If you are a dog lover who suffers from allergies, you might be wondering if Jack Russell terriers are hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic dogs are those that produce less allergens than others, making them more suitable for people with allergies or asthma.
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Allergens are substances that cause allergic reactions, such as sneezing, itching, coughing or wheezing. They can be found in a dog’s saliva, dander, and urine.
One of the breeds that you might be interested in is the Jack Russell Terrier. These are small, energetic, and lively dogs that are great for active families. They have a distinctive appearance and personality that make them stand out from other dogs.
But are Jack Russell Terriers hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Jack Russell Terriers are not hypoallergenic according to the American Kennel Club. They shed a moderate amount of hair and have higher dander levels that can cause allergic reactions in some people. The protein in their saliva and urine can also contribute to allergies.
In this article, we will explain what makes a dog hypoallergenic, why Jack Russell Terriers are not hypoallergenic, and how to manage allergies with a Jack Russell Terrier.
What Makes a Dog Hypoallergenic?
There is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog breed. All dogs have saliva and shed dead skin cells, which is known as dander. These are two of the most significant sources of allergens for people with dog allergies. However, some dogs shed less dander than others, which can make them more suitable for people with mild to moderate allergies.
Malcolm Weir, DVM, from VCA Hospitals says that, “Even though there is no canine breed that is 100% hypoallergenic, there are breeds that are less likely to stimulate allergies in people.”
Dander is the main culprit for causing allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to it. Dander is composed of microscopic flakes of skin that dogs shed along with their hair. Dander can stick to the hair follicles and spread around the environment when the dog sheds. Dander can also become airborne and be inhaled by people who are allergic to it.
Saliva and urine are other sources of allergens for some people. Dogs produce proteins in their saliva and urine that can trigger allergic reactions in some people who come into contact with them. These proteins can also be transferred to the dog’s fur when they lick themselves or urinate. When the fur sheds, these proteins can also become airborne and cause allergies.
The amount of allergens that a dog produces depends on several factors, such as their breed, size, coat type, grooming habits and health status. Some breeds are known to shed less dander than others, which can make them more hypoallergenic. These breeds usually have non-shedding or low-shedding coats that trap less dander and require less grooming.
Some examples of hypoallergenic dog breeds are:
- Bichon Frise
- Shih Tzu
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
These breeds are not guaranteed to be allergy-free, but they may cause less allergic reactions than other breeds. However, individual dogs may vary in their allergen production, so it is important to test your compatibility with a specific dog before adopting one.
Why are Jack Russell Terriers Not Hypoallergenic?
Jack Russell Terriers are not hypoallergenic because they shed more dander than some other breeds. They also have higher levels of saliva and urine proteins that can cause allergies in some people.
Jack Russell Terriers have three different types of coats: smooth, rough or broken. The smooth coat is very short and lies in one direction. The rough coat, also called wire-haired, has longer fur ranging from an inch or more in length. The broken coat is a combination of smooth and rough fur.
Most Jack Russell Terriers are moderate shedders, especially the ones with smooth coats. They shed their hair all year round, but more so during spring and fall when they change their coats for the seasons. This means that they release more dander into the environment than low-shedding breeds.
Jack Russell Terriers also have a high prey drive and love to dig. This means that they can get dirty easily and expose themselves to allergens from the soil, plants or animals. They can also bring these allergens into your home when they come back from their adventures.
How to Manage Allergies with a Jack Russell Terrier?
If you have a Jack Russell Terrier or want to get one despite your allergies, there are some things you can do to reduce allergens and cope with your symptoms. Here are some tips:
- Keep your dog groomed regularly. Brush their coat daily to remove loose hair and dander. Bathe them once a month with a mild shampoo to wash away dirt and allergens. Trim their nails and clean their ears to prevent infections and irritation.
- Use a HEPA filter or air purifier in your home to remove dander and dust particles from the air. Change the filter regularly and keep the device in the room where you spend most of your time with your dog.
- Wash your hands after touching your dog and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This can prevent transferring allergens from your dog to your mucous membranes, which can cause allergic reactions.
- Vacuum your floors, carpets and furniture frequently to remove hair and dander. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or a disposable bag that can trap allergens. Dispose of the bag or empty the container outside your home.
- Use anti-allergy bedding and covers for your mattress, pillows and couch. Wash them weekly in hot water to kill dust mites and remove allergens. Avoid letting your dog sleep on your bed or couch, or use a separate blanket for them.
- Consult your doctor or allergist for medication or immunotherapy if needed. Antihistamines, nasal sprays, eye drops or inhalers can help relieve your allergy symptoms. Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, can help desensitize your immune system to allergens over time.
Jack Russell Terriers are not hypoallergenic dogs because they shed more dander than some other breeds. They also have higher levels of saliva and urine proteins that can cause allergies in some people. However, they are also intelligent, energetic and loyal dogs that can make great companions for active families.
If you have allergies or asthma, you can still enjoy having a Jack Russell Terrier if you take some precautions to reduce allergens and manage your symptoms. By keeping your dog groomed, using a HEPA filter or air purifier, washing your hands and bedding, vacuuming regularly and taking medication or immunotherapy if needed, you can minimize your allergic reactions and live happily with your furry friend.
This guest article was written by Anthony Brooks of We Want Dogs.