If you’re a pet lover who has allergies, we understand the sneezing, watery eyes, and coughing that might accompany being in the presence of dogs. You may have heard about “hypoallergenic dogs” that don’t cause allergic symptoms. But it’s not quite that simple. 

Keep reading as Animal Family Veterinary Care explores the hype around hypoallergenic dogs.

Is the Science Real?

The allergic response in humans is due to a protein found in dog (and cat) dander and saliva. Dander is attached to pet hair, so the more a pet sheds, the more dander can be found in the home, and the worse an allergy might be. 

Conversely, the less hair your pet has the less dander should be circulating in your home. Even hairless dogs however still produce the offending protein. 

Hypoallergenic dogs are said to shed less than other dogs, and the dog breeds associated with this are touted as more compatible with allergy sufferers. Some people report little to no allergic response with these breeds, but the science does not back up the existence of a truly hypoallergenic breed. 

But, Then Again…

Many of the dog breeds that are purported to be hypoallergenic are actually low shedding breeds. The American Kennel Club has published a list of these breeds, which include Portugese Water Dogs, Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers. 

One other factor that can reduce allergic responses in people is the size of the dog. Smaller dogs have less hair and produce less dander and saliva than big dogs. Grooming and bathing your dog may also help reduce the amount of dander in your home. 

Ways To Manage Pet Allergies

If you are a pet allergy sufferer, chances are you’ve worked with your doctor with immunotherapy, medications, alternative medicine, or a combination of these. In addition, you can help reduce dander in your home with the following:

  • A HEPA air filter and/or air purifier
  • Vacuum, sweep and mop frequently
  • Dust surfaces frequently
  • Wash your pet’s bedding weekly
  • Create a pet free zone in your house, such as your bedroom

Understanding how pet allergies work, and what dog breeds might work best is a positive first step. If you have any questions about hypoallergenic dog breeds or breeds that might work best for your family, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us