As a veterinarian, I am often asked about humans’ allergies to their dogs. I enjoy helping pet parents learn about the best breeds for their families and how to deal with allergies.
Dogs are man’s best friend, and the latest statistics show more and more dogs are living in our homes. However, if you are allergic to your pet, your dog may become anything but your best friend.
Unfortunately, Beagles are not hypoallergenic. No dog is hypoallergenic, as all dogs produce dander and proteins in their urine and saliva that trigger allergies.
However, beagles are smaller dogs, which means fewer allergens in your home. To reduce allergy exposure, keep your dog out of living and sleeping spaces and bathe your pup often.
If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies and you seek a hypoallergenic dog, sadly, there is no such thing.
But that does not mean you and your family cannot enjoy the companionship of a Beagle! Read on for some tips to help the allergy sufferer in your life.
What Does “Hypoallergenic” Mean?
“Hypoallergenic” is a term that means a product is not likely to cause an allergic reaction. The term is most commonly applied to cosmetics and textiles.
It is inaccurate to state that a dog, or dog breed, is “hypoallergenic.”
When someone claims that a dog or dog breed is “hypoallergenic,” they are often referring to the fact that the dog or breed has hair, as opposed to fur, and does not shed very much.
Unfortunately, human allergies to dogs are not the result of fur or hair that is shed. Proteins cause these allergies.
The proteins are found in the dog’s urine and saliva and get trapped in particles of dry skin called dander. The dander is inhaled from the environment and triggers human allergies.
Loose hair does play a role in allergies for humans. However, all dogs produce allergenic proteins and dander, even if they do not shed.
The dander gets caught in the hairs that fall off the dog when they shed, and a shedding dog can increase the amount of allergen in the home.
Is A Beagle A Good Choice For Someone With Allergies?
Interestingly, some people will have an allergic reaction to one dog and not to another, and it is often difficult to figure out why.
Scientists have performed studies measuring the levels of allergens in different breeds’ saliva but have reached no conclusion explaining why some dogs trigger more severe allergic reactions.
Some tips to help ease the suffering from dog allergies can help if your family decides to bring a Beagle home. It is essential to try to reduce the number of allergens that your Beagle may shed.
Get A Puppy!
Veterinarians and allergists have found that puppies are the best bet for people with allergies. Bringing any new dog into the household as young as possible is recommended.
The theory is that young dogs do not shed as many allergens as adult dogs. Allergy sufferers exposed to low levels of antigens shed by the puppy slowly become accustomed to them.
Many pet parents have told me in my practice that they have severe allergic reactions to others’ dogs but have no problems with the dogs raised from puppies in their homes.
This approach is the same method allergists use when administering allergy treatment, called immunotherapy.
A tiny amount of the substance a person or animal is allergic to is injected into the patient frequently until the immune system tolerates it and no longer sees it as a foreign substance.
Ways To Reduce Human Allergies To Beagles
An allergy to dogs can seem like an insurmountable obstacle on the path to owning a dog. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are a few helpful tips to help your family manage dog allergies while enjoying the companionship of a Beagle.
- Consult a physician. A human allergist is your best resource for up-to-date treatment options and therapies for dog allergies.
- A beagle is a great choice because they are small. A smaller dog means fewer allergens in your home and less suffering from dog allergies.
- Keep the dog out of living and sleeping spaces. Any room where the allergy sufferer spends a lot of time should be off-limits for the dog.
- Dogs love the outdoors! Keep the dog (and the allergens) outside as much as the weather permits.
- Bathe your pup! Washing dander from the dog’s skin helps remove allergens. Brushing to remove excess hair, and therefore dander and allergens can be a huge help too. Consistently perform all grooming tasks outside.
- Consider removing the carpet from your home. Better choices are tile and hardwood, as they do not trap allergens.
- Improve the air circulation in your home by keeping windows open as much as possible. Install HEPA filters and change all furnace filters at least monthly.
What About Shedding?
If you are considering bringing a Beagle into your family and are worried about shedding, this breed may not be the one for you. Beagles do shed.
However, there are two things to keep in mind. One, Beagles are relatively small dogs, so the overall amount of hair shed will likely not be overwhelming.
Two, the Beagle’s coat is comprised of short hairs. The Beagle will not leave large tufts or clumps of hair around your house.
A Beagle will shed pretty continuously throughout the year at a low level, mostly leaving tiny hairs where they sleep and sloughing off more when rubbed or petted.
Due to the hair cycle, they will have a more significant shedding phase every spring and fall.
A Beagle’s hair has three distinct phases, a growing phase (anagen), a transitional phase (catagen), and a resting phase (telogen -with a sub-phase where the hairs are shed more than usual -exogen).
The last sub-phase, exogen, commonly occurs twice a year and can bring much hair and shedding. The dog may require extra brushing during these times.
Can A Supplement Help With Excessive Shedding?
It would be wonderful if a pill, powder, or elixir could help end all the shedding-related trouble. No one likes it when their dog leaves hair all over the house.
Sadly, shedding is standard for most dogs, and a Beagle is no exception. No diet or supplement can cause your dog to stop losing hair.
In the case of excessive shedding, the culprit could be an underlying medical condition. Some conditions include hypothyroidism, parasites, endocrine disease, and autoimmune disorders.
Any dog suspected of shedding excessively should be taken to their veterinarian.
Bathing And Grooming A Beagle
Beagles are active and happy small dogs and have the added benefit of being low maintenance. Baths should be given once every two weeks, but not more often, as too frequent bathing can cause dry skin.
Dog-specific shampoo can be used, or human baby shampoo is also a good choice as it is safe if accidentally splashed into the eyes.
Be sure to thoroughly rinse all the shampoo out of the coat to avoid skin irritation. The shampoo left in the coat can lead to many issues if the dog scratches, including sores and secondary bacterial infections.
Beagles should be brushed daily. This may seem like a very high frequency, but it will keep the coat healthy and reduce the amount of hair shed in other places.
Once a week, a de-shedding tool, such as a Furminator®, can further eliminate excess hair.
As low-maintenance dogs, Beagles will not need professional grooming. However, they need to have their nails clipped to prevent overgrowth, ingrown nails, splitting, and painful cracks.
A groomer or veterinarian should be consulted if an owner is uncomfortable clipping the dog’s nails.
Frequently Asked Questions About Beagle Care
Why does my Beagle have bad breath?
Your Beagle should not have foul-smelling breath. Dogs’ breath may not be minty-fresh like a human who has just used mouthwash, but it should be pleasant and not offensive.
If your Beagle has breath that you find objectionable, the most likely reason is periodontal disease, which affects 87% of dogs over the age of 3.
Other causes include abscesses, oral cancers, and foreign bodies. A visit to the veterinarian is for any Beagle with bad breath.
Why does my Beagle lick his paws?
Environmental allergies are the most common reason for Beagle to lick their paws. However, other issues, such as a foreign body or infection in the foot, food allergies, and even anxiety, can be the culprit.
If your Beagle is licking their paws excessively, please get in touch with your veterinarian, as they can help get to the bottom of the issue and get relief for your furry friend.
Dr. Jamie Whittenburg is a vet with 15 years of clinical experience. She graduated from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. Her area of expertise is small animal general practice, equine practice, surgery, and academia.
Dr. Whittenburg operates her own hospital in Lubbock, TX, named Kingsgate Animal Hospital. Medically, she’s most interested in practicing general surgery and feline medicine. When not at work, Dr. Whittenburg enjoys outdoor activities, reading, and spending time with her family.