The other day I was playing with one of my beagle friends, Lucy. She is really a great girl and we have a great time playing together! It’s nice because Lucy is closer to my size than my “little” brothers and sisters so I can play a little rougher with her. When we were playing last, I really got into the game and I noticed when I jumped on her playfully, a lot of hair came off of her. She is a breed of dog that sheds a lot. Many people don’t want shedding dogs in their home because it means they have to clean up a lot of dog hair. And some people are actually allergic to dogs (which sounds so strange to me!!) so their allergies act up more with a dog that sheds. That’s why you see so many people advertising dogs for adoption that are hypoallergenic. Since it sounds so weird to me that people can be allergic to dogs, I decided to do some research on the topic.
According to the Mayo Clinic Allergy Division, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Most dog allergies are not caused by fur, or shedding, but from a protein that is found in dog saliva and urine. Since dogs use their tongue to clean themselves, the protein in the saliva sticks to our fur when we groom. This protein turns into flakes called dander. Dander is the cause of most people’s pet allergies.
Dogs that do not shed, like the designer breed GoldenDoodle or my brother and sister Yorkshire Terriers, still have dander. But since their hair does not come loose the dander stays in their fur on their body. As all dog Mom’s and Dad’s of shedding dogs know, when hair gets lose, it flies into the air and lands all over the home – on shelves, counters, chairs and the floor. So dander is all over your home. With a non-shedding dog, the dander stays on their fur, and not around your home. This means allergy suffers will have less exposure to the dander and therefore less allergy symptoms with a non-shedding pup. However, you are still allergic to the dog.
So if you are allergic to dogs but want to be a dog parent, you should still look to adopt the non-shedding “hypoallergenic” dogs to lessen your symptoms. Also go for a smaller dog (smaller dog = less dander produced) and bathe him or her frequently to remove the dander from their coat. Make sure your new pup does not go into your bedroom. And you should use air filters in rooms where your dog does spend a lot of time as well as vacuuming regularly to get any dander that may have fallen off your pup out of your home.
So there you have it. Humans can be allergic to dogs (I still think that is weird!) and there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog. But you can have dog allergies and have a dog in your home by following some simple guidelines.