Rat Terriers are lively, affectionate little dogs that make wonderful pets. Between their incredible intelligence and hard-working attitude, this brave dog can make a wonderful addition to any family.
The Rat Terrier has a short and dense coat, making it appear an attractive option for allergy sufferers.
Rat Terriers are not hypoallergenic. Because all dogs produce dander and proteins in their saliva and urine, every dog could potentially trigger allergies.
If you have severe pet allergies, you’ll be sad to learn no dog is truly hypoallergenic.
If you have your heart set on a Rat Terrier, there may be ways to reduce allergens in your home and cohabitate with this little dog.
Be sure to groom your Rat Terrier regularly to help maintain a healthy coat.
Grooming is a wonderful way to reduce shedding and capture any loose hair or dander before it floats through your home environment.
It is vital to allow your Rat Terrier to become comfortable with grooming at a young age so that grooming can be a regular part of hygiene and dog maintenance.
What Is A Hypoallergenic Dog?
If you are searching for a new dog to add to your family and suffer from allergies, chances are your eye has been drawn to the term “hypoallergenic.”
While it is true that a hypoallergenic dog can certainly help mitigate allergy symptoms, this dog may not be the complete answer to your symptoms. There is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic animal.
Because most pet allergies are caused by pet hair and dander, eliminating fur from the home can help reduce allergies.
Hypoallergenic dogs are extremely light shedders, which makes allergies better in most people. However, people can still be allergic to pet urine, saliva, or feces.
In these cases, even the most hypoallergenic, low-shedding dog will still impact your allergies.
Before adopting any dog, even a hypoallergenic dog, it is essential to have an allergy test performed to understand exactly what you are allergic to with dogs.
What Are Common Symptoms Of Pet Allergies?
Many people who suffer from pet allergies share common symptoms when exposed to pets or when they stay in a home with pets. Some common pet allergy symptoms include:
- Stuffy or Runny Nose
- Itchy or Burning Eyes
- Coughing or Wheezing
- Swollen Face and Sinuses
- Itchy Skin that may have a rash or hives
In most cases, pet allergies only cause mild to moderate reactions, which can easily be treated with over-the-counter allergy medication.
Look for medicines that have antihistamines to stop the allergic reaction in your system. In rare cases, pet allergies can become severe.
If you have difficulty breathing when around pets, remove yourself from the environment. If symptoms fail to improve, or worsen, be sure to seek immediate medication attention for your severe allergic reaction.
Do Rat Terriers Shed?
Rat Terriers will shed, but not as much as some other dog breeds. Shedding is minimal yet consistent throughout much of the year.
Twice per year, the dog will go through an intense shedding period. Expect heavy shedding to last for about two weeks when the dog transitions coats between changing seasons.
When Will Rat Terriers Shed The Most?
The Rat Terrier will shed, although it is a low-shedding breed compared to other dogs. For the majority of the year, expect light shedding from this dense but short-haired dog.
Routine brushing and bathing will help to manage to shed and keep it minimal.
Twice per year, expect this dog to shed more than usual. During these times, the dog will transition its coat to accommodate different weather conditions.
Expect a particularly heavy shed as winter transitions to spring and again as summer fur sheds away for a warmer coat for winter.
During these periods of heavy shedding, expect to brush your dog about three times a week to keep shedding minimal and allergies in check.
Can You Manage Shedding With Grooming?
Many pet allergies are directly connected to shedding and dander. By adequately grooming your dog, you can help manage to shed and thus mitigate allergy symptoms.
Even though a Rat Terrier is a small dog breed, they do shed a fair amount.
This dog will shed year-round, so it is essential to keep up with routine grooming. By brushing your dog, you’ll be able to remove loose hairs that would otherwise float through your home.
Regular bathing not only keeps your dog healthy and clean, but it can safely remove dead hairs and replenish the dog’s skin with moisture.
With regular grooming, you can help reduce shedding, especially when shedding is worse than usual.
