Portuguese Water Dogs and Allergies

Portuguese Water Dogs are popular with people who have allergies. But no dog — not even the Portuguese Water Dog — is 100 percent hypo-allergenic.

Most people who are "allergic to dogs" are really reacting to the saliva and dander of the animal. Dander is made up of tiny skin and hair particles. Every time a dog with fur sheds — especially a dog with undercoat — a bit of skin comes off with the shed fur. As the fur loosens and falls out, dander is formed and floats into the air. When it comes in contact with your eyes, nose or throat, your body reacts, and you end up with itchy, runny eyes and nose, and you may even have trouble breathing.

Portuguese Water Dogs have a coat that grows like human hair. They have no undercoat and do not shed; therefore, they produce far fewer amounts of dander particles. They still produce skin particles, of course, but generally, they don’t produce enough to irritate an allergy sufferer.

Because no dog is totally allergen-free, a person with an allergic reaction to dogs should spend some time with a Portuguese Water Dog to make sure there is no reaction before adding a PWD to the family.

If even your Portuguese Water Dog makes you sneeze, but your reaction is less than with other dogs and you really want a dog, you can lessen your allergies by following these steps:

  • Bathe your Portuguese Water Dog at least once a week.

  • Keep your bedroom off limits.

  • Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Hardwood floors or tile are easier to keep clean and dander won’t be able to build up.

  • Take down heavy draperies, which can also trap dander.

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