Let’s talk about allergies. I’ve always wondered how dog owners with allergies go about their lives. It must be harder – to be deathly allergic to the thing you love.
You may have heard about hypoallergenic animals. But how does that apply to our favourite dog, the corgi? Well unfortunately, here’s the bad news.
No. Corgis are not hypoallergenic. If you suffers from allergies, a corgi might not be the dog for you. There are steps that you can take to reduce their impact though, if you are in forced close contact with a corgi.
But that doesn’t mean that dog ownership is out of the question. Here are all the facts I’ve discovered when it comes to allergies and pets, and what you can do about them.
What are allergies and what causes them?
Your immune system produces antibodies in your body. When you have allergies, your immune system creates antibodies that mark an allergen as harmful (even though it isn’t). This can inflame your corgis skin.
Allergies are very common. In fact, around 20% of all people have allergies at some point in their lives. That’s a lot of people!
According to the Mayo Clinic, allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a substance that it is foreign to the body. Typically, it’s one that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people.
Common allergies are peanuts, crustaceans (like shrimp), bee stings, and most importantly – animal skin and hair.
When you come into contact with allergens, your immune system goes into overtime and can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.
The severity of allergies varies from person to person. It can range from minor irritation and inflammation to anaphylaxis (which can lead to intense pain and even death).
While most allergies can’t be cured, treatments (such as balms) can help relieve your symptoms. However, the best way is to avoid contact with allergens.
Not so fun fact! Around 20% of people suffer from some type of allergy.
What makes people allergic to dogs?
Allergens (that cause allergies) can be found in dogs. These come from skin cells that they shed. They can also be found in their fur, sweat, urine and saliva.
It seems a cruel twist of fate that the pets we love so much could be the cause of our allergies. But that is can certainly be the case.
For most people, the biggest problems are caused by the shedding of fur and excess skin cells. That’s because not only do they sit in the air, they also get on everything in the house.
If you’ve ever been to visit a dog owners house, a common connecter is the amount of dog hair that rests on all the surfaces. Even if they assure you that they’ve just vacuumed (and let me say, they’re not lying).
Once excess fur and skin cells get into the air and onto the furniture, that’s where they are staying until you get rid of them. That’s no easy task.
And if they’re in the atmosphere, they’re more than likely to end up in your airways and into your lungs. That’s all it takes for the allergens to kick in, leaving some not so nice surprises to your body.
What does hypoallergenic mean?
Hypoallergenic simply means that there is a low chance of causes an allergic reaction.
You may have heard the term hypoallergenic on a new mattress or a box of tissues from the supermarket. But what does this term really mean? And what does it mean when applied to animals?
The prefix hypo- comes from Ancient Greek and refers to a state of being “low” or “minimal”. In this case, that means a low chance of being allergenic.
Therefore, a hypoallergenic dog simply means a dog that has a low chance of causing allergies in humans.
It is important to note that even if an animal is hypoallergenic, they can still be carries of allergens.
For instance, if you are allergic to pollen, you could interact with an animal that has been running around in the flowers. This would still give you an allergic reaction to the pollen, even though you are not allergic to the animal.
That’s what makes Spring a hard season for many people with allergies. It’s not as easy as staying out of fields, but staying away from anything that has interacted with pollen, including the air and the wind.
How do I know if I’m allergic to dogs?
The most obvious way to know you’re allergic to dogs is if you’ve had an allergic reaction before. You can also get tested to see if you react to allergens.
Although allergies to cats are about twice as common, allergic reactions to dogs tend to be more severe.
Common symptoms of dog allergies are puffiness around the face, watery or swollen eyes, a runny nose, itching, and irritated skin.
So if you always get the sniffles when you head over to your friend’s place who has a dog, that’s a good sign to get yourself test for allergies to dogs.
An allergist can perform tests on you and give you tailored information about how severe your dog allergy. They will also be able to tell you what types of treatments can help.
Are corgis hypoallergenic?
Animals that have fur have a much higher likelihood of triggering allergies than those without. Unfortunately, this means that dogs are likely to cause allergies.
