There's nothing like petting a pooch to make you smile. Unless afterwards, you’re sneezing, you have a runny nose, and your eyes are itchy. In this case, you likely have an allergy to pet dander.
Those dog-lovers who suffer from pet allergies may start to wonder which breeds are hypoallergenic. Whether you own a French bulldog or will adopt one soon, you might be asking: Are French bulldogs hypoallergenic?
Frenchies are one of the most popular dog breeds out there, frequently appearing near the top of the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular breeds. But unfortunately, despite being so beloved, they’re not very good dogs for allergy sufferers and are not considered hypoallergenic.
Don't worry yet — a French bulldog may still be (safely) in your future. Let’s take a closer look at this breed’s shedding habits and what you can do to reduce allergic reactions.
Why Do French Bulldogs Cause Allergies?
Are French bulldogs hypoallergenic? No — they’re likely to cause reactions for those with pet allergies. And you might be surprised to learn that there is technically no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed. Allergy sufferers react to a protein in pet dander, not dog hair itself. Even hairless dog breeds can trigger allergies in very sensitive people.
Because dander tends to attach itself to pet hair, dogs who shed very little are typically the best breeds for those of us with dog allergies. Low shedders leave a smaller amount of dander around the home to react to. That means classic allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and hives aren’t as likely to occur when you own a low-shedding breed.
French bulldogs, unfortunately, don’t fall into this category. They’re considered moderate to heavy shedders even though they have very short hair.
How Much Do French Bulldogs Shed?
Your Frenchie will shed moderately throughout the year — you’ll probably notice some dog fur on your carpets and furniture, as well as on your clothes after a play session. But at certain points in the year, you’ll be dealing with even more hair.
French bulldogs have a two-layered coat that consists of a topcoat and an undercoat. During the spring and autumn, French bulldogs lose even more hair than usual because they shed their undercoat, leaving more allergen-laced hair in their wake. During these heavy-shedding periods, you'll need to groom your pet more (more on that later). However, allergy sufferers will likely have a challenging time during this period.
Living With a French Bulldog If You Have Allergies
If you can’t resist owning a French bulldog despite your allergies (we can’t blame you!) or if you already own one of these adorable pooches, don’t despair. Aside from taking over-the-counter allergy medication or visiting your doctor for prescription allergy meds, there are ways to give your immune system a little break.
Here’s how you can live with a French bulldog if you have allergies:
Brushing your French bulldog every few days can help contain loose fur, reducing the chance of allergy flare-ups. It also gets rid of any grime or dirt on your dog’s skin to prevent irritation and infections. Remember that your dog will shed more in the spring and autumn, so you might want to brush even more often during these seasons.
Another important part of grooming is your dog’s bathing routine. Your dog will probably do fine with a bath once every 1-2 months, but ask your veterinarian about a specific schedule. Bathing not only keeps your dog’s skin and coat healthy and smooth — it gets rid of a lot of dander-laced hair that would otherwise fall around your home and cause allergies.
Visit your local pet store or Amazon.com to purchase a dog shampoo — you never want to use human shampoo, as it’s too strong for your pooch’s sensitive skin. Pay special attention to your Frenchie’s facial folds when bathing, as grime can accumulate in these areas. However, take care not to get any shampoo in your dog’s eyes.
If your dog hates bath time, you can give them a post-bathtime reward with Native Pet’s Yak Chews. These stink-free, mess-free hard cheese chews also provide a tasty protein boost.
When you feed your dog a well-balanced diet that contains the right amount of vitamins and minerals, it reduces overall shedding. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important for this, as they benefit the hair follicles and make for a smooth, shiny, low-shedding coat. Ask your vet to recommend a great food if you’re not sure your furry friend’s current diet is cutting it.
Do you let your Frenchie sleep in bed with you? As adorable as it may be, you’ll probably want to avoid this if you have severe allergies. You’re only adding more dog dander to your environment. If you insist on cuddling your dog in bed, consider putting a properly sized T-shirt over your dog’s body to contain some of that hair.
Allergy sufferers might also benefit from setting up high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air purifiers around the home. These filter devices trap even the smallest of particles, including your dog’s dander, preventing it from ever reaching you.
Regular vacuuming and cleaning is another important step for keeping your allergic reactions under control if you own a French bulldog. Clean your bed sheets and linens regularly to get rid of any dander. (Try using a hypoallergenic mattress, sheets, and pillowcases, too!) Toss your dog’s bedding in the wash on a regular basis, because a lot of dander can accumulate there.
For occasional dog allergies, you can probably take over-the-counter allergy medications to reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups. There are pill medications like Benadryl, as well as nasal sprays and other products. For severe allergies, however, you might need to visit the doctor. Allergy shots work by desensitizing your immune system to the allergen over time, and there are allergy shots available to combat pet dander allergies.
Are French Bulldogs Hypoallergenic? No, But There’s Hope
Are French bulldogs hypoallergenic enough for allergy sufferers to keep one comfortably? In most cases, no. This breed is a moderate-to-heavy shedder and is likely to trigger allergies, resulting in the sneezing, watery eyes, and itching that allergy sufferers know so well. Those with severe allergies might be better suited with a hypoallergenic breed, like the maltese, Chinese crested, or poodle.
With that being said, even people with allergies to dog dander may be able to safely own French bulldogs. You’ll just need to stay on top of managing the problem. That means brushing and bathing your Frenchie on a regular basis, feeding them properly to reduce shedding, keeping your home clean and using air filters, and making any necessary lifestyle changes to reduce allergy symptoms.
If you’ve got your heart set on a French bulldog or if you’re already the proud owner of one of these adorable dogs, use these tips to stay comfortable and enjoy many happy days with your wonderful pet. This breed likes nothing more than spending time with those who love them most.
For more insights into your dog’s health, nutrition, and wellness, visit the Native Pet blog.