Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic? [Explained]

Shih Tzus are great small, affectionate dogs who love to spend time around their owners, but with the affection comes close contact. If you or anyone in your family has dog allergies, you want to make sure your Shih Tzu won’t cause any allergic reactions.

Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic?

Shih Tzu dog breed is considered hypoallergenic. However, if you are someone who is allergic to dogs before you decide to own a Shih Tzu, it’s advisable to spend some time around the breed before you own one. Shih Tzu’s dander, urine, feces, saliva, and allergens carried on dog hair can be potential allergen triggers to some people.

Besides their cuteness, they are most likely not to cause any allergic reactions, making the Shih Tzu popular among the people who suffer from dog allergies.

What Makes Shih Tzu Hypoallergenic?

To understand what makes a Shih Tzu hypoallergenic, it’s essential to know what hypoallergenic means.

Hypoallergenic means that the dog is unlikely to cause any allergic reactions to humans.

Some dog breeds are marketed as hypoallergenic because they don’t shed fur or they shed very little. Because these dogs don’t shed, the allergy-causing dander that sticks to their fur doesn’t get released into the air or onto the floor as much as with a shedding dog.

Even though Shih Tzu is a long-haired dog, the breed does not shed a lot. Most of the hair that does shed gets stuck in between other layers that are growing in different directions.

Are Shih Tzus Good Pets For Families With Allergies?

Yes, Shih Tzus are suitable for families with allergies due to their hair shedding infrequently. Infrequent shedding makes them spread less dander and therefore causes the least allergic reactions to humans possible.

Even though Shih Tzu is less likely to spread allergens and cause problems to those family members that are allergic to dogs; still no dog is one hundred percent hypoallergenic.

What Are The Major Causes That Trigger Allergies From Dogs?

Dog Hair

All dogs shed, and so does Shih Tzu. Not one dog is for sure 100 % hypoallergenic. Although the dog’s hair itself is not an actual allergen, the hair can carry allergens such as urine, saliva, or dander. You may be allergic to dust and pollen that is not directly related to your dog, but your dog’s hair can carry those allergens as well.

Dog Dander

Dander is a dead cell of a dog’s skin and is very often the cause of an allergic reaction in people with dog allergies.

To reduce the amount of Shih Tzu dander in the house, you can limit your dog to use only certain parts of the house. Keep the allowed dog areas clean, and vacuum them often. Keep the furniture clean as dogs often rub their back to it and spread the dander.

If you have carpets around the house, and your dog is spending time in areas with carpets, make sure you vacuum often. Whenever possible, eliminate the carpets in the home and replace them with flooring. The same rule applies to curtains, as the curtains can easily contain dander as well.

Dander is often carried through the air and is not visible. Try to keep the air in the house as clean as possible by having an air filtration system. Maintain the filtration system regularly.

A dog bed can contain a lot of dander if a dog spends a lot of time on its bed. Wash your dog’s bed often to eliminate all the potential allergens.

Dog Saliva

Dog saliva is a common source of allergens in humans. Proteins in dog saliva can cause an allergic reaction. People are allergic less to dog saliva than the dander, but it can happen to some people, and it’s good to stay in the know.

If your Shih Tzu licked you, and your skin reacts, it’s a sign of a saliva allergy. Shih Tzu saliva can contain food allergens such as:

  • fish
  • shellfish
  • tree nuts
  • peanuts
  • fruits

but may also contain:

  • mold
  • dust
  • urine
  • skin
  • feces

and many other allergens that can possibly cause a reaction.

Avoid your Shih Tzu licking you if you are aware of this allergy.

Dog Urine

All dogs urinate—so if you are allergic, even living with a Shih Tzu can trigger the allergy. Make sure your dog is potty trained, and you are not getting into contact with the dog’s urine.

If your dog has an indoor puppy pad or an outdoor litter area, use gloves when cleaning it. Another option is to let someone else clean it instead.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Shih Tzu Allergy?

Symptoms and Signs that show you’re allergic to Shih Tzu won’t differ from reactions to other dogs. You may have one or more symptoms and signs related to dog allergy, and they could be:

Watery eyes
Itchy eyes
Runny nose
Difficulty breathing
Skin rash

How To Prevent Triggering Allergies From Your Shih Tzu?

Even if you are slightly allergic to dogs, and Shih Tzu would trigger an allergic reaction, there are ways to prevent it and to enjoy the company of this wonderful toy dog.

What Can You Do To Minimize Possible Allergies From Shih Tzu?

Maybe you are allergic to dogs, but you still want Shih Tzu as a pet. If this is the case, here is what can potentially help you to minimize the symptoms.

