HYPOALLERGENIC PETS. FACT OR FICTION?
It’s a riddle for the ages. You’d love to have a pet, but you don’t love the sneezing, the congestion, and the itchy, watery eyes that come with pet allergies. But are there certain breeds of dogs and cats that are hypoallergenic?
THE TRUTH IS, NO DOG OR CAT IS 100% HYPOALLERGENIC
A 2011 study compared dust samples from homes with dog breeds reported to be hypoallergenic and those of homes with other dogs. The levels of dog allergens in homes with “hypoallergenic” dogs did not differ from the levels in homes with other breeds.1 Fortunately, there are certain breeds of dogs that are less likely to trigger allergy symptoms. Poodles, Afghan Hounds, Miniature Schnauzers, and many other dogs have non-shedding coats that produce less dander.
YOU’RE NOT ALLERGIC TO YOUR PET. JUST PET DANDER
Many people think that dog or cat fur cause pet allergies, but the source of the allergy is usually a protein found in the saliva of dogs and cats. When they lick themselves, the protein attaches to the dry skin or dander.1 The dander then spreads through the air and settles on beds, rugs and furniture where you come into contact with it. This pet dander is what causes your allergy symptoms.
SO, WHAT’S A PET LOVER WITH PET ALLERGIES TO DO?
Animals such as fish, frogs, turtles, lizards and snakes could be a good option because they don’t have fur and are not usually allergenic.2 But if your heart is set on getting a dog, choose a breed that is groomed frequently. Dogs that need grooming are typically non-shedders. Less fur on the dog equals less dander in your home. For a list of pets that are less likely to trigger allergy symptoms, check out 28 Pets for Allergy Sufferers.