Dog lovers who suffer from allergies are often relegated to admiring other people's pets from a considerable distance. But thanks to scientific and veterinary research and experimentation, modern dog-allergy sufferers have a variety of choices for lifetime canine companions. The term "hypoallergenic" is not entirely accurate, but some dog breeds are innocuous to people who would otherwise have to avoid these beautiful animals altogether.
It's Not About The Coat
When someone is suffering an allergic reaction to a dog the catalyst is not the dog's fur but is the dander, or dead derma cells reminiscent of dandruff. These abortive flakes of skin slough off in a sequential turnover ratio of roughly three weeks. This skin shedding process is different for every breed, and dogs who shed their skin frequently generate an overage of dander. In some dogs the signs of dander are obvious, but for most dogs they are not visually apparent. When allergy sufferers breathe in these microscopic skin cells, a reaction occurs ranging from mild to deadly serious.
Name Those Canine Allergens
Since the dog's fur is not the culprit, the worst dog breed choices for those with allergies will not share similar coats or exhibit the same manner of shedding. The only critical contribution a dog's fur may play in the allergy process is a dog's coat might harbor adhesive allergens, such as pollen. When a dog is deemed hypoallergenic, the term describes a particular breed who has less dander slough, less often. Studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information have shown that canine dander is not the only allergic irritant coming from dogs. Research reveals the worst dog allergens, Can f 1 and Can f 2, are salivary lipocalin proteins found in a dog's mouth and on sloughed skin cells.
Worst Dogs for Allergy Sufferers
Certain dog breeds renew their skin more often, and these dogs are worse offenders for people allergic to dogs. Besides the skin renunciation, saliva is another allergen-rich material. Dogs who slobber or drool a lot -- including boxers, bulldogs, Saint Bernards and some mastiff breeds, are allergen carriers. Regardless of the breed, it is best to refrain from allowing your dog to lick your face if you’re allergic. German shepherds have notoriously dry, flaky skin with a high slough rate. Boston terriers suffer from allergies, inducing itchy skin and teary eyes. A Boston terrier’s allergies include excessive saliva and scratching, making him a bad choice for people with allergies. Dogs frequently dribbling urine might contribute to allergy attacks. Farrokh Sohrabi, M.D., advises watching out for mixed breed dogs except for those bred specifically to maintain so-called hypoallergenic qualities.
Going to Any Lengths
Imagine finding out you are allergic to your beloved dog who is very much a part of your family. Does this mean you have to find him another home? Pet owners are keeping their dogs at home by incorporating channels to control allergy symptoms. Avoidance techniques that allergists use include not allowing your dog on the furniture and keeping him away from your face. Bathe him once a week with moisturizing shampoo and wipe him down in between using baby wipes. Keep one room of the house dog-free, close the air vents, tile the floor, use an air purifier; make this your reprieve. If you have a safe, fenced-in yard, allow him to romp and play outside. Vacuum often, using an HEPA-equipped vacuum cleaner and air purifiers. These contingencies are all dependent upon the severity of your allergic reactions. If your allergies are of the greatest degree, possibly life-threatening, you may have to relinquish your dog.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Immunology
- The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: A Retrospective Review of Patient's Experience and Response to Dog Immunotherapy
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Molecular and Immunological Characterization
- Everyday Health: Best and Worst Breeds for People With Allergies
- Dog Fancy; Hypoallergenic Dogs, Not So Much (Sept. 2007)