The Hypoallergenic Pet: Fact or Fiction? 

portrait of a one year old miniature golden doodle dog

If you are an allergy sufferer, you may have wondered if there are truly dogs or cats and that don’t cause an allergic reaction. Is this just an urban myth, or is there any truth to it? 

As a pet lover who also has allergies, the quest for a pet that won’t make you sneeze is one we understand. But is there any truth to the notion of pets who don’t cause allergies?

The team at Animal Medical Hospital & 24-Hour Urgent Care is here to separate fact from fiction

Is There Such a Thing as a Hypoallergenic Pet?

As much as we would love to give you a resounding, yes; there is, sadly, no such thing as a completely allergen-free pet. 

That is the bad news. 

The good news is that there are pets that produce minimal dander, which is one of the factors in an allergic response. 

The most common allergen caused by dogs is Canis familiaris 1, and is found in all canines. The most common allergens in cats are Fel d 1 and Fel d 4, which all cats produce. This means that you can expect one or more of these allergens in your home, no matter what breed of dog or cat you choose. 

So where did the myth come from? 

This is where better news comes in. There are some breeds that do produce less dander. Without excess dander, those with allergies report having fewer allergic symptoms as with those breeds that produce more.

The American Kennel Club put forward a list of dog breeds that are “hypoallergenic”, such as:

  • Bichon Frise
  • Chinese Crested
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Schnauzer
  • Wheaten Terrier

Cats that produce less dander are:

  • Cornish Rex
  • Russian Blue
  • Bengal
  • Sphynx
  • Oriental Shorthair
  • Siberian
  • Devon Rex
  • Balinese

One thing to be aware of is that dander isn’t always the primary cause of allergens. Allergens are found salava, sweat, and dander, and as your pet grooms itself, these allergen particulates are disseminated around the home. Pets with short coats or that are hairless don’t need to groom to the extent as those with longer fur. Hence, there are fewer problems with allergies for their owners.

Reducing Pet Allergens 

Many pet owners manage their allergies while keeping their furry companions, through a number of changes – the first of which is working with their doctor to determine the cause of their allergies and the medications needed to manage them.

To reduce these reactions, we also recommend the following:

  • Create “off-limits to pets” areas in your home, including your bedroom
  • Vacuum often! 
  • Clean or wash pet bedding weekly
  • Shampoo your pet weekly
  • Use air filters in your home that reduce allergens, including furnace filters
  • Make use of home air purifiers

Understanding the steps you can do to live with your beloved pet while managing allergies is important to pet lovers who suffer with these. We are here to help you by answering any questions about pet allergens and what you can do to reduce their impact. If you have questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us.