Pet allergies can cause a tonne of annoying and uncomfortable symptoms, ranging from sneezing and facial swelling to eye and throat irritation, but just because you have allergies doesn’t mean that you don’t want a dog!
The Belgian Malinois is a Belgian breed of herding dog that is strong, protective, and smart.
If you’re thinking of getting one, you may be wondering – are they hypoallergenic? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know, including how to take care of their coats. In general though, Belgian Malinois are not hypoallergenic dogs because they shed dander.
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What are hypoallergenic dogs?
People with allergies to pet hair aren’t actually allergic to the hair; they’re allergic to the proteins that our pets release through their dander, which comes out with the hair that they shed.
Seeing as all dogs with hair shed somewhat, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, but there are breeds that shed so lightly that they’re considered hypoallergenic, as they’re unlikely to cause a reaction in people with pet allergies.
Are Belgian Malinois hypoallergenic?
Belgian Malinois are not classed as hypoallergenic dogs, because they shed a significant amount and would definitely trigger symptoms in anyone with allergies to pet hair.
That said, there are things that you can do to alleviate your symptoms and ways that you can minimize your Belgian Malinois’ shedding.
How to reduce allergy symptoms?
Allergies are just our bodies way of reacting to foreign substances, and whilst the cause of allergies to pet hair is unknown, they are fairly common, and they’re easy to diagnose and manage.
Medical treatments for pet allergies include immunotherapy shots, steroid and antihistamine nose sprays, and antihistamine pills.
Keeping your home clean with regular vacuuming and laundering of soft furnishings can also significantly reduce the allergens that are floating around in your home.
You could also invest in a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner that sucks up dander and dust or use impermeable covers for your furniture. There are also things that you can do to reduce your Belgian Malinois’ shedding.
How to reduce shedding in Belgian Malinois?
Whilst you can’t stop your Belgian Malinois from shedding altogether, you can make sure that they shed as little as possible.
Whether you suffer from allergies to pet hair or you just want to keep your home a little bit tidier, here are some top tips on reducing shedding in Belgian Malinois.
The most important thing that you can do to keep everything in your dog’s body functioning properly, including their coat, is to feed them properly!
Nourishing them from the inside out will increase the strength of their hair follicles and minimize breakage and shedding.
Every dog should eat nutritiously complete and balanced foods that contain all of the stuff that they need.
Including vitamins like A, E, and K, minerals like magnesium and calcium, lean protein sources like chicken, healthy carbohydrates, and healthy fats like Omega fatty acids from oily fish to nourish their coats.
High-quality foods that contain real, recognizable, natural ingredients are always best, as many pet foods contain what is known as filler ingredients like wheat and artificial additives which are unhealthy and hard to digest because they’re cheaper to manufacture.
Foods like this can also affect the quality of your dog’s coat.
You should also feed your dog age-appropriate foods that contain all of the nutrients necessary for their age group.
For example, puppies need extra DHA and calcium for developing teeth, bones, and brains, and seniors need DHA, MSG, chondroitin, and glucosamine for joint support, pain relief, and cognitive function.
The average adult Belgian Malinois should eat between 2-3 cups of high-quality food per day, split into two meals depending on their size and activity level.
Young pups should eat 20kg per 1kg of their weight split into 3-4 meals to accommodate their growing bodies and senior dogs should eat fewer calories as they get older and slow down to avoid weight gain.
Belgian Malinois don’t need a lot of grooming, but it’s still important to keep up with a routine to minimize shedding and prevent poor coat health which can increase shedding.
They need to be brushed at least once a week with a firm pin or bristle brush and bathed every few months.
You can bathe them more frequently if they get dirty on their walks, but it’s important not to do it any more than every 6 weeks, as overbathing can damage the coat and make it dull and brittle, as well as increase shedding and irritate the skin.
It’s also important to use a gentle, natural shampoo that is designed for dogs.
If you do everything right and your Belgian Malinois still sheds too much for your liking, you should try a de-shedding product. There are a bunch of great deshedding products for dogs on the market, from supplements to shampoos.
Deshedding supplements work by nourishing your dog’s coat and skin from the inside out with essential nutrients like Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to improve its overall condition and lessen breakage.
They are available to buy as tasty chews that can be given as daily treats or powders, tablets, and liquids that you can mix into their meals.
Deshedding shampoos work by exfoliating and cleansing the skin to remove loose fur, encouraging new growth, and strengthening the hair follicles to lessen future breakage and reduce shedding with powerful ingredients like biotin for healthy growth.