Both Pembroke Welsh and Cardigan breeds are known for having thick coats. Because of this coat, corgis are heavy shedders. This means that they are more likely than other dog breeds to be allergenic.
If you have allergies, particularly to animals or fur, you should be very careful about getting a corgi. The last thing you want to do is buy one and then find out all they’re going to do is make you sneeze.
Even if you only have mild reactions, you must seriously consider if that is something that you can live with for the sake of pet ownership.
Are there non-shedding corgis to help with allergies?
No. You can get cross breeds of corgis that shed less that are less prone to causing allergies. However, there is no such thing a completely 100% hypoallergenic dog.
In terms of shedding corgis, corgis do it all year round. Their coat grows quickly, and you’ll quickly find it spread around your house.
If you’re still in the market for a corgi, and are looking to reduce the chance of having corgi-inspired allergies, the best path you can take is to look for a cross-breed.
This should be a cross-bred with a breed that sheds less and has a light coat. But by cross-breeding them with another dog breed, you can reduce the amount they need to shed.
Are corgi mixes hypoallergenic?
No. Corgi mixes are not hypoallergenic, but they can be better for those with allergies.
If your corgi is inheriting its fur from its non-corgi parent, it will adopt their shedding schedule.
However, you have to ensure that this is actually the case – and not just trusting the word of whoever you are buying from. A good breeder will be able to provide you with genetic tests and samples to indicate the breakdown of the parent, and the likelihood of causing allergies for you.
The easiest way though, to tell if you corgi cross is going to shed, is by adopting an older dog whose shedding pattern has already been tracked. It’s much harder to do that with a puppy because there’s no history to follow.
If you’re after a puppy, here are a few breeds that you can cross with corgis to help reduce the amount of fur and skin cells that they will shed around your house.
- Afghan Hound
- Bichon Frise
- Shih Tzu
The other benefit of having a low-shedding corgi is that your house will be infinitesimally cleaner – and save you hours from not having to pluck fluff off your clothes, furniture, carpet and cupboards.
What can I do to make me less allergic? 3 strategies to help you manage allergies.
There is no easy way to get rid of your allergies. However, you can reduce the impact by keeping allergens away by cleaning your home or stopping them from entering at all.
It’s a hard fact to face, but if you have severe allergies, you may not be able to safely own a corgi.
It is the better thing for you in the long run – pet ownership is already a demanding ask, without the imminent fear of sickness every time you give them a pat.
However, what if you’ve already got a corgi, and then you get allergies?
It’s true that allergies can spring up at any moment and it would be horrible to have to give your corgi up because of your health.
If you only have mild allergies to dogs, it can be possible to live with a corgi as long as you are precautious. However, we do strongly recommend you do not buy a corgi if you have allergies.
Here are a few things I have discovered that can help.
1. Test before you buy
First, if you are the type of person to have allergies, it can be useful to have your doctor run a test. You will need to get a sample of their fur and an allergy testing kit.
If you do have allergies, they can give you trained medical advice on how to handle it – and will advise you not to buy the corgi.
2. Groom your corgi
Second is making sure that your corgi is regularly groomed. By having a groomer work through the fur each month, you reduce the likelihood and amount of them shedding through the house.
This reduces the amount of hair and skin in the air, and ultimately, in your lungs.
3. Clean your home
Third is regularly cleaning your home. By sweeping, dusting and vacuuming each day (or at the very least, a few times a week), you minimise the risk of allergens in the air.
Air purifiers can also be used in addition to the above cleaning schedule, to assist with breathing and reduce symptoms.
What is important to remember is that your health must come first. Allergies can be very dangerous, and you should not take the risk – even if it does mean hanging out with a corgi.
Final thoughts on corgis and allergies
Corgis are a beautiful breed of dog. But if you have allergies, you should consider not getting a dog, or getting a cross-breed or a breed that sheds less fur.
Because of their long coats, corgis are notorious shedders. This can cause major problems for people with allergies.
While corgis a fantastic choice for most families and make a welcome addition to most homes, make sure it’s safe before making a big commitment.