respiratory complications, that is not the same as what one would experience due to an allergic reaction.
So, that explains why Samoyed is good for people with allergies. However, Samoyeds are not entirely allergy-free. Since people use the two terms interchangeably, it tends to create a lot of confusion among prospective dog owners.
What Does Hypoallergenic Dogs Mean?
The term “hypoallergenic dogs” refers to those canines who have a lower likelihood of causing an allergic reaction in a susceptible group of people. So does that mean hypoallergenic dog breeds are supposed to be allergy-free? No, all dogs produce allergy-inducing compounds. The English language has borrowed the prefix “hypo” from Greek, to signify something that is “less than sufficient”.
So, are Samoyed dogs hypoallergenic? Although they are hypoallergenic dogs, Samoyeds would still produce allergens. They do so in severely reduced quantities, so they are considered to be allergy-friendly.
In practice, however, if you or someone in your family has an animal allergy, then certain dogs can trigger a reaction. So, if you have a history of being allergic to dogs, it is always recommended to spend some time with the dog that you wish to buy or take it home, wherein you can gauge if they trigger your allergic reaction or not.
The Features of Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Some hypoallergenic dog breeds are Samoyeds, Bichons, Poodles, Yorkies, Shih Tzus, Scotties, and Schnauzers. The features that make them a preferred choice as dogs for people with allergy are explained below.
If no dog can be truly considered as allergy-free, then what does it mean when experts write about some ideal dogs with hypoallergenic fur? What they are really alluding to is the attributes of that particular breed that make the dog allergy-friendly.
Canines exhibit certain biochemical features that evoke an allergic reaction in some people. These features vary for different species of animals. Many people assume this feature to be their fur, but in fact, it is the following:
Dander: It is the dander and not furriness that triggers a reaction in some folks. So, what is dander? It is the dead skin cells that Samoyeds lose throughout the day, which then disintegrates into microscopic skin flakes and spread all around the house. Be it your bed, the couch, or the floor, the dander can be found just about anywhere your Samoyed has been hanging out, including the air you breathe.
KNF-1: Among the numerous protein chains that a dog’s body produces, KNF-1 is one of them. It is present in a dog’s saliva, urine, mucous, hair roots, furs, and of course, dander. If being around a dog gives you an allergy attack, KNF-1 protein is to be blamed for your condition.
Based on the above information, hypoallergenic dogs have the following features:
- The dander formation in Samoyeds and Poodles, would not be as pronounced when compared to other breeds like Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.
- These canines generate KNF-1 protein chains in low quantities. They, therefore, are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
- The drooling is not excessive as in other dog breeds.
Although hypoallergenic dog breeds like Samoyeds, still produce allergens, they do so in bearable proportions. There are cases when people with preexisting pet allergy conditions adapted to living around hypoallergenic dogs. Their immune system developed a tolerance for the low concentration of allergens and stopped any allergy attacks.
Why People With Allergies Should Choose Samoyeds
People with allergies should choose hypoallergenic dogs like the Samoyeds because they do not have that particular doggy odor, that is more pronounced in some breeds soon after their fur gets wet.
In addition, here are three other reasons why a Sammy is a right choice for allergy sufferers who want a large hypoallergenic dog:
- Dander, which happens to the be the real culprit behind the stuffy nose, skin rashes, and teary eyes seen in people, is produced in very low quantities by Samoyeds. Moreover, their thick double coat tends to trap most of the dander inside.
- Samoyeds produce a negligible amount of the KNF-1 protein chains. So, even if you do have some preexisting allergy, spending enough time with a Samoyed would prompt your immune system to curb its allergic response.
- A unique facial feature of Samoyeds in the upturned corners of their mouth gives them that famous ‘Sammy Smile’. But more importantly, it reduces saliva depositing around their mouth, which in turn prevents the formation of icicles around in extremely cold conditions. Thus, these hypoallergenic big dogs are known for drooling the least, which is quite advantageous from an allergy standpoint.
Combining the above traits with the Samoyed’s friendly, playful nature, there is no wonder that many consider it the ideal dog for kids with allergy. So long as you keep a Sammy well-groomed, you can enjoy the dog’s hypoallergenic attributes to the fullest.
Can You Be Allergic to Hypoallergenic Dogs?
Yes, you can. In some very rare cases, it can be severe to the point that the allergies make it impossible to coexist with any dog breed in the same house. The reason might be that the immune system is so sensitive to the allergens produced by a pet that even being in the same room with a dog can make their eyes water and their skin break out in hives.
However, for most people prone to have an allergy, the chances of getting an allergy reaction are close to zero if they choose a hypoallergenic dog breed like Samoyeds.
Whether it’s a big hypoallergenic dog or a small one, the whole family must spend some time with them before making ownership commitments. And if someone in your family has any preexisting allergies, this step becomes crucial as it helps understand if the pet might trigger an allergic reaction.
Samoyed and Allergy
Are Samoyed dogs hypoallergenic? Yes, Samoyeds are hypoallergenic and are a good dog for people with allergy history. Nonetheless, there is always some risk in bringing a dog into the house when you or your family members suffer from allergies.
Therefore, it is paramount to approach the problem with caution. Instead of making an intuitive purchase decision and rushing to buy the first pup on sale, find some time to do your research on the Samoyed.
Intuitive purchases without weighing one’s options are one of the main reasons why so many Samoyeds end up in the shelters and rescues. Instead, a better strategy would be to spend some time with a Samoyed before you actually get one.
One way would be through breed-specific dog rescues. They can connect you with local contacts in search of temporary foster homes for Samoyeds. It will give you a better idea of your tolerance to the breed. If you and your dog get along well, you can always adopt him or her; a win-win for all parties involved.
Another option would be to contact breeders and owners, join online forums and groups or attend local events showcasing Samoyeds. Apart from getting to spend some quality time with so many canines all at once, it can be a definitive way to gauge your allergic response to these big hypoallergenic dogs.
Ways to Reduce the Risk of An Allergic Reaction
If you or one of your family members is prone to allergy, but you are still intent on adopting or buying a Sammy then the following tips should help you reduce the risk of allergy attacks.
Keep the place sanitized: While large hypoallergenic dogs like Samoyeds produce less of the allergy-causing KNF-1 protein compared to other dogs, this is one area where proactive action is encouraged. For instance, any object that comes in contact with the dog’s spit must be cleaned regularly. It includes pillows, cushions, bed-sheets, toys, etc. If the protein makes you symptomatic, then ensure that you are wearing gloves when you gather these items for cleaning. It will help in curbing any instance of an allergy attack.
Develop a medication schedule: Taking allergy medications become even more important when you have a dog. If you could skip your medicines earlier, that should change. Also, if you have been taking over-the-counter medicines for allergy relief, then we strongly recommend that you set up an appointment with an allergist to discuss a treatment plan and get your allergy-related questions answered.
Install a HEPA filter: High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are specifically designed to capture minuscule pollutants with 99.99% efficiency. Pet dander generally range from 2.5 to 10 microns in size, but in some cases, they can be even smaller. So make sure to get a HEPA filter (preferably one that captures particles up to 0.5 micron) installed before getting a Sammy home.
Invest in a good vacuum cleaner: Regardless of the brand, pick a vacuum cleaner that can efficiently suck up pet hair. It would be even better if the cleaner comes with a pet grooming tool, as that would make cleaning dogs with hypoallergenic fur like Samoyed’s, less of a chore.
Feed your dog right: One aspect directly responsible for making your Samoyed hypoallergenic is the nutritional quality of its food. For instance, lack of fatty acids and especially omega-3 in the diet does lead to excessive Samoyed shedding, which triggers dander, and thus more allergens floating about.
Brush Your Sammy Regularly: Samoyeds always shed hair, the only question is how much (or how little) they shed. In the case of large hypoallergenic dog breeds like the Samoyed that have a thick coat, expect a good deal of fur. And if you are not prepared to brush them often, you probably shouldn’t be looking at them in the first place. Conversely, if you brush your Sammy every day and promptly dispose of the shed fur, you can end up with a dog safe for kids and adults with allergies.
Allergies That a Samoyed Might Have
So now you know enough about the aspects that make a Samoyed hypoallergenic dog, but have you wondered about allergies that these dogs might have? Yes, they can be allergic to some things too. Samoyed allergies are uncommon, but they might happen. Based on the severity of the reaction, a Samoyed may exhibit allergy symptoms such as:
- Excessive sneezing
- Itchy skin and/or paws
- Hot spots
- Oily, scaly and/or pigmented skin
- Vomiting accompanied by diarrhea
- Red eyes
Proteins are a pretty common allergen among Samoyeds, which is why veterinarians advise blending in the animal protein to the dog food. Dairy products are another food that your Sammie’s digestive system may not tolerate.
Similarly, shampoos for humans and detergents cause a terrible reaction in a Samoyed. These products contain chemicals that do not sit well with dogs’ sensitive skin. That’s why you should always use a high-quality dog shampoo for bathing your Sammy.
Q: What is the best hypoallergenic dog shampoo?
A: A rule of thumb while choosing hypoallergenic dog shampoo is to pick one with the fewest allergy-causing ingredients. With regards to Samoyeds, this means no perfumes, fragrance or dyes, and no sulfates (including alkyl sodium sulfate, variants of lauryl sulfate and triethanolamine). If you decide to go preservative-free, then DO NOT use the product past its expiration date.
Q: Can I buy a Samoyed if I have asthma?
A: ACAAI (American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology) listed the Samoyed breed as one of four hypoallergenic dog breeds. If your asthma symptoms are not triggered by dog fur (hint: spend some time with a Samoyed), you can go ahead with your pup purchase. In case, you do see some asthmatic reaction, then consult your immunologist about getting the appropriate allergy shot (immunotherapy). Additionally, steps like installing a good HEPA filter can further decrease the chances of getting an asthmatic attack.
Q: What food should hypoallergenic dogs eat?
A: Ideally, you should try to feed your Sammy homemade food, but first consult with your veterinarian and top-notch breeders in your location. Typically, diets based on chicken, lamb, omega-3 food, and rice have the least probability of producing allergies in Samoyeds. However, if you cannot invest that much time, anotherl approach would be to buy any premium-grade, commercial dog food with an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) testing certification. Never add any supplements to dog food without consulting your veterinarian.