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Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

If you have allergies and are thinking about getting a German Shepherd you may have wondered, are German Shepherds hypoallergenic?  This article will answer that question as well as give you some tips of how to reduce allergens if you have a non-hypoallergenic dog.

So, Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

No, German Shepherds are not hypoallergenic.  German Shepherds shed year long, but twice a year they blow their coat and shed ever more heavily, which isn’t good for people with pet allergies.

If dog fur and dander irritate you, then you may want to consider another dog breed that doesn’t shed.  If your allergies are not too severe you can try the tips below to reduce the allergens caused by GSD fur.

Reasons Why German Shepherds Are Not Hypoallergenic

Double coat

German Shepherds have thick double coats that shed a year long.  In the fall, their double coat grows thicker in anticipation of winter, whereas in the spring, they lose some of that extra protection to keep them cool for the summer.

German Shepherd Shedding

The spring and fall are known as shedding season, because that is when GSDs blow their coats in accordance with the change of the seasons.  During this time, they shed A LOT.

All of this shedding can be bad for someone with allergies because of all the pet dander floating around. 

Pet dander

Most allergies are actually caused because of the pet dander not just the shedding.  Pet dander can stick to your dog’s fur, can get on your hands when you pet your pooch, and can float around in the air.

Normally, people have worse allergies around a dog breed that sheds.  This is because as their fur sheds, the dander sticks to the fur, and as the fur floats around the house, the dander is spread everywhere.  Thus, dogs that don’t shed are usually better for people with allergies.

How To Tell If You Are Allergic To German Shepherds

If you are around a GSD and get symptoms such as running nose, stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, or coughing, you may be allergic to dogs.  This is more likely to be true if as soon as you leave the animal the symptoms magically disappear.

Some people are only allergic to a specific type of pet, whereas others are allergic to all pets.

Other people may not start off being allergic to dogs but develop an allergic reaction to them over time. 

If this is you, there are some things you can do to reduce the amount of pet dander in your home, which will reduce your allergies.

Ways To Reduce Allergies Living With A German Shepherd

Some people who have a really bad allergic reaction to pet dander won’t be able to live with a German Shepherd at all.  However, others whose allergies aren’t as bad, could live with a GSD as long as they take certain actions to keep the dander from accumulating too much in the house.

Below are some suggestions to reduce the allergies caused by German Shepherds:

Regular brushing

One of the best things you can do to reduce dog allergies is to brush your GSD regularly.  Regular brushing removes all the excess hair that would normally end up floating around the house.

Removing the loose hair also helps to reduce the amount of pet dander on your pet.  When brushing your German Shepherd, it is best to brush them outdoors, so that the hair and dander can be released outside instead of in your home.

Under normal conditions, German Shepherds have low maintenance grooming needs.  You can brush them once a week or so and they will look excellent.  However, during the shedding season, they need to be brushed multiple times a week to keep the hair at bay.

Using a brush that gets the undercoat

Since GSD’s have a double coat, one of the best types of brushes for a German Shepherd is one that attacks their undercoat.  This is especially important during shedding season, as the undercoat is the culprit to generating all of that excess fur.

Vacuuming often

Another key to reducing allergens is vacuuming very often, especially when your dog is blowing their coat.  Investing in a good vacuum for pet hair will do wonders in reducing the pet dander, as many pet vacuums are designed specifically for eliminating pet dander from the carpet.

Normally, I vacuum once a week.  However, during the shedding seasons, I have to vacuum two to three times a week to keep up with the excess fur.

Medicine

Some people are able to effectively manage pet allergies with medicine.  If you think you are having an allergic reaction to pet dander, see your doctor and get their suggestions for what medication you can take.  With an luck, the medication will make you allergy free.

Restrict your GSD to certain areas

Another way of managing dog allergies is to keep your pet out of certain rooms.  Since German Shepherds are clingy dogs, this may not be super easy to do, but keeping your GSD out of certain rooms can provide you with a dog-free and allergy-free space to retreat to if needed.

Keep your clothes clean

Another tip for reducing dander is to keep your clothes as clean as possible.  When you are around your dog, dog fur and dander sticks to you clothing.  Thus, even when you aren’t around your dog, you could still be experiencing an allergic reaction.

Some people even have clothes that they only wear to do activities with their dog, and then other clothes that they never wear for dog activities.

Reducing the dander on your clothes will keep you from sneezing all day long, even when you aren’t around your dog.

Invest in an air filtration system

An air filtration system is another great option for reducing the pet dander in your home.  These systems filter out the dander and dirt in the air that is known to cause allergies, so there is less of it in your home.

They even make systems specifically designed to handle pet dander, so it is worth a try if you want a GSD but suffer from pet allergies.

Don’t let your dog sleep with you

Another big way to reduce allergies is to not let you dog sleep with you.  There are varying opinions on whether you should let your dog sleep in your bed, but for allergies it is clear that clear that a dog sleeping with you will have a negative effect on your allergies.

Although it can be hard, it is best never to start the habit of letting your dog get in the bed if you are allergic to them.  Invest in a comfy dog bed and they will be just fine.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are great dogs, and although they are a wonderful breed, they may not be right for everyone, especially someone who suffers from pet allergies.  German Shepherds are not hypoallergenic, and they shed year-round. 

If you suffer from milder pet allergies, you may still be able to own a GSD if you follow the tips above to reduce pet dander in your home.  Regular brushing, vacuuming, taking medicine, getting an air filtration system, and keeping your clothes clean are all things that can help reduce your allergic reaction.

If you think you may be allergic to German Shepherds, before getting one, try to go around someone else’s GSD to see if you present any allergy symptoms.  If owning a German Shepherd will be too much for you because of allergies, there are many other great dog breeds that are hypoallergenic for you to consider adding to your family.

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