Even though my wife and both suffer from allergies, we have had many dogs and cats over the years. We’re dog lovers and are willing to live with the allergy-related consequences. Now we have two Spinoni. Although they don’t bother our allergies more than any other dogs we’ve had in the past, that’s not true of everyone. One of our friends is very allergic to our dogs so I decided to do some research to see what we could do about it.
The Spinone Italiano is not considered a hypoallergenic dog. They shed, produce dander, and saliva which are the primary causes of allergic reactions to dogs.
A Spinone Italiano makes a wonderful family pet. If you or family members suffer from allergies, it doesn’t mean you can’t own one. Keep reading to learn more about the reality of hypoallergenic dogs and how to make owning a Spinone more manageable for allergy sufferers.
A hypoallergenic dog is marketed as a pet that is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. However, the breeds of dogs that are referred to as “hypoallergenic” can still cause allergic reactions in humans.
Many people believe that pet allergies are triggered by the animal’s fur. In reality, the real source of pet allergies is a protein that’s in the saliva and urine of dogs and cats. This protein sticks to the dead, dried flakes (dander) from the pet’s skin. When a dog sheds, the allergy-causing dander gets released into the air or onto the floor.
As of this writing, the American Kennel Club lists 26 dogs that are hairless or low-shedding, which makes them considered hypoallergenic. It makes sense that dogs that are hairless or shed less, release less dander into the air. So, they may cause fewer allergic reactions. However, all dogs have these allergens, even hairless and non-shedding breeds. While these dogs may cause less allergy-related issues, no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic.
The American Kennel Club doesn’t list Spinoni Italiani among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers. Even though they have medium length, dense, wiry single coats, they do shed moderately. They also produce dander and saliva. As we already learned, saliva and dander are common allergens, and Spinoni have plenty of both. Their shaggy coat may also drag in other allergy-causing debris like plants and flowers from outside.
Size also makes a difference when it comes to the amount of allergens produced. Large dogs produce more dander and saliva than small dogs. A large dog the size of a Spinone will produce more dander and saliva than a small dog like a Chihuahua. And, small dogs tend to be easier and faster to bathe and groom which may reduce the amount of allergens in your home.
Even though your Spinone isn’t hypoallergenic, you can reduce their impact on your allergies with more frequent baths, brushing, and hand stripping. This will reduce the loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet’s dander. Using a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after you’ve been playing outside will also help.
If I Have Allergies, Can I Still Own a Spinone?
A person who is allergic to one breed of dog, or even a particular dog within a breed, may not be allergic to another. If you are someone who is very sensitive to allergens then a Spinone may not be the best dog for you. However, if you don’t have severe dog allergies, then owning a Spinone is still quite manageable.
If you are an allergy sufferer, there are several things you can do to lower the allergens in your home. You will have to decide if the extra effort is worth it for the pleasure of living with a Spinone. We definitely think it is.
- Regular Brushing and Hand Stripping
- More Frequent Baths
- Regular Vacuuming
Regular Brushing and Hand Stripping
Generally, a Spinone doesn’t require a lot of grooming. However, if the goal is to reduce shedding and allergens, more frequent brushing will certainly help. It’s best if you can do the brushing outside. This keeps the excess hair and allergens out of the house and away from the allergy sufferers in your home.
Due to the nature of the Spinone’s wiry coat, it is not recommended to trim or cut their hair when grooming. Hand stripping is the preferred method. Hand stripping is a grooming process that involves removing dead hairs from the coat by hand instead of clipping to keep the coat tidy and healthy. Stripping maintains a Spinone’s natural harsh coat texture and color while getting rid of dead hair and allergens.
More Frequent Baths
Spinoni are known for being the ultimate wash and wear breed. Many Spinone owners don’t bathe their dogs at all or very infrequently as they believe it damages their coarse coat and don’t think it’s needed. However, if you have serious dog-related allergies, you will want to give your Spinone more frequent baths. Ideally, you can bathe them outside to keep as many allergens out of the house as possible.
Bathing helps to reduce the number of allergen-related proteins on your dog’s fur. Since Spinoni have dense, wiry coats, a shampoo that is formulated for such a coat is the best option. Many Spinoni owners recommend Bio-Groom Wiry Coat Shampoo. Massaging your dog while bathing him will help to loosen and separate dead hair and dander.
Using a professional groomer is also a good option. Most Groomers have special tools to help remove dead hair. Using a groomer also keeps all of the allergens out of the air in your home. We use a mobile groomer that comes to our home and works out of a trailer.
Nobody likes to vacuum. But, it is another way to manage the allergens in your home. Vacuuming frequently will help keep your house clean and reduce allergens. If you do a really good job of vacuuming once a week and then having a robotic vacuum run each night, it will help keep the hair accumulation down considerably.
Consider getting a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter for your vacuum. HEPA is a type of filter that can trap a large number of very small particles that other vacuum cleaners would simply recirculate back into the air of your home. HEPA vacuums are recommended for minimizing dust, dander, and other common allergens in homes where people suffer from allergies and respiratory conditions.
Steam cleaning carpet on a regular basis can also help reduce the presence allergens in your home. Depending on the severity of the situation, replacing carpeting with hard flooring may be a good idea.
If You Have Allergies, Meet A Spinone First
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, as much as 10% of the U.S. population is allergic to dogs. If you or a family member is an allergy sufferer and knows you are sensitive to dog allergens, a Spinone Italiano may not be the right dog for you or your family. The best way to find out is to meet a Spinone face to face.
All dogs produce allergens of some type. However, some produce fewer allergens than others and they may be less likely to trigger allergic reactions. People who have extreme allergies or asthma may still be triggered by these dogs.
However, if your reaction is mild and you are willing to put in a little extra effort to minimize the allergens then a Spinone makes a great addition to your pack. A good way to find out is to spend some time around a Spinone. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend with a Spinone, visit them and see if you have an allergic reaction.
If you’re considering a Spinone, you may have already researched breeders. A good breeder will allow you to visit and get to meet their dogs. You could also attend a local dog show and ask the dog owner to meet one of their dogs.
There are also quite a few Spinone FaceBook groups. Spinone owners are always happy to talk about their dogs. Join a group and find someone who is local and see if they would be willing to set up and meet and greet.
The more time you can spend with a Spinone, the better. If your allergy symptoms don’t flare up when you meet a Spinone or two face to face, then they will most likely work just fine for you. Either way, you won’t be sorry you got to spend time with a Spinone Italiano.