Spring is the season hated by allergy and asthma sufferers, because they get runny noses and itchy eyes from pollen. People with allergic rhinitis even get heightened allergic reactions if there are dogs in their environment. If you have allergies but you wanted a furry domestic pet, you might think you have no choice.
Now, here comes the option of “hypoallergenic” pets, which produce fewer allergens than others, therefore causing less allergic reactions. There are dogs and cat breeds that are considered hypoallergenic. Pet breeders capitalize on these types of animals to get more potential buyers. However, there is no 100% hypoallergenic pet. Any cat or dog belonging to a hypoallergenic breed doesn’t mean it’s completely non-allergic; it just have less allergens.
What pet allergens cause allergic reactions?
Allergy sufferers know that the most common pet allergen is dander. It is attached to the pet hair, and when the hair falls off and lands on you, your clothes or your furniture, it can trigger sneezes. Because of this reason, a lot of people think that long-haired animals produce more dander. But that’s not always the case since many hypoallergenic dog breeds have long hairdos, yet they shed less.
Also, pet hair and coat are not the only things that trigger allergies. Some people allergic to dogs are usually reacting to the proteins Can f 1 and Can f 2 produced in the salivary glands. Can f 1 protein is produced by the epithelial tissues in the tongue, while the Can f 2 is produced by the parotid salivary glands. In case of people allergic to cats, they usually react to a protein called Fel d 1 found in their salivary, sebaceous and perianal glands. It is transferred to the skin and fur by their licking and grooming.
Also, a dog’s individual features matter more than its breed. It’s all about how well-groomed is your dog. Canines with dandruff bring more allergens than those without any. Dog breeds that are more likely to have dandruff problems are Labrador, golden retrievers, German shepherds, cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, dachshunds, basset hounds and West Highland white terriers.
What are the cat and dog breeds considered hypoallergenic?
The American Kennel Club identifies several breeds which coats are non-shedding or sheds less. Generally, dogs are harsher for allergic owners compared to cats, because some of them need a regular playtime outside, which brings in a whole host of environmental allergens. When you’re picking a dog from a breed that needs active playtime, make sure there’s another non-allergic member of your household who is up to do that task. Here are some of the hypoallergenic dog breeds:
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Chinese Crested
- Coton de Tulear
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Italian Greyhound
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Shih Tzu
- Silky Terrier
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
All cats produce dander, so you won’t find an allergy-free cat. But there are some breeds that make less of it, making them a better choice for people with allergies who want to adopt a feline. Here are some of the hypoallergenic cat breeds:
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Oriental Shorthair
- Russian Blue
How can you find a pet less likely to cause allergies?
The best way to start finding your pet is to walk through an animal shelter or a pet store and as about the animals you’re most drawn to. Keep the list of hypoallergenic cats and dog breeds
To make sure that a pet you adopt is less likely to leave you sneezing, sniffling and wheezing, here are some tips to help as you look for a potential pet:
- Look for certain features. Smaller animals shed less and tends to spread fewer dander, thus making them a better option.
- Test if you’re allergic to a certain dog breed. Visit a friend who has one pet cat or dog. Spend time with the pet in their home and see if your symptoms flare. If they don’t, it means there is a possibility that you can live in harmony with that kind of breed.
- Avoid lickers. If you found out that you’re allergic to dog saliva and the dog is a licker, watch out and don’t consider that dog.
- Consider gender. When it comes to cats, gender matters. Male cats, especially unneutered cats, produce more allergens than females.
How can you live with pets better if you have allergies?
Allergy sufferers respond differently to different types of allergens, but there are a few tips to help ypu live better with your pets:
For an allergy sufferer, getting a HEPA air filter is important to help reduce the amount of allergens and impurities inside the home. A HEPA air filter can clean the air and filter out particles that a regular vacuum cleaner can’t catch. Constant cleaning and wiping down of surfaces, and using a vacuum cleaner with HEPA vacuum, especially those designed for pet owners, will greatly reduce the amount of pet dander in your environment.
You also have the option of taking allergy shots or medications like antihistamines to better tolerate the presence of a pet in your home. Also, it’s best to let your pet out more often (especially if it’s a dog) to reduce the likelihood of harboring more allergens inside your home.
If it’s a dog, you also need to keep him clean at all times. Wash your dog at least weekly and groom them regularly. Keep them out of your bed and get rid of carpets and rugs if they only catch pet hair. Then after you touch them, wash your hands right away before touching your face or anything else.
Sometimes, what causes your allergic reactions is not your dog, but your dog’s favorite spot. Dust mites are allergens that thrive in places where your dog spends most of the time. Replace your dog beds that are more than a year old if your furry friend lives in the basement.