(PET ALLERGIES) — Are you a dog lover who doesn’t have a pet because you have allergies? Or do you limit your pet companion choices to so-called hypoallergenic breeds because of your sensitivity? We have good news! (Don’t feel bad — even the First Family was duped.) Read on to find out why furry Fido is not the source of your sniffles. — Global Animal
(DOG)SPIRED, DOGNews Feed
Even Barack Obama was bamboozled into believing in ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs, even though they don’t actually exist, a study of 173 dog-owning homes has found.
“I know people will say, ‘I break out in hives with my parents’ lab, but with my Bichon Frise, I kiss him and hug him and squeeze him all the time and there’s no problem.’ That’s great, but that doesn’t mean you’re allergic to the lab,” Dr. Ganesa Wegienkatold the Star on Tuesday.
Wegienka and her colleagues at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit divided dogs into four general categories: purebreds; purebred and mixed breed dogs with at least one ‘hypoallergenic’ parent; regular dogs; and purebred dogs actually classed as ‘hypoallergenic’ by the American Kennel Club.
Dust samples from the homes were analyzed for evidence of the major dog allergen, Canis familiaris 1.
“We didn’t see any differences in Cani f 1 among any of the dogs,” Wegienka said.
The study describes the rise of the ‘hypoallergenic’ dog, introduced about a decade ago as cases of allergies and asthma rose dramatically in the general population. Few studies have been done on them, researchers said, and most concentrate on dander from shaved fur.
“We did not look at individual breeds of dogs. We looked for evidence of a specific allergen.”
Some people, she noted, may believe they’re allergic to dogs when they’re actually allergic to grass or something in dog treats.
Wegienka, whose longtime pet German shepherd-cross died recently, is not about to tell dog owners, including the President of the United States, how they should spent their money or attach their affections.
Obama famously bought a Portuguese Water Dog as First Pet for his daughters because his eldest, Malia, showed allergies to animals.
“People think the dog they have is perfect. There is a very deep bond with companion animals. I’m sure people who own ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs will think it is money well spent.
“I’m not going to criticize the president on his choice of dog. What’s important is matching the dog to your lifestyle.”
For people who suspect allergies, “they need to go see a board certified allergist,” said Wegienka. “Not all allergens are created equal.”
The study is published in the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy.