The Bernese Mountain Dog is a prime example of the canine species. This dog breed, bred in the farming regions of drafty Switzerland, thrives in cold weather and enjoys outdoor activities just as much as the next dog. They’re also especially friendly and affectionate toward kids and make an excellent addition to any family.
But before getting a Bernese Mountain Dog, there’s always the question of whether they’ll trigger your allergies. With 10 to 20% of the world’s population being allergic to pets, getting this beautiful canine remains a pipe dream for people in this group.
Unfortunately, the Bernese Mountain Dog isn’t hypoallergenic, but there’s a lot more to cover on that. Keep reading to find out why the Bernese Mountain Dog is not hypoallergenic and what you can do to adopt one despite your allergies. Let’s get straight into it.
What Does It Mean to Be Hypoallergenic?
When a product or pet is hypoallergenic, it means it doesn’t contain any allergens that may trigger an allergic reaction. This isn’t to say that the product or animal is 100% allergen-free, but the allergens the product contains aren’t enough to make your allergies flare up.
However, the term “hypoallergenic” is often misused and misconstrued in equal measure. For starters, there’s no scientifically agreed meaning for hypoallergenic, as stated on the FDA website¹. Plus, since people have different sensitivity levels for different allergies, it’s hard to clamp down on a single measure of hypoallergenicity.
That means that companies slap “hypoallergenic “on their products to appeal to consumers. However, in reality, their products aren’t completely void of allergies, and it could as well be a gimmick. Still, most hypoallergenic products do not trigger allergies.
What Does It Mean for a Dog to be Hypoallergenic?
A hypoallergenic dog is a dog less likely to trigger allergic reactions. Most people are allergic to a specific protein found in dog saliva, urine, and pet dander. Contact with these substances leads to various allergic reactions like sneezing, nasal congestion, swelling, and itchiness.
As your dog sheds off its old fur to give rise to a fresh coat, the shredded fur scatters around as dander. This dander is the leading cause of most dog allergies. As such, hypoallergenic dogs are simply dogs that don’t shed as much pet dander as other dogs. These dogs typically have curly hair that traps most of the dander and keeps it from spreading to the environment. Some have less hair meaning they produce less dander.
It’s worth noting that this doesn’t mean that the dog is completely free of allergens. So, what you have isn’t a hypoallergenic dog but more of an allergy-friendly dog. In reality, there is no allergen-free dog, but people with pet allergies have learned to work their way around these allergies.
How Hypoallergenic Is the Bernese Mountain Dog?
The Bernese Mountain Dog is characterized by its thick fur and full coat consisting of long fur strands. But despite this, this dog breed doesn’t shed as much fur and doesn’t require regular grooming to keep it dander free.
Much of the dog’s ability to retain its fur is because of where it was bred. The cold climate of the agricultural area of Switzerland meant that these dogs needed as much fur as possible to insulate them from the cold. This means they evolved to retain as much fur as possible and only shed when necessary to keep them warm in the cold Switzerland alps.
If you have allergies, you don’t have to worry too much about your allergies flaring up because of your Bernese Mountain Dog. However, it’s still a good idea to brush it daily to reduce the chances of any allergic reactions. A little trimming every once in a while will also help.
Can I Adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog Despite My Allergies?
It’s a huge bummer when you can’t have your favorite pet because of allergies. Bernese Mountain Dogs are adorable, playful, and give good company. So how can you keep one at home despite your allergies?
Talk to an Allergist
The first thing you want to do is consult with your local allergist. An allergist is a medical professional that specializes in treating allergies and immunological disorders. They’ll prescribe you a list of medications to take and explain how you can minimize your risk of allergic reactions caused by your pet.
Create a Grooming Schedule for Your Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs, as previously stated, do not shed as much as other breeds. However, regular cleaning and grooming are imperative to keeping allergens like dander at bay. As such, you should consider creating a regular grooming schedule for your pet to reduce exposure to allergens.
Grooming while bathing works best because the allergens aren’t as potent when wet. It’s best to avoid brushing without water since it could trigger severe allergic reactions.
Don’t Let the Dog Climb on Your Bed or Couch
As much as you want to stay close to your pets, it’s best to keep them off your furniture to reduce your chances of exposure to dander. You can create a separate space for your dog to sleep and nap on besides your bed.
Change Your Air Filters Regularly
Changing your air filters regularly is a must if you’re allergic to pet dander. The longer you stay with the same filter, the more you get exposed to the dander. Too much dust and debris in your air filters compromise their ability to keep your air clean. Change your air filters at least once a month, especially if you’re very allergic to pet dander.
Choose Hard Surface Flooring
One thing you’ll have to give up if you want to live with your Bernese Mountain Dog despite its allergies is your carpet. While carpets look good and feel good on the feet, they’re a magnet for fur and pet dander.
That means you’ll have to live with hard surface flooring. Hardwood floors work best because they’re warm and easy to clean. But any other hard surface flooring will do. You can still get carpets, as long as you don’t allow your dog anywhere near them.
Rinse Your Sinuses Everyday
Rinsing your sinuses¹ with a saline solution reduces your chances of reacting to allergens from your pet. Remember to do this every day, and you could reduce your symptoms by a considerable amount. This goes for all allergies, not just pet allergies.
Unfortunately, Bernese Mountain Dogs are not hypoallergenic, but that’s okay. You can still live a comfortable life with your Bernese Mountain Dog despite your allergy. All you have to do is be extra careful and take extra precautionary measures to keep your sinuses safe. Remember to talk to your allergist before adopting one, just to be on the safe side.