Hypoallergenic Pets? 

True or False

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), three in ten people with any allergy will also be allergic to cats and/or dogs.

If you know you have allergies, chances are you have investigated the possibility of getting a “hypoallergenic” pet. However, the reality is the existence of hypoallergenic dogs or cats is mostly a myth. No one seems to know how it got started, since researchers have yet to uncover scientific evidence to prove the theory.

An estimated 10% of Americans are allergic to household pets, and cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. Most people with cat allergies react to Fel d 1, a protein found on cat skin. This protein is quite small, so when it is attached to a piece of airborne cat hair or skin, it can linger in the air for hours—much longer than a dog allergen. Male cats tend to produce more of this allergenic protein than female cats, especially if they are not neutered.

There is hope: While no dog/cat is 100% hypoallergenic, it is possible to find dog/cat breeds that have a predictable, non-shedding coat that produces less dander. According to the American Kennel Club, dander, which clings to pet hair, is what causes most pet allergies in people. Even though a hypoallergenic dog/cat does not truly exist, many breeds make it possible to enjoy the companionship of a dog/cat, even if you suffer from allergies.

Best dog breeds: Afghan Hound, American Hairless Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Coton de Tulear, Maltese, Poodles, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Best cat breeds: Balinese, Cornish and Devon Rex, Oriental Shorthair, Russian Blue, Siamese, Sphynx, Siberian, Javanese

It is not all about the coat, since pet hair itself is not an allergen. It is the proteins in urine, saliva, and dander (dead skin cells) that trigger an allergic response.

Minimize Pet Allergens

1. Food: top of the list for super-sensitive people and the most effective. Feed your pet an anti-inflammatory, nutritionally complete, fresh (preferably raw), species-specific diet. Raw food significantly decreases pets’ allergenicity. Their saliva is less reactive, and they shed far less. It will take rescued pets three months on a raw food diet to become less reactive for sensitive humans; be patient.

2. Purchase a good-quality air purifier.

3. To prevent a buildup of allergens inside your home, replace carpeting with hard flooring, replace drapes and curtains with non-fabric window coverings, and avoid cloth-covered (upholstered) furniture.

4. Clean your home often and thoroughly.

5. Wash pet bedding frequently in hot water.

6. Bathe your pet often using only safe, non-drying, organic pet shampoos.

There are treatments that can help with allergies, including supplements, vitamins, anti-inflammatories, etc. Check with your allergy doctor and vet before taking any over-the-counter medicines or supplements.

Rover’s Rest Stop Kids are hoping you are having a great summer. Come and visit us July 9 in the Cottonwood Dance Room. For more information, call 480-600-2828.