The Hypoallergenic Dog – Wishful Thinking?

A dog allergy can be a heart-breaking condition for the pup-loving individual. It is understandable that in a country where nearly 40% of households include a dog the idea of a hypoallergenic dog has become so popular. Unfortunately, while certain dogs may cause fewer allergy symptoms than others, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed. In fact, one dog and another of the same breed can produce very different levels of allergen.

There is a wide misconception that pet allergies are caused by a dog or cat’s fur, but in fact it is the pet’s dander – secretions from glands in the skin – that causes the allergy symptoms. Proteins found in a dog’s saliva, urine and skin become dander with shed skin cells, these flakes are the real source of the allergen. So no matter if the dog has hair or fur, short or long, any dog can potentially cause an allergic reaction.

Some dog breeds, such as poodles, Portuguese water dogs, or mixed breeds such as the goldendoodle, are marketed as hypoallergenic dogs because they do not shed fur or they shed very little. Because these dogs do not shed, the allergy-causing dander that sticks to their fur is not as easily released into the air or onto the floor as much as it would with a shedding dog. Sufferers may experience fewer allergy symptoms with a non-shedding dog, but no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic.

The Allergy and Asthma Medical Group of the Bay Area has office locations in Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Brentwood, Pleasanton and Berkeley. Our Board Certified Allergists treat both adults and children. We offer extended office hours to accommodate patients with busy schedules.