What Type Of Brush Should I Use For Grooming My Rat Terrier?
When you sit down to start grooming your Rat Terrier, you need to be as effective as possible. Although this dog has sleek and smooth fur, it is very dense.
A slicker brush is the best way to get through the thick fur, removing the dead and loose hairs. A slicker brush is a right tool for the job.
How Can I Make My Rat Terrier More Comfortable With Grooming?
Grooming your dog is part of keeping allergens low and keeping your dog happy and healthy. You must ensure that your dog becomes comfortable with grooming to make the necessary activity fast and easy.
Some best tips to get your Rat Terrier accustomed to grooming include:
- Train Early – You want to train your dog from a young age to be comfortable with grooming. Practice grooming with plenty of rewards and treats to keep your dog calm.
- Be Prepared – Brushing and bathing can be traumatic for some dogs. Make sure you have all your supplies handy and ready to go before you start grooming. By being prepared, you can make grooming sessions short and sweet.
- Use Grooming Gloves – Because the Rat Terrier has short, soft fur, you can use a grooming glove. Not only will this help remove the dead and loose fur, but it will feel like you are simply petting your dog. A grooming glove can be less intimidating than a brush.
- Have Patience – If your dog is stressed or uncomfortable, consider only doing a part grooming session. You want your dog to associate grooming with a positive experience. If you persist with grooming even if your dog is uncomfortable, it can only make your dog hate grooming more.
What Are Other Small Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds?
Rat Terriers are wonderful and loving dogs but may not be the right choice for people who suffer from pet allergies.
If you have moderate to severe allergies, you may want to consider a hypoallergenic dog breed. Some of the most popular hypoallergenic small dog breeds include:
- Poodles – The Poodle is a versatile, intelligent, and surprisingly athletic dog. Many size Poodles are available, but if you want a small dog, you’d be most interested in the Toy Poodle. The soft, curled fur rarely sheds, making this dog perfect for allergy sufferers.
- Maltese – This small dog has a beautiful white coat that only sheds very lightly. The little dog is affectionate and has been known to have a sense of humor.
- Yorkshire Terrier – The Yorkie is a loving and bold dog with plenty of personality. Some Yorkies stay under 10 pounds but have a “big dog” attitude.
- Miniature Schnauzer – Like the Poodle, the Schnauzer comes in various sizes, but you will want to look at the Miniature Schnauzer breed for small dog lovers. This dog is a light-shedder and is very active.
- Italian Greyhound – Mimicking the look of a Standard Greyhound, the Italian Greyhound is small, sleek, and thin. This dog has short and fine hair that rarely sheds.
- Lhasa Apso – Even though this small dog has long hair, it is still considered hypoallergenic. The Lhasa Apso rarely sheds and can make a superb companion pet. Intelligent and affectionate, this little dog is a beautiful option for allergy sufferers.
Are Rat Terriers good with other animals?
Although the Rat Terrier is a very friendly dog that is great with both adults and children, it is not always the best around other animals.
Socialization can be a challenge with the Rat Terrier, especially as the dog becomes older.
This temperament in the Rat Terrier is why it is essential to socialize and train your Rat Terrier at a young age to allow the dog to become familiar with different people and animals.
The more your dog is socialized, the more it will relate to other animals and not necessarily look at the smaller animals as potential prey.
Why were Rat Terriers bred?
The Rat Terrier has been in existence for over 100 years, initially bred in the 1920s to work on farms in America. The dogs were bred to tackle common pests found on a farm, like rabbits and rats.
Eventually, farmers used poison to kill rodents in the 1950s instead of using the little dogs. Today, the Rat Terrier continues to be popular in American households as a loving and affectionate pet.
Our team is composed of pet care professionals, veterinarians, and pet owners. To date, we’ve conducted thousands of hours of research to publish the most accurate pet information.
Most of the writers on our site are vets with 10+ years of clinical experience, ranging from small practice, to equine practice, academia, and surgery. Our goal is to help every pet owner get the information they seek about their dear companions.
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