There are no dogs that are totally hypoallergenic as they all shed to some degree. When asking if a Labrador Retriever is hypoallergenic, the answer is no.
The reason is that they do shed their coat seasonally. Even if you are allergic to a dog, you may still be able to own a Labrador Retriever, as long as your allergies are not too severe.
What Does Hypoallergenic Mean?
The word has two parts; hypo meaning inadequate and allergenic meaning prone to allergies. When you put the two words together, it means that something is not likely to cause an allergic reaction. When a person is allergic to animals, this means that the animal is producing a protein that is referred to as an allergen.
Even if a dog is classified as hypoallergenic, it will still produce these allergens but not just as many. The allergens are not only found in their hair but also their urine, saliva, and dander. About one in five people have dog allergies.
Are Labrador Retrievers Hypoallergenic?
A Labrador Retriever is more likely to be allergenic than hypoallergenic because of their loss of fur. The reason they are not hypoallergenic is that they have two layers of fur; they have the topcoat and then an undercoat that is like a thermal layer to help keep the dog warm.
Although they shed year-round, there are two heavy shedding times a year. This is referred to as molt. This happens during the spring and after the fall. It is part of the circadian rhythm. So yes, Labrador Retrievers do shed a lot, especially during the spring and fall.
Pet Allergies — How to Live With Them
For some who are allergic to dogs want a dog so bad that they just learn how to live with it unless they are severely allergic. Here are some tips on how to live with pet allergies.
- Bathing: When you bathe your dog, use the right shampoo and massage it into their skin. Do not scrub their body too hard. The shampoo needs to remove the dander. To help prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses, make sure that you are using a shampoo that is specially made for dogs.
- Grooming: You should brush your dog at least two times a week or daily if you can. This is the only way that you are going to manage the shedding. When grooming your Labrador take extra care of their skin and do not groom them too hard and cause damage to their skin. There are special de-shedding tools that are designed specially to remove the hair without hurting their skin.
- Vacuum: This is something you will have to do at least once a day. Make sure that you have a good strong vacuum cleaner; one that can suck up all that hair they shed. If you vacuum on a regular basis you can contain the dander in the air from their dander and all the hair they are shedding. You want to have a vacuum that has a good heavy suction so it will get down deep in the carpet. Having a portable or cordless vacuum is great to get in all the hard spaces you cannot get with a regular vacuum cleaner.
- Separate Bedding: Be sure that your Labrador has their separate sleeping space and not in bed with you. Do not even let your dog come into bed with you to cuddle or play. If you have an allergy to dogs, remember that you spend at least eight hours a night in your bed, and having that long exposure to pet dander could really trigger your allergies.
- Clean the dog’s Things: Most dogs have play toys and things they chew on so all of these, including their bedding, can get their saliva and dander on them so make sure that you wash their things at least every couple of weeks.
- Light Furniture and Carpets: Hair particles seem to get stuck on heavy carpet, drapes, and upholstery so it is easier to get rid of the hair if you have furniture that is minimal in design and color. Having light-colored carpet makes it easier to see their fur.
Teach Your Labrador Retriever
A Labrador Retriever has a fun social nature and it is only natural that they want to jump on people and lick them but you need to teach them that is not allowed just in case you have friends or family that have a dog allergy.
You should always have a separate bedding area for them and the food dishes of the dog should be kept away from the kitchen and dining area. You also have to teach your dog that they are not to sit on the furniture where other people sit to help reduce the hair and dander on the furniture.
Shave or Not?
Some might consider shaving the Labrador Retriever to help with the shedding problem but this should never be done. They have two coats for a reason; they have an outer coat to protect their skin and an undercoat for insulation.
If you shave off their fur, then they are susceptible to dry patches of skin from sunburn and various parasites. They are also susceptible to rashes. When you shave them it will make the length of the hair shorter so it will be even harder to get rid of all the fur from the furniture, carpets, and more.
- You also need to teach your Labrador Retriever not to lick as a sign of affection as that person may be allergic to dogs.
- There is really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog as they all have fur and will shed.
- Dog allergies do not just come from the hair but also their urine, saliva, and dander.
- Some dogs, even from the same litter and same breed, may not produce as many allergens as another dog.
- The larger the dog, the more allergens they will produce whereas a smaller dog will produce fewer allergens.