There are some misconceptions about Maltese being non-allergic. In fact, it is not unusual for a person with allergies to dogs to have an allergy to Maltese dogs, although they do not shed. What causes the allergic reaction is the dander, not the hair. Dander is the microscopic scales of dead skin that animals, including humans, are constantly shedding. Some people are less allergic to breeds such as Maltese, Poodle, and Bichon Frise. This is likely to occur because these breeds require frequent shampooing and grooming, resulting in less dander in your home.

I can speak from experience, as I have allergy-induced asthma myself. While I am not completely allergy free with my Maltese dogs, I am less allergic that with some other breeds. I have had severe asthma attacks in reaction to some dogs.

Steps to Take before Adopting a Maltese:

  • Before adopting, determine if you are particularly allergic to dogs. This may require a visit to your physician or allergist.
  • If you are highly allergic, consider desensitization shots. Over time you build an immunity to dog dander./li>
  • Spend several hours with a Maltese dog. If the first visit goes well, with no reaction, try a second visit. Often, reactions do not occur on first contact.

Once you have a Maltese in your home:

  • Use an air filter or cleaner
  • Dust and Vacuum your home daily, if possible, to eliminate microscopic particles of dander
  • Launder any dog beds and plush toys weekly – remember you are trying to eliminate dander from your home. If you have washable throw rugs, launder them weekly as well.
  • NEVER let the dog sleep on your bed. Depending on the severity of your reaction, you may need to have the dog sleep outside of your bedroom.
  • If you have allergies to perfumes/fragrances, request that your groomer use perfume-free products. Better still, provide them with the fragrance-free product that you would like them to use (after making sure you aren’t allergic to it)

My household includes a Maltese that was surrendered by his original owners because of allergies. They had obtained him because they thought he would be non-allergenic. In fact, their grandson, who had a number of allergies, went into anaphylactic shock and was hospitalized after coming in contact with the Maltese. This is not meant to discourage you but to encourage you to explore your own tolerance of Maltese dogs before you commit to adopting one.

Thank you for you interest in rescue,
Volunteer and Board Member
Metropolitan Maltese Rescue