Ask prospective dog owners about the breeds they have in mind to take home with them, and nine time out of ten they will mention Beagles
It’s not hard to understand why Beagles are so popular.
They have adorable ears. They are small. They are huggable. They have outgoing personalities. They don’t need to be taken to the groomer every week.
But Beagles are not hypoallergenic.
If Beagles make you sneeze and wheeze and get teary eyes or eczema, there are still things you can do to live comfortably with a Beagle in your life.
But looking for another breed that won’t cause allergies isn’t the way to go.
There are no hypoallergenic dogs
Well, more precisely, there are no non-allergenic dogs.
And as we will explain in a moment, all dogs produce about the same amount of allergy-provoking substances.
All dogs emit substances that can cause allergies. There are allergens (proteins that trigger allergic symptoms) in every dog’s dander (dead skin cells that have flaked off and become airborne), saliva, and urine.
No matter how long or short your dog’s hair is, even if your dog has no hair at all, every dog can set off allergic reactions in sensitive people.
There are lots of hypo-allergic people.
In some countries where dogs and people have to stay together in the house to stay warm five or six months of the year, like Sweden, up to 27 percent of people are allergic to dogs.
In the United States, however, only about 5 percent of people are allergic to dogs. Compare that to 17 percent of Americans who are allergic to cats.
No matter where you live, chances are that you aren’t allergic to dogs.
Even people who have to get treatment for allergies set off by other triggers aren’t allergic to dogs two-thirds of the time.
You are more likely to be allergic to your cat, guinea pig, ferret, or hamster than you are to be allergic to your dog.
It takes twice as much dog dander as cat dancer to set off an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to both.
Dog allergies are real. But 95 percent of people don’t have them.
There aren’t even really breeds of dogs that are significantly less allergenic than others. Pound for pound, a Beagle produces more allergens than a Portuguese Water Hound or an Afghan.
But when scientists doing dust collection in people’s houses found that all dogs produce more or less the same amount of substances that cause allergies in their human families.
The smaller, hyper-allergenic dogs like Beagles and Pugs produced smaller amounts of dander, saliva, and urine with greater amounts of allergens in them.
The larger “hypoallergenic” dogs like Portuguese Water Dogs and Samoyeds produced larger amounts of dander, saliva, and urine with smaller amounts of allergens in them.
Size matters. When the size of the dog is taken into account, all dogs are more or less equally allergenic.
What’s even more alarming is that even if you have never had dogs in your house, chances are that some dog danger has found its way inside through open windows or on your clothes.
But there are a number of things you can do to reduce allergy problems with any dog.
We’ll describe the things you need to do in Beagle-centric ways.
Give your Beagle the brush-off
Something you can do as often as every day to reduce allergies to your Beagle is a good brushing.
Beagles shed. When they shed their hair, some of the tiny flakes dry, dead skin stuck on it become airborne.
When you brush your Beagle’s hair, you control shedding, and you reduce the amount of dead skin floating around in the air in your house that can make you sneeze.
There is an art to brushing your Beagle.
First, find a curry comb or any other comb with soft bristles.
Then find a comfortable position from which you can give your Beagle a brushing.
Your Beagle needs to be comfortable, too. Usually the most comfortable position for a Beagle to be brushed is on its side.
If you have taught your Beagle the lie down and roll over command, then just say the command, and you are good to go.
Unless you are working at a professional dog grooming station (some pet supply stores will let you use theirs), don’t put your Beagle up on a table for brushing. If your dog jumps off the table, injury could result.
Once your and your Beagle are both relaxed, brush the hair in the direction it falls naturally. Don’t fluff up your Beagle’s fur.
This will release more of the dry skin flakes you are trying to control.
After you have finished one side, command your Beagle to roll over and comb the other side. Brushing your Beagle is that simple!
Brushing is a great way to bond with your Beagle.
You may want to do it as often as once a day, but two or three times a week is enough.
What do you do if your Beagle is too hyper to be brushed?
Sometimes you will need to help your Beagle relax before your brushing session.
One way to do this is to distract your dog is by turning on the TV. The program should be something that you don’t really want to watch.
You need to be paying attention to your Beagle’s skin for fleas, infections, cuts, scratches, and inflammation.
If your Beagle has a favorite video (some do), then play that. If your dog tends to snooze when the TV is on, even better.
Another approach to dealing with a hyperactive, hairbrush-averse Beagle is bribery. Offer treats at intermittent intervals as long as your Beagle is cooperating with the hair brushing session.
It’s best to keep your Beagle guessing when the next treat will be awarded for good behavior. Don’t overdo food treats.
Bathe your Beagle
The best thing you can do to cut down on allergic reactions to any kind of dog is to bathe your dog regularly.
From your beagle’s point of view, getting a bath about once a month is enough. As long as your Beagle doesn’t find something to roll around in, getting bathed more frequently isn’t necessary.
That is, as long as none of the humans in your Beagle’s families have allergies to dogs.
Reducing dog allergens requires much more frequent bathing than that.
A team of researchers at the North West Lung Centre of Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, in the UK found that reducing asthma and allergy symptoms required washing dogs twice a week.
Every time a dog is bathed, the amount of allergens it releases into the air is reduced by 95 to 99 percent.
The shedding of allergens doesn’t start up again until the second day after the dog gets a bath. By the third
day, the amount of dander being released into the air is back to baseline levels.
If you were to bathe your Beagle every other day, you should have greatly reduced problems with dog allergies. There are still allergens in dried urine and saliva, however.
There’s an art to giving a Beagle a bath
You can’t just throw your Beagle in the swimming pool and expect it to come out clean. Or happy.
Giving a Beagle a bath that reduces allergens takes some preparation.
Before you give your Beagle a bath, you need to have:
- Dog-specific shampoo. Medicated shampoos with the Indian herb neem can relieve your dog’s itchy skin (and yours, too).
- A hand-held shower attachment or a bowl for rinsing.
- Cotton balls to protect your Beagle’s ears from water. Beagles can find water in their ears very uncomfortable.
- A rubber bath mat in the tub to keep your Beagle from falling (you too, if you get in).
- A couple of big, fluffy towels to dry off your Beagle, and maybe one to protect your knees while you kneel over the tub.
Keep in mind that a Beagle in the bathtub can get you wet, very wet.
Before you begin your Beagle’s bath, two do more things:
- Place cotton balls in each of your Beagle’s ears to keep water from getting in. (Don’t use Q-tips. Q-tips can cause severe injuries to the ear canals of dogs and cats.)
- Dilute the shampoo. One part shampoo to three or four parts of water is about right. Diluting the shampoo gives you more lather.
Now you are ready to bathe your Beagle. Place your dog gently into the tub, steadying her with one hand if she is inclined to get out.
Next, use the hand-held shower attachment to pour warm water all over your dog’s skin.
It’s important never to bathe your dog in hot water. Hot water will cause drying and flaking, releasing more of the allergens you are trying to remove.
Apply a thin layer of lather all over your dog’s body. If the tub looks like you are giving your Beagle a bubble bath, you have used too much.
Take care not to get soap in your Beagle’s eyes or ears.
Give your Beagle an all-over massage. Then rinse off the soap thoroughly.
Leaving soap to dry on your Beagle’s skin will also cause dry skin, which is what you are trying to remove.
Keep pouring on the water for five minutes or until the rinse water turns clear, whichever comes first.
Now block the tub with a towel and let your Beagle shake off excess water. You will be glad you protected yourself and the bathroom floor before you let her shake.
Finish off drying with soft towels. Don’t use a blow dryer, because the heat can cause flaky skin.
If you can bathe your Beagle every other day, you will eliminate problems with dog dander.
There will still be issues with dried urine and saliva, but you can avoid those by being careful about house training and feeding time.
Prevent accidents, and clean up the food bowl, and you may find any problems you have with allergies to your Beagle are greatly reduced.
One more step for reducing allergies to your Beagle
Bathing your Beagle twice a week makes a huge difference in their allergenic potential.
It also helps to launder any cloth items your Beagle comes in contact with to remove the dander, dried saliva and urine they may contain.
Also helpful for reducing allergic reactions to your Beagle are:
- Let your Beagle have the run of just one or two rooms of your house. Some allergens may still circulate to your bedrooms and kitchen through your AC and heating system, but you will have lower likelihood of dog allergies in some rooms you can use as a retreat.
- Make sure your Beagle doesn’t sleep on your bed. Never share a pillow with your Beagle.
- Run a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner in any room in which you sleep or work. This keeps dander and dried saliva out of the air..
- Make sure your vacuum cleaner also has a HEPA filter.
- Wash your hands after petting your Beagle.
Beagles can be allergic to people, too
It’s not just people that can be allergic to dogs. Dogs can also be allergic to people.
If your dog spends a lot of time indoors but has chronic problems with sneezing, wheezing, teary eyes, and skin irritation, it’s possible your Beagle has a people allergy.
Year-round symptoms that aren’t related to changes in dog food or dog treats are strong indicators of Beagle allergies to you (or to the cat).
Canine allergies to humans most frequently show up as skin irritation. Ironically, a dog’s allergies to its people can cause the skin flaking that aggravates a human’s allergy to dogs.
The same approach to preventing human allergies to dogs applies to preventing canine allergies to people. Bathe regularly.
Take time to exfoliate. If you have a problem with itching, flaking, dry skin, use moisturizers. ‘
With a little extra work, you can allergy-proof your Beagle.
The additional brushing and bathing giee you a chance to bond with your dog, increasing your enjoyment of your pet while helping to keep you allergy-free
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