Have you ever wondered why when you walk past your neighbor’s Yorkshire Terrier you sneeze like there’s no tomorrow yet your own Golden Retriever never caused you one sneeze?
Allergies towards different types of dogs are very common. In fact, an allergic reaction is caused by an overreacting response of the immune system. That is, the body considers a common antigen to be a parasitic infection and reacts accordingly. An allergic reaction is, in fact, an exaggerated response by your body.
So how is this related to dogs? Pets such as dogs and cats primarily produce allergens in dander and saliva. There has been speculation that hypoallergenic dog breeds exist, but recent studies conclude that there are too many variables to prove that such a breed exists.
Not only is a hypoallergenic dog breed a myth, there’s also no significant difference in allergen production in different types of dogs. However certain dog breeds are less likely to cause allergic reactions in people than others.
First of all, dogs that don’t shed are likely to cause less allergic reactions because dander sticks in the hair and seldom gets released in the environment. However shedding only releases, the allergens in the environment. Regardless of hair density and shedding the dog is still going to produce allergens.
Furthermore there are differences ,in protein expression, and those play a key part in determining how likely a dog breed is to cause allergic reactions in allergic people. All dogs shed and produce dander. However the amount of allergen produced and released depends largely on the dog, not necessarily the breed.
It is possible to be allergic to certain types of dogs, it’s even possible to be allergic to one Shih Tzu and to be perfectly fine with another Shih Tzu. For this reason it is recommended to check with a doctor in order to get a proper diagnostic for your situation.
How to reduce or prevent allergic reactions to dogs
You can reduce the amount of allergen your dog produces by bathing him once or twice per week. In light of this practice it might be better to get a small dog breed since they are much easier to bathe. Smaller dogs also leave fewer allergens to begin with.
There are several practices that will help control your allergen exposure. Vacuuming and frequent cleaning in your home is a good start. Using air filters is a good complementary second step. You can also restrict the dog to certain rooms. By restricting the dog from the bedroom you are making sure as few allergens as possible are present where you sleep.
In order to help prevent allergies towards certain types of dogs an early start to pets will help prevent sensitization in an individual. Continued exposure to a pet helps. However once an allergy is installed there is a possibility that prolonged exposure may lead to asthma.
Whether you are allergic to certain types of dogs or you fear the development of an allergic reaction to your pet now you know the truth about hypoallergenic dog breeds, what causes an allergic reaction to dogs and how to prevent exposure to potentially threatening allergens.