Hypoallergenic Dog. Myth or Fact? (Both.)
You may have read that certain dogs, including the Portuguese water dog adopted by President Obama’s family, are less likely to worsen allergies. According to the July 2011 American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy, this is a myth. Poodles, schnauzers, and Portuguese water dogs have the same amount of dog allergen (Can f 1) as other dogs not promoted as hypoallergenic: “There is really no statistical difference in ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs and others as far as allergen levels in the home. The allergen comes out of a dog’s saliva and their pelt...” Interestingly, though, the researchers don’t comment on the fact that some breeds’ longer or thicker fur may trap pollen better, making them better at bringing outdoor pollen and mold inside. Most people with dog allergy are also allergic to other airborne allergens. Dogs who shed less leave less dander all over the home. A smaller dog has less body surface area to produce Can f 1. Lastly, certain dogs of the same breed produce less allergen. If your neighbor’s Bichon makes you sneeze but yours doesn’t, that’s believable.
The new findings don’t mean people with allergies can’t have dogs. This is America! We want to have our cake and eat it too. And then have more. Seriously, while our first advice is to remove the pet from the home, there are steps that can be taken to help reduce exposure:
- Bathe the dog twice weekly to remove dander from its coat.
- Keep the dog out of the bedroom at all times, even when the allergic patient is not in that room.
- Run a HEPA filter 24/7/365 to remove dander in the air.
- Consider immunotherapy to treat the underlying animal allergy. Immunotherapy, delivered as allergy shots or drops, can be remarkably effective in decreasing or eliminating the actual cause of the symptoms (whether it’s dog, grass, mold, weeds or trees).
Allergy shots didn’t work? Not all allergists test and treat with acetone precipitated dog. AP dog is 47 times more potent than the old dog allergen.
We understand that pets are an important part of many households. We have successfully helped thousands of patients become much less allergic, decreasing their symptoms and medication needs, and increasing Spike’s job security.
Note: Information contained in this article should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board-certified allergist to address individual medical needs.