Hypoallergenic dogs have become a very popular option for individuals with mild to moderate dog allergies. While hypoallergenic dogs may seem like an excellent option, many people misunderstand what it means for a dog to be hypoallergenic. There is no special breeding practices or a particular breed that is hypoallergenic. The term simply refers to a dog that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction in a person with dog allergies.
Individuals who are allergic to dogs have a sensitivity to a particular protein that is found in the dog’s dander and saliva. This protein causes itchiness, puffy eyes, hives, and sinus problems. There is no such thing as a dog that does not contain this protein. Supposedly hypoallergenic dogs simply have less of the protein than other dogs. This usually means that the dog is either hairless, does not produce a large amount of dander, doesn’t shed, or is somehow biologically capable of producing less of the protein causing the reaction.
Hypoallergenic dogs are not exactly what they seem to be, however, they are not exactly a myth either. Allergies are incredibly variable among individuals, meaning that one person could have a more severe allergy to a particular dog or to a particular level of the reaction causing protein. Because of the variation in allergic sensitivities, some people may be able to live with a particular breed of dog, which is considered to be hypoallergenic. Supposedly hypoallergenic dogs, however, come in all shapes and sizes and some people with dog allergies will be able to tolerate breeds that are not considered to be hypoallergenic.
Experts usually suggest that individuals with dog allergies adopt a pet that is smaller. Dogs with smaller bodies will have less dander than larger bodied dogs. This should help prevent the severity of the allergic reaction. Additionally, it’s extremely important to keep all floors, surfaces, and fabrics as clean as possible to cut down on the likelihood of repeated contact with the pet’s dander or saliva. A clean house and frequent baths for the dog, may be a better way to control dog allergies than adopting a hypoallergenic dog. Doctors also warn against owning a dog, because prolonged exposure to a dog may cause the individual with allergies to develop asthma.
If you are still interested in adopting a hypoallergenic dog, it is best to spend some time with a variety of breeds to determine the breed that you tolerate the easiest. There are many breeds of dogs that are considered by some individuals to be hypoallergenic, including the American Hairless Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Bolognese, Chinese Crested, Havanese, Maltese, Pomeranian, and Poodles. Most of these dogs are considered hypoallergenic because they do not shed or shed very little. These dogs may still cause many individuals to have mild to severe allergic reactions. Before adopting a hypoallergenic dog, it is important to make sure the household can comfortably tolerate interacting with the breed for long periods of time.