When researching the newest dog content online, I often stumble upon dog breeds that are being advertised as “hypoallergenic”.
Mixed breeds with poodle heritage like the Labradoodle (Labrador and Poodle) or the
Most breeders put a nice price of a couple of grand on them because they shed less.
Those breeds are also called “designer dogs” as two “purebred” dogs are being put together to create new lines of more desirable dog breeds.
The Truth About “Hypoallergenic” Dogs
To debunk the statement that low-shedding breeds help with allergies, we will have to look at what’s causing allergies in the first place.
Many people believe that allergies are coming from a dog’s or cat’s fur. For this reason, certain dog breeds that shed less are being advertised as hypoallergenic.
Allergies do not originate from a dog’s coat nor are they dependent upon the type of coat a dog has.
Instead, they are coming from an animal’s protein. This protein can be found in a dog’s urine and saliva.
Although the protein may stick to the dander and fall off with the hair, studies have found no difference between “normal” and hypoallergenic breeds regarding human allergy responses.
Therefore, the idea of an “allergy-free” dog breed is a myth. Have a look at the linked studies below if you are interested.
People with dog allergies may be more sensitive to some breeds of dogs than others.Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
Some people may be allergic to all dogs.
People may think certain breeds of dogs are “hypoallergenic,” but a truly non-allergic dog or cat does not exist.
Every year, plenty of these dogs are being returned to their respective breeder or shelter because the owners experience an allergy reaction that clashes with their expectations.
What Are the Common Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds?
The common hypoallergenic dog breeds only shed every few weeks and don’t have an undercoat, examples include:
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Hairless Chinese Crested
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Wire Fox Terrier
- Giant Schnauzer
- Bichon Frise
- Afghan hounds
- Komondor and Puli (corded dreadlocks are sticking together tightly and won’t fall off as easily)
While these dogs are definitely low maintenance when it comes to shedding, they won’t give you any “allergy-free” guarantee.
So it’s important to understand that even a hairless dog could cause allergy symptoms.
How Are Dog Allergens Spreading?
Here’s an excerpt from the Allergy Foundation of America. The parts in bold are emphasized by myself.
Pet allergens can collect on furniture and other surfaces. The allergens will not lose their strength for a long time.
Sometimes the allergens may remain at high levels for several months and cling to walls, furniture, clothing,
Cat and dog allergens are everywhere. Pet allergens are even in homes and other places that have never housed pets.
This is because people can carry pet allergens on their clothing. Also, allergens can get into the air when an animal is petted or groomed.
Pet allergens can also be stirred into the air where the allergens have settled. This can happen during dusting, vacuuming or other household activities.
Once airborne, the particles can stay suspended in the air for long periods.Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
More than 90% of all homes in the United States have pet allergens to some degree.
So even if you do not own a pet, the allergens in the air or on the furniture will still trigger
Dog Allergy Symptoms
Allergies can cause strong reactions in people with a hypersensitive immune system.
The body will fight against it like a spreading disease although allergens in themselves are completely harmless.
The common symptoms of a pet allergy are:
- shallow breathing
- itchy eyes
- stuffed nose
- burning sensation
- asthma (mostly from cats)
Those allergy symptoms are extremely annoying and often complicate a simple visit at a friend’s house.
The best treatment for pet allergies
But what if I already have a dog or would like to own one in the future? It is still possible to own a pet, especially if you only experience mild symptoms.
You will want to limit the exposure nonetheless though.
How to Get a Dog With a Pet Allergy
Following the steps below will help you live with a dog despite your pet allergy.
There is no guarantee that you won’t experience any symptoms so you may want to talk to your doctor about some medication or possible treatment.
The first thing that you should be doing when getting in contact with an animal is changing your clothes.
After a cozy pet session, dander will be all over you and to avoid spreading it everywhere in your home, you should be prepared to change into some clean clothes.
When you are washing clothes or bedding, use bleach to get rid of the allergens.
Any fabric in your house should be washable at least with hot water. Mattress and pillowcases should be covered with a Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector.
- Remove any carpeting on the floor and install hardwood or tile flooring.
- If this is not an option, you should regularly steam clean the carpet.
- Area rugs should be washable with hot water.
Whenever you are vacuuming or dusting, wear a dust mask to protect yourself from the flying allergens.
Adding allergy-friendly vacuum filters will lock in most of the allergens as well as buying ain Air Purifier which is tested for pet dander.
Keep your dog or cat out of the bedroom at all times.
Clean the whole room regularly and aggressively because you are spending a big chunk of the day sleeping in there. Buy a leather frame for your bed instead of upholstery.
Choose easy-to-clean surfaces all around the house and keep them uncluttered to dust off quickly. There should be no unreachable corners that could collect tons of hair and dander.
When you are washing or brushing your pet, do it outside where the fur cannot fly around the living room or bathroom.
A dust mask will be very helpful as well as washable clothes that can be changed quickly.
Switching your dog or cat to a raw diet might really change the level of allergens you are perceiving.
Fresh food improves your pet’s overall health and the intake of allergenic food will be minimal.
A daily dose of coconut oil will reduce shedding and dander in your pet’s saliva.
While “allergy-free” dogs sadly don’t exist, it’s still possible for you to live in harmony with a pet.
It’s important to test it out before you decide to provide a forever home.
Remember that even a hairless dog can cause an allergic reaction because the protein is collected in the saliva and dander of an animal.
Stick to the above-mentioned tips to minimize your allergen intake and try to play with your dog outside more often instead of inside the house.
- National Library of Medicine, 2011: Dog allergen levels in homes with hypoallergenic compared with nonhypoallergenic dogs
- The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2012: Can f 1 levels in hair and homes of different dog breeds: Lack of evidence to describe any dog breed as hypoallergenic
- The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2012: The myth of hypoallergenic dogs (and cats)