Maybe you’re considering getting a Shetland Sheepdog, but you’re worried they may trigger your allergies. Or perhaps you’re thinking of moving into a home that already has a Shetland Sheepdog and need to know if and how you can keep your allergies at bay.
Shetland Sheepdogs (commonly referred to as Shelties) are not hypoallergenic dogs. However, there are a few ways you can successfully live with a Shetland Sheepdog if you have allergies.
Shetland Sheepdogs are beautiful, fun, loyal dogs. And by following just a few simple rules you can cohabitate with one of these wonderful dogs for years — and barely even notice your allergies!
What Causes Shetland Sheepdogs to Not Be Hypoallergenic?
No dog can be 100% hypoallergenic, but some dogs are considered to be hypoallergenic because they shed less fur than other dogs — which means they are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
Shetland Sheepdogs have a lot of fur and are known to be one of the highest shedding dogs around so they definitely are not considered to be hypoallergenic. Not only do they have a lot of fur, but it’s a double coat of fur as well with a soft, thick undercoat and longer straight, rougher hair on top.
Shetland Sheepdogs And Dander
When someone is said to be allergic to “dogs” it typically means that they have reactions (usually sneezing, coughing, sore eyes, or other respiratory issues) to the dander dogs produce — so it’s not actually a dog allergy, it’s a dander allergy.
Dander is made up of protein that is secreted from the skin, as well as saliva and urine to create minuscule mites that live on the fur of animals. When the fur is intact the dander often goes undisturbed and generally won’t bother anyone with allergies to dander unless they are actively rubbing their faces on the dog or touch their eyes or nose directly after petting a dog. However, when a dog sheds the dander often becomes detached from the fur and can permeate the air — creating an allergic reaction.
Since Shetland Sheepdogs are known to be dogs who shed a lot of fur this means there’s also going to be a lot of dander in the air from their fallen fur.
How Can I Tell If I Am Allergic to My Shetland Sheepdog?
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms common to an allergic reaction it may make you wonder if you’re allergic to your Shetland Sheepdog. Even if you’ve never had allergies to dogs or any other animal before, it’s not unheard of to develop these allergies later in life. Or perhaps you’ve always owned different types of dogs in the past, and now you’re wondering if you’re allergic to your Shetland Sheepdog because it’s not known to be a hypoallergenic type of dog.
There are many ways that allergies can show up in people, but here are some common symptoms to watch out for.
Swelling. If your nose and/or eyes feel a bit swollen after being around your Shetland Sheepdog — or even from just being in areas where they often go and therefore their fur may remain — this is a major sign of allergies. If your symptoms come and go after being around your dog, that’s a huge sign it is an allergy to your Shetland Sheepdog.
Itchiness. If your nose, eyes, or back of your throat tickles or itches this is another huge sign of a dog allergy.
Rashes. If you’re near your dog or have been in close contact with their fur — especially fur that’s already been shed — you may notice areas of your skin are red and irritated for a while after. It may even be slightly itchy.
If you notice any of these symptoms come on after being around your dog but go away after a while consult your doctor about being tested for allergies to dogs. However, if you notice these symptoms come on and don’t go away or are causing shortness of breath or very uncomfortable feelings consult medical advice as soon as possible.
What Should I Do to Treat An Allergic Reaction Caused By My Shetland Sheepdog?
If your allergic reaction to your Shetland Sheepdog is just a bit of itchiness or other mild symptoms you may just want to use caution around your dog and make sure you wash your hands between touching your animal and your face.
But if you get a higher level of reaction there are still some things you can do to treat your allergies. However, we must note that you should always consult with your medical professional to see what they recommend.
Use A Cold Compress. Always wash your hands well after petting your dog and especially before touching your face. And soak a washcloth in cool water and press it against your eyes, nose, or anywhere else that feels irritated.
Nasal Sprays. Sometimes the dander sticks in your nasal passages and it is difficult to get out so using a nasal spray or another way to flush out your sinuses is what you need to do to help get over your allergic reaction.
Allergy Medication. There are a lot of options for medications you can take at your pharmacy. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which one is best for you and for advice on if you should take it before being around your dog or after you notice allergy symptoms kicking in.
Allergy Shots. If you get constant, severe reactions and not being around a Shetland Sheepdog or other dog is not an option your doctor may be able to give you allergy shots that should prevent any major reactions from occurring.
How to Avoid Allergies From Being Triggered By Shetland Sheepdogs
You can’t let your guard down if you’re a serious allergy sufferer who lives with a Shetland Sheepdog. But there luckily are a few ways you can help avoid your allergies from being triggered.
Wash Up. You should always be washing your hands before touching your face anyway, but if you have been near your Shetland Sheepdog or their fur it’s more important than ever. If you have dander on your hands and touch your face, you’re creating a direct contact route to aggravate your allergies.
Keep Your Dog Groomed. Shetland Sheepdogs need to be groomed at least a few times a week to keep their fur in its best condition and prevent excess shedding. Grooming them yourself will likely cause an allergic reaction, but maybe someone else in the house can keep up on their grooming or you can take them to a groomer regularly to keep the excess fur and shedding at bay.
Get A Good Vacuum. Since Shetland Sheepdogs shed a lot, you’ll need a good vacuum to pick up all their fur anyway, but some vacuums work better than others to make sure you get most to all of the fur out of your home. And some types of vacuums even have attachments to help purify your home — which could greatly help.
Confine Your Dog To Certain Areas. If your allergies are bad it’s best to keep your Shetland Sheepdog out of your bedroom and likely the kitchen and other areas you are in a lot. Designate a few areas like a spare bedroom and/or the living room and keep them in those areas as often as possible to reduce the amount of fur in all areas of your home.
Tips On How to Live With A Shetland Sheepdog If You Have Allergies
If you want to live with a Shetland Sheepdog but you suffer from allergies there are a few things you can do to make your living situation a lot more comfortable:
- Consult with your doctor or pharmacist about allergy pills, sprays, or other forms of relief.
- Keep your main living areas as clean and as fur free as possible.
- Have your dog groomed regularly.
- Don’t let your dog sleep on your bed.
- Try not to touch your face if you’ve been around your dog or its fur.
Don’t Make Your Shetland Sheepdog An Outdoor Dog
Shetland Sheepdogs love to play outdoors and because of their double thick fur they can withstand colder temperatures. But if you were thinking that maybe you would keep your Shetland Sheepdog strictly an outdoor dog you may want to think again.
Keeping them in a secure yard for part of the day or confined to a covered, temperature-controlled patio overnight are a few options you could consider, but here are a few reasons you shouldn’t make your Shetland Sheepdog an outdoor dog.
They’re social dogs. Shetland Sheepdogs are very social dogs who love being around you and interacting with you. If you leave them alone outdoors for long periods of time, they won’t be very happy, and they may start displaying some destructive behaviors.
It could be dangerous. If you keep your dog outside at all times, unsupervised even some of the time, they may run into trouble. Predators like raccoons, cats, and even other dogs could manage to get into your yard and injure your dog. And there’s a chance your dog could get stolen from your yard, or they may wander off by digging a hole or finding another way out.