You may see the term “hypoallergenic” accompanying a dog or dog breed, which means they tend not to trigger an allergic reaction, but have you ever wondered what that means exactly? Wonder no more!
The Root Cause of Dog Allergies
You might be thinking that it’s the shedding hair that causes your eyes to itch or makes you sneeze, but dog hair is not the culprit. A dogs skin cells (dander), saliva, and even urine, are the things that cause allergic reactions; it just so happens that dogs who shed more therefore generate more dander. Interestingly, two different dogs of the same breed can trigger varying levels of reaction in an individual.
What is the difference between a hypoallergenic dog and a non-hypoallergenic dog?
There is one thing that separates one from the other. A hypoallergenic dog tends not to shed, and tends not to generate much dander accordingly – this does mean that regular grooming and bathing is a must. They need our help to maintain healthy skins and coats! Inversely, non-hypoallergenic dogs tend to shed and create dander – which is not to say they don’t benefit just as much from regular grooming and baths, they do.
Are Hypoallergenic dogs 100% allergen-free?
Not so! They do have less dander, but still produce saliva, not to mention that the severity of reaction also depends on your body’s natural and inherently-set response to any allergen triggers. Watch out for mixed breeds too – a poodle crossed with a golden retriever (golden doodle) isn’t hypoallergenic even though it has a hypoallergenic parent.
How to Minimize Triggers
First and foremost, wash and groom your dog regularly. This goes a long way to reducing any dander output. Regularly vacuuming, sweeping, and washing pet beds, blankets and toys also reduces the potential for those items to hold on to allergens. It’s a little more work, but worth it to have a four-legged friend!
The American Kennel Club