And Vitamin E for nourishment and moisturization, and zinc for strong, healthy skin.
What is the Belgian Malinois coat type?
The Belgian Malinois has a short double coat consisting of a coarse outer layer and a softer, thicker, insulating undercoat. Their fur is straight and smooth in texture, measuring 1-2 inches in length, and it is the same all over their bodies.
Their coats are most often fawn-colored, similar to that of a German Shepherd, with a golden undertone, black threads, and a black mask and saddle, but they can also be fawn sable, mahogany, red, and red sable, and they can have other markings, too.
Are Belgian Malinois heavy shedders?
Belgian Malinois are moderate shedders all-year round, but they shed particularly heavily during the so-called “shedding seasons”, or in the transition from spring to summer and fall to winter.
In which they shed their old seasonal coat to make way for a new one to keep them cool – or warm in the new season. This typically lasts from 2-4 weeks, although it can take a little longer.
How to care for a Belgian Malinois coat?
As mentioned above, the Belgian Malinois needs semi-regular grooming in the form of brushing and bathing. You should start grooming your pup from a young age to get them used to it, and once you get into a routine, keep it up.
Try to associate grooming with something positive when you first start, and always reward your dog after a grooming session.
If they really hate being groomed, consider investing in some alternative products that make the process less invasive, like waterless shampoos and brush gloves.
As mentioned above, you should brush your Belgian Malinois with a firm pin or bristle brush at least once a week to remove knots, loose fur, and debris. It’s important to brush their coat thoroughly from neck to tail in small sections using firm pressure.
Always brush in the direction of growth, and hold knots as the base with your other hand to remove them without pulling or causing discomfort. Never brush your dog wet and remember to remove the loose fur from the brush after each use.
When you bathe your Belgian Malinois, you should use a shampoo that is made for dogs with natural, gentle ingredients and no harsh chemicals.
To bathe your pup, wet their fur with warm water and lather them up thoroughly from neck to tail with the shampoo, making sure to massage it into their skin.
Allow it to sit for a few minutes or as long as it directs you to on the bottle, and then rinse it off thoroughly.
Follow the same steps with a conditioner if you so desire, and then let them air dry or dry them with a hairdryer on a cool setting if your dog doesn’t mind.
Why is my Belgian Malinois shedding so much?
Excessive shedding in dogs is usually caused by poor diet and grooming, as we discussed in the above sections, but there can be other underlying causes. Let’s have a look at what they are.
Allergies are a common cause of excessive shedding in dogs. There are three main types of canine allergies; food allergies like grains, soy, and proteins, seasonal allergies like pollen, and environmental allergies like dust and household cleaning supplies.
All of them can cause excessive shedding, as well as other symptoms, such as hives and poor digestion.
If you think your dog is allergic to something, you should ask your vet to run some tests to help you find the cause of the problem.
Thankfully, the majority of allergens can be eliminated with lifestyle changes, but when it is something that you cannot change, the vet can prescribe antihistamines to help relieve your dog’s symptoms.
Stress can also cause a sudden and dramatic increase in your dog’s shedding, as the adrenaline we experience during times of stress can also cause more hair to come out of the hair follicles.
Common causes of stress in dogs include old age, illness, and big life changes like moving home and schedule changes, as well as chronic boredom from under-stimulation, separation anxiety, and fear.
Life-related stresses can be eased with lots of attention and a stable daily routine, while stress with more specific triggers can be treated with training.
You can also use anti-anxiety products like supplements, comfort beds, toys, and plug-in diffusers to help with symptoms until things get better.
Age & Illness
Dogs also naturally shed more as they age, and whilst this is nothing to worry about, you can use a supplement or shedding product to help.
Less common but more serious explanations of sudden excessive shedding in dogs include hormonal disorders, infections, parasites, immune diseases, and cancer.
However, all of these health conditions should have more apparent signs and symptoms, so if you notice any other changes in your dog’s body or behavior, you should make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Conclusion For “Are Belgian Malinois Hypoallergenic?”
If you suffer from allergies to pet hair, the Belgian Malinois may not be the ideal breed for you. They are not hypoallergenic dogs, but if you’re desperate to own a Belgian Malinois, there are things you can do.
Be sure to look into deshedding products and medical treatments with your doctor, keep your home as clean as possible, and take good care of your pet to minimize their shedding.
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For more information about the Belgian Malinois Breed, check out the video below: