Hypoallergenic Label for Dogs Might Be Misleading

Author: Meera, September 10, 2014


Short-hair dogs may not be hypoallergenic

Choosing a short-haired pet may not reduced pet allergy-triggered  rhinitis



Finding a dog that won’t cause wheezing and sneezing sounds like the perfect solution for families with allergies. But apparently the notion that some breeds–like poodles, labradoodles, terriers, shi tzus, or  short- haired dogs–are hypoallergenic isn’t quite the case.


Allergic rhinitis is a common malady that affects 600 million people worldwide (200 million have asthma alongside the rhinitis). Pet allergies bear a significant burden as a common trigger for allergic rhinitis. See  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20031002


In an article from 2013 in the San Francisco Chronicle, author Kathryn Roethel cited a study by scientists in Detroit, who conducted research involving 173 single-dog homes. See, http://www.kathrynroethel.com/mythbusters/hypoallergenic-dogs-not-allergy-free-study-says


The researchers vacuumed floors of bedrooms in the Detroit area homes. Their goal was to find samples of  a protein in pet saliva that caused human allergies to dogs, namely, canis familiaris 1. That allergen was found in 163 of the 173 homes the researchers tested. And dogs (labeled hypoallergenic), according to Roethel “averaged the same amount of the protein as non hypoallergenic dogs.”


Pet owners could reduce the amount of the allergen canis familiaris 1 by having tile and wood floors (which showed slightly less of the allergen in the study) than other floor materials such as carpet.


Also, dog owners could limit levels of the allergen by limiting the rooms that their dog was allowed in.


Keeping dogs outside did not eliminate the presence of canis familiaris 1, although indoor levels could be reduced.


An different study by the same research team indicated the presence of “canis familiaris 1 in approximately half of homes without dogs,” noted author Roethel, “possibly because dogs had lived there in the past.” To read the study, see http://1.usa.gov/1b7F5B4.


The solution is not to get rid of the family dog, but to find ways to reduce exposure to the allergen, canis familiaris 1. Talk with your allergist or family physician about options.  And if you are thinking about becoming a dog owner, be aware that the hypoallergenic label might have little to no relevance.


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