Are hypoallergenic dogs for real?

By Connie Orcutt • Published: August 1st, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Up to 10 percent of people are allergic to dogs—but that doesn’t stop some from having canine kids. Traditionally, they’ve focused on so-called hypoallergenic breeds.

Dander was long thought to incite allergic reactions, so nonshedding dogs that release less dander were deemed hypoallergenic. But the real culprit is a protein in a dog’s saliva or urine, which attaches to dander before it’s released into a pet’s surroundings.

So, there are no truly hypoallergenic breeds. But there are ways to have a dog and tamp down allergies. For one, smaller dogs shed less dander, and a weekly bath helps rid a pooch of those pesky flakes of skin. Dander is also less apt to linger on noncarpeted flooring, and HEPA filters help keep it out of the air.

Allergic dog lovers out there should check with allergists for more strategies.