1.Bath Your Shih Tzu Regularly

When bathing your Shih Tzu regularly, you are getting rid of excess hair stuck in between other layers of hair. With bathing, you are washing off the dander, broken hair, dirt, pollen, and anything else that might be an allergen.

You can bathe your Shih Tzu once a month or more if needed. Dog’s skin is more sensitive than human skin, and you want to make sure you’re using proper shampoo and conditioner. Using human skin products on a dog is never a good idea since it can irritate your dog’s skin and cause the skin to shed.

Overbathing your Shih Tzu can cause skin problems. Natural oils in dog skin are taken away when you are bathing your dog too often. This can cause dry, itchy, and flakey skin. Itchy skin will make your Shih Tzu scratch and rub itself, which will spread allergens.

2.Brush Your Shih Tzu Regularly

Regular brushing will minimize loose hair and, therefore, the amount of dander that causes irritations. Other allergens can be found in dog hair, and by brushing your Shih Tzu, you can drastically minimize it.

Whenever possible, let someone else brush the dog. That way, you won’t come into contact with all the possible allergens. If not possible, wear gloves while brushing your Shih Tzu.

Your Shih Tzu should be brushed daily to keep the allergens away, and preferably somewhere outside. You may also have a dog grooming room which will help you keep the dog hair, dander, and other allergens away from common areas.

Be careful of what grooming tools are being used, as some brushes can damage Shih Tzu’s skin and cause more dander.

3.Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is extremely important when dealing with allergens. Wash your hands after petting your Shih Tzu. Not washing your hands can cause a spread of allergens when you touch your nose, mouth, eyes, or skin.

If you are cleaning a dog’s food and water bowls or cleaning anything potentially touched or licked by a dog, wash your hands immediately afterward. Even if you touched the dog’s food and water bowl to feed the dog, it’s a good idea to clean your hands.


Thankfully, allergy medications are widely available for purchase. You should always seek professional medical advice before taking any medications. Your physician can prescribe the best allergy medications according to your symptoms.

Some antihistamines can be purchased over the counter in your local drugstore. Some of those medications are Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec, but there are other ones as well. They come in different forms, such as pills, eye drops, nasal sprays, and gels.

Be sure to read all the contradictions before deciding to take the over-the-counter medications.

5.Bedroom Should Be Off Limits

Most Shih Tzu owners like their cuddly times with their pets in their beds. If you allow this, you are most likely to trigger some allergens. Dogs leave their hair, dander, and other allergens on your bed by scratching, but also by spending time on the bed and in the bedroom.

It’s easy to allow your Shih Tzu in the bedroom since the breed is so cute and lovable, especially when they are puppies.

It’s best to keep the bedroom off-limits from day one to prevent the spread of allergens. Keeping the bedroom door closed at all times will prevent your dog from being nosy, and it will be easier to keep the dog out of the bedroom.

6.Keep Your Shih Tzu Out Of The Kitchen

Some allergens will certainly end up in the kitchen even if your dog stays out of the kitchen, but keeping the kitchen off-limits will prevent it even more.

Dog hair and dander will end up in the food while you’re preparing it or on the table while you’re eating your meals.

7.Do Not Allow Your Shih Tzu on the Couch

When the couch is off-limits, you are, for sure, eliminating unnecessary hair and dander that your Shih Tzu would otherwise spread. This rule will not be easy, especially because most owners love to cuddle with their Shih Tzus. Shih Tzus are also very affectionate and would want to be on the couch next to you.

It’s the best practice to train your Shih Tzu to stay away from the couch from the very beginning. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it if you want a Shih Tzu as a pet.

Investing In A Good Vacuum Cleaner

As silly as it may sound, investing in the powerful vacuum cleaner will help you tremendously eliminate a lot of hidden hair and dander from the house floors and other areas.

Your Shih Tzu’s dander is almost microscopic, and it’s impossible to see it just like dust in the carpet or furniture. A good vacuum with a good filter will be the best option to keep the house clean from these allergens.

Can You Own a Shih Tzu Even If You’re Allergic To Dogs

You can absolutely enjoy the companionship of a Shih Tzu even if you are allergic to dogs. If you are aware of allergy triggers, you can take the necessary precautions to minimize or eliminate the triggers.

Make sure to take an allergy test to determine what triggers the allergy. This way, you will know what steps to take to avoid allergic reactions when possible. Your doctor can also prescribe you an allergy medicine depending on an allergen, but this should be the very last step.

As long as you keep the dog and the house clean, it will be possible to live in the same house with your loving Shih Tzu.

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