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Is There Really Such a Thing as a 'Hypoallergenic' Dog?

Labradoodle puppy: OH MY GAH it looks just like a Webkinz!

If someone in your family has a dog allergy, the idea of an “allergy-friendly” dog can seem pretty appealing. But a new study shows that it may be just wishful thinking — and that in fact, some of the purported “hypoallergenic” breeds actually produce more allergens.

What are allergic pet owners to do?

The study, published this week in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, measured the level of allergens in environments with hypoallergenic dogs and nonhypoallergenic dogs. The hypoallergenic dogs studied were the Labradoodle, Poodle, Spanish Water Dog and Airedale Terrier. The non-hypoallergenic dogs were Labrador Retrievers, plus a control group.

The scientists found “significantly higher” amounts of allergen (Can f 1) in hair and coat samples from the hypoallergenic dogs. Only one advantage was found, in only one hypoallergenic breed: Can f 1 levels in settled floor dust samples were lower for Labradoodles, but no differences were found between the other groups. No differences in airborne levels were found between breeds.

If you or a family member has pet allergy symptoms, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends keeping pets out of bedrooms, keeping floors and walls as bare as possible, wearing a dust mask to vacuum (with a HEPA-filter vacuum), and considering a HEPA air cleaner. The AAFA notes that HEPA air cleaners will not remove dander or allergens from surfaces, however. The AAFA also says that weekly bathing of the pet can help reduce airborne allergens, although it may not actually reduce the allergy sufferer’s symptoms.

Do you have a “hypoallergenic” dog? Do you still have allergic reactions, or not?

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