Because a Shih Tzu has hair, rather than fur, it is often considered hypoallergenic. This means some people who are allergic to most dogs may or may not have a reaction to them. But because no dog is non-allergenic, you need to know for sure if a Shih Tzu is for someone with allergies. But you really want one, despite the possible risks. Why not find out if you are allergic to this particular breed?
How to check if you’re allergic to a Shih Tzu
Spend time with them. Most people allergic to dogs will know within minutes or even seconds if they will have a reaction. Even when the dog is out of sight, the very fact that there is fur all over the place will trigger allergies. That should tell you as much.
You need to make sure, however, that it is a Shih Tzu that’s causing a reaction and not another pet, animal or breed. So visit a breeder that only breeds a Shih Tzu and nothing else. There should not be other pets in the area as well. This will make it easy to pinpoint the cause of your allergy, if you ever have one.
How to minimize the risk of a reaction
So you’re not allergic to a Shih Tzu. Congratulations! You won’t regret having a cute, adorable and mild-mannered pet. Given your history of allergies, however, you should make sure to keep reactions at bay.
Keep their hair short
It’s a shame that your Shih Tzu can’t sport a long, flowing coat, but keeping it clipped as short as possible will be beneficial for your health, and eliminates the probability of you giving up your dog. Although a shorter coat doesn’t mean less dander, it’ll be easier to keep your dog clean, well-groomed and less bothersome to someone with allergies. So make sure you clip your dog’s coat regularly.
Bathe and clean them often
The goal is to keep your Shih Tzu so clean, they won’t be a cause for allergies. So bathe them weekly or 3 times a month, and follow the best practices in doing so.
- Someone not allergic to dogs should perform the task, so you don’t end up covered or inhaling hair in the process.
- Take your Shih Tzu to a groomer, if DIY won’t help with your allergies or when no one else can do the task for you.
- Use a good quality shampoo with moisturizing ingredients to keep their coat from becoming dull and dry.
- Dilute a cream rinse/conditioner and leave on the coat to help hold down the dander. A good alternative is an unscented fabric softener, with 1 to 2 capfuls diluted in a quart of water.
- Blow dry your Shih Tzu outside of the house to minimize dander indoors.
Keep your Shih Tzu out of your bedroom
The less dander you have in your bedroom, the less likely for you to have a reaction.
Keep dander to a minimum
Remove carpet in areas where your dog frequents.
Use washable beddings for your Shih Tzu.
Vacuum rugs and bare floors frequently.
Keep all these in mind, and you should be able to keep your Shih Tzu without allergic reactions.